Regular price: $20.24

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Marvellously atmospheric tale of strangers summoned to a grand but neglected villa on the Italian coast. Each of them has been named in a will, but nobody knows their benefactress....

Four very different people are named in a will. Delia, an opera singer robbed of her voice by illness; George, an idealistic scientist who cannot face what his skills have created; Marjorie, desperately poor and unable to dislodge her writer’s block; and Lucius, ostensibly in control but whose personal life is in chaos. All are summoned to the Villa Dante, home of the late Beatrice Malaspina. But who was she?

While they wait to find out, the villa begins to work its seductive magic. With its faded frescoes, overgrown garden, and magnificent mediaeval tower, it is unlike anywhere they have been before.

Slowly four characters who have gone to great lengths to hide their troubles find that change - and even hope - is possible after all. But the mysterious Beatrice has a devastating secret to reveal that will affect them all....

A beautiful evocation of Italy in the aftermath of World War Two and the personal consequences of living through such a time and a celebration of humankind’s ability to heal and learn to love again, this most absorbing novel will win Elizabeth Edmondson a host of new fans.

©2006 Elizabeth Edmondson (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    377
  • 4 Stars
    285
  • 3 Stars
    102
  • 2 Stars
    35
  • 1 Stars
    14

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    391
  • 4 Stars
    223
  • 3 Stars
    76
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    10

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    339
  • 4 Stars
    229
  • 3 Stars
    107
  • 2 Stars
    39
  • 1 Stars
    12
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A gentle mystery.

I was having a bad week. I listened to this book and, as corny as it sounds, it lifted my spirits. This book is not what I'd consider 'high art' or a classic but it's wonderfully evocative and a good escape. If I had to pick one word it would be 'soothing' and I'll be listening to it again.

This is a slow building story with the first 2/3 of the book fleshing out the characters, their backstories and the villa itself. The main characters are very likable, even the often irritating Marjorie, and you really get a sense of their burdens and how the villa and its inhabitants help them 'come alive' again. The visitors are mostly unlikable and come off as shallow and selfish, which is a nice contrast to the main players. However, on getting to know them a little better as the story unfolds they're actually OK (Theo & Felicity)... except Richie; he's a jerk. The last 1/3 has the reveals coming thick and fast (but it's not hard to guess them). Relationships are revealed, mended, ended and cemented and everything is wrapped up nicely. I came away from this book feeling a lighter and happier.

Excellent narration. With so many characters, it would be easy for the listener to become confused but Nicolette McKenzie has given them each a unique voice. I think I'll try one of the other Elizabeth Edmondson books she's narrated, maybe Villa on the Riviera.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Everything I look for in a book

I loved everything about this book: plot, characters, setting, time period, and references. It was completely engrossing and a wonderful mystery that kept me guessing through most of the book. I listened to half of it in the car and then my trip was over, so I bought the Kindle version and read the rest of it because I couldn't "put it down."

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A rewarding confection

What did you love best about Villa in Italy?

It was a very sweet, positive story that felt like a relaxing escape. Be warned, it doesn't introduce the reader to many Italian characters or settings-most of the story take place at the titular Italian Villa with a cast of English characters, so don't expect a trot through Italian culture. But the characters were engaging (at first I found them generic, but a few chapters in they begin to deepen until, by the end, I hated to leave them) and the premise of spending unhampered days at a villa exploring its secret spaces and getting to know the interesting strangers unfolds very pleasantly. A the center is a light mystery that drives the characters together and toward some important realizations. There are definitely some unrealistic plot contrivances in here, but they helped keep the story moving and uplifting (no bogging down in real life obstacles). A nice, classier-than normal beach read!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved this book!

Great suspenseful story! I loved all the references to Dante, mythology, operas and quotes from literature and the descriptions of the art.
I could imagine being there!
My only complaint was that most of the characters were young and the narrator had an "old" voice.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • M. M. T.
  • South Jordan, Ut United States
  • 07-27-16

Disappointed

What disappointed you about Villa in Italy?

The mystery was unique and intriguing but, I didn't appreciate the over-emphasis on sex and sexual relations with in the story.

What about Nicolette McKenzie’s performance did you like?

Nicolette did a fantastic job reading this story.

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ditched it three hours in

I will stubbornly hang onto the worst audio books but I just could not finish this one. Beyond boring and the narration is awful. It took me a bit to understand that Jessica and Delia were actually women in their 20's as the narrator reads them like old women. Would have been hard to distinguish which character was speaking had it not been followed by phrases such "Delia said" or "Marjorie exclaimed" as they all sounded alike. While I love a languid, slow story that gently unfolds this is just unbearably tedious beyond words. At least I wasted only a half credit (one of those buy two for one credit sales)

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love this author!

