Monday, April 27, 2020

The Summer Villa - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill

Rating: Not For Me
Source: Publisher

Description:  Villa Dolce Vita, a rambling stone house on the Amalfi Coast, sits high above the Gulf of Naples amid dappled lemon groves and fragrant, tumbling bougainvillea. Kim, Colette and Annie all came to the villa in need of escape and in the process forged an unlikely friendship.
Now, years later, Kim has transformed the crumbling house into a luxury retreat and has invited her friends back for the summer to celebrate.

But as friendships are rekindled under the Italian sun, secrets buried in the past will come to light, and not everyone is happy that the three friends are reuniting… Each woman will have things to face up to if they are all to find true happiness and fully embrace the sweet life.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  Friendships in Italy and that gorgeous cover made this one hard to resist!

My Impression:  Judging from the reviews on Goodreads I'm very much in the minority in not really enjoying this particular book.  And I can definitely see why people enjoyed this.  It definitely pulls you in quickly and I found it to be one of those books that I easily flew through.  The characters were fairly well developed and the world they inhabited was really brought to life.  All three women were at low spots when they met and watching the friendship develop was really nice.

Sounds great right?  And I can definitely understand all those 4 star ratings.  But here's what kept me from feeling the same.  I didn't really like any of them - except maybe Colette.  And even worse I didn't feel like any of the characters really progressed or dealt with their issues when we see them in the "Now" chapters.  I don't mind not liking a character at the beginning of the book but by the end I need to like them more for me to really enjoy it and I need to feel like their lives really improved.  The author alternates "Then" and "Now" right from the beginning so we see that while their lives may have changed they haven't really changed themselves and are falling into the same old issues.  I wanted growth and an increased happiness and just didn't feel like I got that.  I also wasn't super in love with getting the "Now" quite so early in the book as I felt like it kept me from focusing on the story of how the three women got to be friends and dealt with their first set of issues.

This is a quick light read and some of my issues could have been my mood but for the most part this just wasn't the book I wanted it to be.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  I would try another book by this author as I did find her writing style really easy to read even if I did't like the characters.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I'm not sure.  A lot of people really seem to enjoy this book and I did find it easy to read but I think you have to be more okay with some challenging characters.

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  As always my opinions and impressions are completely my own. *


  1. Thank you for an honest review.

  2. I am like you in that I like to see characters grow or progress over the course of a book. It's too bad it didn't seem like they made much, if any, movement in that regard. I am sorry this one didn't work for you, Katherine.

  3. I usually have a really hard time enjoying a book if I don't like the characters or see a point to the story. Great fair review!

  4. I totally agree. I have a hard time liking a book that doesn't have likable characters, or at least ones that I can understand and empathize with. Same for characters who don't experience any growth. If a character is unpleasant to begin with, but I know that they're going to change through their experiences, I can hang in there. If I don't see any growth, I'm out.

  5. Hmm reading your review makes me sure its not for me either. I can see right time, right mood it could be a maybe. But... not time for maybes! It will suit others. I at least like to grow in understanding of the characters and for at least some of them to grow.

  6. Oh, how disappointing. It sounds like it isn't the book for me either. I have to like, or at least sympathize with, the characters. Oh well. It does have a lovely cover.