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My Progress:


13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:


35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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29 / 50 books. 58% done!

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

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29 / 40 books. 73% done!

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11 / 25 books. 44% done!

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17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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30 / 100 books. 30% done!

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My Progress:


74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

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84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Saturday, May 09, 2020

Summery Friendship/Secrets Novel Gets a Meh From Me


(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Six years ago, three strangers flew to Italy to enjoy a surprise vacation on the stunning Amalfi Coast.  Each of the women expected to soak in the picture-perfect scenery, dine on delectable cuisine, and relax on the sparkling beach.  None of them foresaw meeting the others at a ramshackle villa and becoming instant, lifelong friends.  What Kim, Colette, and Annie experienced in Italy—from friendship to romance to the start of a successful business—changed their lives.

Now, Kim is bringing them back to Italy for the grand re-opening of the villa that started it all.  A well-known wellness guru, she's had the place renovated and turned into a health spa.  She can't wait for her old friends to join celebrities, investors, and other influencers at what will certainly be the most glamorous event of the season.  It soon becomes apparent, however, that someone is out to sabotage Kim by exposing a ruinous secret she thought no one knew about.  She's not the only one worried about what could happen in Italy.  Annie has her own secret to hide.  She's also got her own reasons for needing to be at Kim's fancy party—and it's not to pat Kim on the back for a job well done.  Then there's Colette, who fell madly in love with a local while in Italy and subsequently had her heart dashed into a million pieces.  Although she's been happily married to another man for five years, she can't help but wonder what happened to the one that got away.  Luca will no doubt be at Kim's party.  What will happen when she sees him again?  

When the three women reunite on the Amalfi Coast, shocking secrets will out, old resentments will flare, and, once again, the friends' lives will be forever changed by what happens in Italy ...

Old-friends-coming-back-together-to-deal-with-past-secrets-that-are-threatening-to-come-to-light is one of my favorite mystery/thriller tropes.  I figured I'd dig it in a contemporary romance/women's novel as well.  Unfortunately, The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill didn't pull me in like such thrillers usually do.  The story started slowly and took its time getting to the juicy parts.  As much as I loved the book's sparkling setting, I found the characters, the prose, and the plot pretty meh.  All of the starring women irritated me with their immaturity—even their adult selves were childish and petty.  Even though I saw the plot twists coming, I did want to know what was going to happen in the story, so I finished it.  In the end, though, The Summer Villa was just an average read for me.  Nothing special.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of other summer friendship novels, but no specific titles are coming to mind.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a few F-bombs, plus milder expletives) and sexual content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Summer Villa from the generous folks at HarperCollins.  Thank you!
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Homecoming by Kate Morton

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Good Neighbor by Maxwell King



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