Great story. Captivating plot and characters. Deftly told, detail revealed in tantalizing method. Interesting story construction.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Very slow

Not riveting. I found The first 6 hours quite boring with no significant plot to speak of. The mystery unravels in the last hour; soap-operesque. Good if you'd like a stress-less , non-violent mystery that won't get your heart pulsating before bed

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Confusion at the Villa!

I was disappointed in the story content. Too many characters and not a believable plot. The narrators were ok,however, it was too lengthy to keep them all straight. Sorry☹️

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Mystery.

This was a great story with a lot of mystery & intrigue. It took us on a great adventure & introduced us to some very interesting Characters.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Antonia
  • 05-02-17

Beautiful; a love song to life.

Would you listen to Villa in Italy again? Why?

This is a book that will stay with me whether or not I listen again. What makes this story beautiful to me is a deep sense of connection to people and place as it explores who (and what) may touch and shape a life. Set after WW11, the book feels like a love song to living, to friendship, healing and what is beautiful in the world. It is expertly narrated, with every character given their own distinct voice.

A group of very different people gather, beneficiaries to a woman they know nothing about who appears to know everything about them. This mysterious woman has left a request that they live for 33 days in her remote Italian Villa before they find out what they are each to be left. Each of them needs space and time to heal after personal loss or heartache and the discoveries they make about their invisible hostess, each other and themselves redirects each of their lives. They begin to realise that the time given to them may be more precious than the outcome and I think this reflects the nature of the book itself; the journey being just as important as the mysteries at the heart of it.

The characters are well drawn and the sensory delights of the villa and the landscape is well captured. Though the story explores some dark places and difficult emotions it does so with grace and a lightness of touch that left me feeling uplifted and hopeful. This is probably not a book for people who want quick resolutions. The reader, like the characters, must spend time at the villa as the intricate plot unfolds and friendship and romance takes root. I think many will find this a great book to get lost in while on holiday or taking needed time for yourself.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • jacqui
  • 10-25-15

enthralling

Couldn''t wait for my installment each evening.. An interesting plot with a excellent reader.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • ddodson
  • 02-24-16

Excellent book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. I thought it was going to be a 'chick-lit' for want of a better phrase to be honest.
It was a very interesting story with lots of unexpected twists and turns.
The narrator was absolutely fantastic, in fact probably one of the best I have listened to on Audible, and I have listened now to probably close to 60 books.
I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rosemary Boden
  • 11-07-16

Brilliantly tangled and absorbing relaxing read.

An intriguing story with great insight into the characters thoughts and feelings brilliantly described. Gripping.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jan
  • 04-03-16

Pleasant easy listening but not lightweight

I was intrigued by the description of the story and decided to try it as I know that if I hated it Audible would let me return it. I am glad that I did. I read a variety of genres some heavy, a lot not and this book fitted right in. It is well-researched and you can learn things without thinking the author wants to educate you or show off her own knowledge. There are several strange twists but none that I didn't find plausible and I never guessed the ending. There are several characters but the narrator was so good I always knew who was speaking. Excellent and enjoyable.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Seafr
  • 10-13-16

Enjoyable

What made the experience of listening to Villa in Italy the most enjoyable?

You could imagine yourself there and the characters were very rounded.

Have you listened to any of Nicolette McKenzie’s other performances? How does this one compare?

Yes and she is a very good narrator

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • 04-06-16

Cleverly woven story

I enjoyed this from beginning to end. The characters were interesting and brought to life by an excellent narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clare
  • 03-20-16

Full of people Mystery and Intrigue

Loved the plot the twists and turns. The narrator was excellent with her ability to bring the charecters to life. The author drew you into the story and the descriptive text made. feel as if I was there watching along side each of the characters.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Jenny
  • 03-07-16

Quaint slow burner

Nearly gave up near the start, but stuck with it and was quite compelled by the end. It was a little too quaint for my usual taste.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Linda
  • 07-02-16

Charming vintage feel

Lovely cast of characters drawn to a villa in Italy upon the death of it's owner. You just know they are all there to turn their lives around - but getting to know both them and the deceased owner remains constantly surprising. Well read with a genuinely 50's feel. I enjoyed it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lee Mackie
  • 07-14-17

Mystery intrigue

A wonderful story Vivid and alive with mystery, intrigue and wonderful overtures to the past and present in music, poetry and literature intertwined within an interesting storyline. The Audio was very well done the performance brilliant and brought the work to life. A great listen.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Darryl Sim
  • 05-18-18

A very English parlour mystery tale.

I could picture this as a play on west end. very british period (1950s) piece. Once you get past that it is an interesting story. Many threads of the story intertwine and gradually reveal themselves until all resolved in the end.