==Synopsis of the book:==
It is a few months after the September 11th attacks, writer Anna Kovac is still trying to come to terms with what has happened. In an attempt to meet her Publishers deadline she decides a change of scenery is what is required. So she answers an advertisement for a house swap, the property she finds is a villa in Tuscany so she prepares for a four month exchange. And although she only exchanges e-mails with the owner a Mr Sutherland they agree to the deal as he has business he needs to deal with in New York so her Town house is also ideal.
Anna is joined in a sleepy village in Tuscany off the usual beaten track by her two English friends Genevieve and Candy. They to are desperately in search of peace and quiet to complete their work. The three ladies quickly settle into the beautiful villa and start to both enjoy their work in these surroundings and the local Italian culture. They really feel they have been lucky as the stylish home has everything they could want. But they soon find out that nothing is as perfect as it first seems as strange things start to happen in their rural paradise.
==My view of this novel:==
I thought this was a very good piece of fiction and definitely on a par with the other two novels I have recently read from this very talented writer. It was well written throughout and I found it the kind of novel I always looked forward to coming back to. It always had a fantastic sense of mystery about it and I thought the writer did very well to draw the reader into the suspense so that you needed the answers as much as the leading characters did to the mystery.
Initially it was the concept that really grabbed me and that was why I purchased the book. This I found from the summary and I liked the idea of the writer doing a house swap for the summer with a man she had never met before. To me it opened up so many interesting possibilities of what she would find or what adventures she would get into in this new romantic setting.
To start with the pace of the story was quite slow but this allowed me to get to know the main characters within the story. In the past I have criticised this author for having too many main characters so that you can get confused who was who. But in this one it was basically about three quite different ladies and I found I never had this issue. The only slight issue I found I had was they were all successful in their fields and although they all had interesting issues to deal with in their personal lives I just thought it would have been good if one of them maybe wasn't quite so talented or successful.
I found the way the story developed interesting and I enjoyed the odd twist the author employed that livened up live at the Villa. Although it was not until strange things started to happen that my curiosity was really aroused. It was then I really found the story compelling and I really enjoyed some of the surprising ideas the author came up with.
From about half way through the novel's pace started to quicken leading to an exciting conclusion. And even though I had realised the solution myself I still wanted to understand the how and why to the story. I liked the answers and although it did make perfect sense I still was surprised by the why. And having written a first class story I was disappointed with the way the author chose to tidy it all up at the end, I will say no more as I don't want to give too much away.
Like the other novels I have read by Carol Smith one of her great attributes is the wonderful characters she creates. I found the three ladies all fascinating and their relationships were always enjoyable especially when dealing with the opposite sex. The only thing I found a little odd was that they were all single despite being successful, attractive and with wonderful personalities. I just found that a little strange and although I know many such people like this I found it surprising these three ladies all where. I enjoyed the way the author wrote from each of their perspectives and this allowed you to see a different angle on what was happening to each of them.
My only comment having read this fascinating story is, it would have been I think equally as interesting had it been written from the Villa owners view point too.
For me this was more of a story that the female reader will prefer as it deals a lot with feelings and emotions and I think the author is excellent as sharing these with the reader throughout the story. I just think with all the main characters being women a male perspective was missing but it was fine without it and that is why it would appeal more.
The length of the novel was 298 pages and I thought that was spot on to tell an engrossing and exciting story. It had regular chapters and when the emphasis changed from character to character the author signposted this so that you never become confused. The story really flowed and I found I had completed it in no time at all and always a important positive that it made me think all the way through about what was happening.
I would certainly recommend this as a well thought out suspense novel. It is the third novel from this successful and intelligent British author and the third I have thoroughly enjoyed. The characters she creates all are well thought out and they all have aspects that you can respect and relate to.
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS August 2011.