Murder, Mystery, and Romance All In One: The Villa by Nora Roberts

This book puts Nora Roberts’ other books to shame.

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Damn.

 

That’s all I can say right now. This post is coming several hours late because I wanted to post a review for The Villa and I just finished it a minute ago.

This book puts Nora Roberts’ other books to shame. 

The book has a strong start. It has a little bit of intrigue with an old man getting murdered in the first chapter, and then there’s a summons by Tereza Giambelli, owner of a large, family-owned wine empire, to key family members. After that, there’s a bit of a lull. A lot of time is taken to introduce family members that will eventually play an important role. During this time, however, I wanted to know more about Sophia and Tyler– the first two characters introduced, and clearly destined for a happily ever after– way more than the gross adulterer Donato Giambelli and his family or Sophia’s dad and his gold-digging girlfriend. But the story picked up again when we finally learn why Tereza summoned everyone– she wants to rearrange the company.

First of all, Tereza kicks ass. She has no problem telling everyone what she thinks of them, and her family loyalty is as strong as diamonds. One problem I see in books is when authority figures feel forced– as if we have to keep being reminded that everyone looks up to them. But that’s not the case with Tereza. Her character practically demands respect. And approval from her is like getting a prestigious award. Think Miranda Priestly, except nicer.

 

The reorganization was major and caused more than a few ripples. Mainly, she wanted everyone to shape up, her daughter– Sophia’s mother, Pilar– to become more integrated into the company, and for Tyler and Sophia to learn each other’s parts of the business. Tyler would learn how to do Sophia’s marketing job and Sophia would learn how to make wine, which was Tyler’s passion. Also, an outsider, David Cutter, would be brought in to supervise them and give evaluations on their performance over the year. No one is happy from the change, as to be expected, especially Tyler and Sophia.

Tyler is essentially Mr. Darcy, if Darcy was a winemaker instead of a billionaire. He’s taciturn but excellent at what he does. Definitely not suited for a PR job, just like Sophia is not suited for winemaking. After the disaster of her parents’ marriage, she doesn’t want a relationship, either. She prides herself on thinking about sex like a man and enjoying one-night stands and flings. She also dominates in the business side of Giambelli-MacMillan and doesn’t care as much for getting her hands dirty. Actually, she’s a bit like Alice Wilde, but more fleshed out. A match made in heaven.

But while their love story dragged on, Pilar Giambelli’s and David Cutter’s heated up. Both still sore from failed marriages, and David with two teenaged kids, they know the dangers from reckless love. But David is ready to have a relationship with Pilar, even while she has some doubts. I loved how he was so sweet to her and didn’t treat her delicately or buy into that bullshit she kept spewing about how it wasn’t right because she was five years older. And he wanted her despite that. 

And I enjoyed Tyler’s and Sophia’s love too once it finally kicked into gear. Sophia was attracted to Tyler but wouldn’t let herself get serious about it, but Tyler was willing to fight for her. And as strong as Sophia is, there was still some good old-fashioned chivalry between the two of them.

But this is way more than just a romance. There’s corporate espionage, revenge, and murder that is full of plot twists and problems. And the biggest reveal at the end? Didn’t see it coming even for a second. And I almost always do.

If you haven’t read the book, then I highly recommend you do so. If you have, then please tell me what you thought in the comments.

You can buy The Villa on AllRomance or Indiebound.

 

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