Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Night Villa - Goodman

Carol Goodman

After a fatal school shooting Professor Sophie Chase finds herself on a trip she never expected to take.Quickly she finds herself in Italy with an ex lover, a computer mogul, several other academics and her favorite student, Agnes. While on the beautiful isle of Capris Sophie starts to find herself, and the subject of her research Iusta, an intriguing slave girl living in Herculaneum when Vesuvius erupted, are both growing in unexpected ways. As her research progresses and mysterious appearances start happening
Sophie will have to learn that the truth isn't always what it seems.

Let's pause for a minute to look at a very dangerous piece of rock. 

If you've read Carol Goodman before you're probably aware that most of her books have three things 1.) ! rouge relationship that may turn out better than the heroin could ever anticipate. 2.) The Classics (usually Latin) or art. 3.) Murder. The Night Villa has all three. As a suspense/mystery (which if pressed is what i would classify most of Goodman's books) The Night Villa delivers. My predictions, which usually turn out correct were hopelessly wrong in this transatlantic who-done-it. Structurally, Goodman delivers, there is just the right amount of suspense, intrigue and false information to keep readers interested while still moving the story forward at a good pace.

Now for the story, or stories, is actually more accurate. Goodman uses her tried and true method of using her broken heroine, in this case Sophie, to narrate the majority of the book, but for the necessary glimpses into the past there is a lost scroll belonging to a man named Phineas, who spends most of his time talking about Iusta. Sophie's story is compelling, she's searching for information, and a way to heal the wounds left by her crazy ex. Iusta's story is different. True, she's "fighting" for her freedom and she's a historically interesting case, but her story running against the impending eruption of Vesuvius, while giving it a sense of urgency also makes it seem pointless against all of the deaths that are about to occur. Overall not my favorite Goodman novel, but if you're interested in crazy cults, Latin or Pompeii it's worth checking out. Good for a summer read to transport you to the clear sea side!

Other Goodman Reviews:
Arcadia Falls
The Lake of Dead Languages
The Seduction of the Water

1 comment:

Bailey (The Window Seat Reader) said...

I've only read one of her books, but it definitely contained the three aspects you mentioned! Interesting... it's a good formula, but I think it's possible to over-do it sometimes. I don't know, though... the crazy cult sounds like a twist. Might have to check it out :)