The Night Villa

Written by Carol Goodman
Review by Monica E. Spence

Literary fiction set in the present day, with flashbacks to 79 AD.

Sophie Chase is a classics professor who is seriously injured while witnessing a double homicide and suicide at the school where she teaches. When she accepts an offer to work on an expedition on the isle of Capri, she hopes for a physical and mental change in order to help her recover from the ordeal. Instead she is thrust headlong into international intrigue, and more murder, as a cabal of powerful conspirators seeks to steal the long-hidden secrets written in the ancient texts she is studying. While Sophie deciphers the damaged papyrus scrolls, her life is threatened once again. As she battles to discover the truth, the secrets buried in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius are exposed, and the story of a Roman slave girl’s fight for her freedom is revealed after two millennia.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Night Villa. Goodman writes in a lyrical style which does not interfere with the story, and she keeps the reader intrigued from the opening paragraph. Her attention to historical detail is excellent, but it doesn’t get in the way of the storytelling. The layers of plot are clearly explained and do not confuse the reader—a remarkable feat since there are multiple plots and multiple timelines throughout this complex narrative.

I recommend The Night Villa to anyone who loves the addition of a historical backdrop to a well-plotted tale of suspense and intrigue. I will be picking up more of Goodman’s books very soon.