Saturday, 16 June 2018

Book review: The Island Villa - Lily Graham

When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish island of Formentera. 

As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss. 

Can the heartbreaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding? 

My opinion.
When we first meet Charlotte, she's just experienced one of the worst things imaginable: she's lost her husband, the love of her life. Heartbreaking and raw, those first few chapters almost feel like you're intruding on her grief. It actually hurt to read, at times. Beautifully written.
Slowly but surely, life - and the book - gets lighter, sunnier, once she starts finding her place on the island. I loved discovering her family's history along with Charlotte. It's set in a time and place I'm not particularly familiar with, which made it all the more intriguing and surprising. I would say though that there was a bit of a missed opportunity here in not elaborating more on her grandmother's story, as well as the ancestors some generations before. There could have been a story about love, loss, hope, family and tradition in three different generations, whereas now I felt like the connection between the earlier ancestors and her grandmother Alba's history wasn't explored enough. Both the story and I, as a reader, could have done with a couple of more chapters!
The scents, flavours and views of Marisal are described wonderfully and I could easily imagine myself sitting on the island, enjoying the sun and seeing these amazing characters' stories unfold. With lots of drama and hardship in the characters' lives and incredible attention to detail when it comes to their characteristics and personalities, 'The Island Villa' draws you in and keeps you glued to the page until the very last paragraph.


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