My rating: 4.5 Stars
Charlotte's beloved husband James has died, and on the day of his funeral, learns that he purchased a villa for her on the tiny island of Formentera, off the coast of Spain. It is called Marisal, and it is her grandmother's home. Charlotte is about to embark upon the journey of her lifetime. This is at a time of incredible grief and pain for her.
Her husband, before he died, not only secretly bought the villa, but had hired someone to investigate the history of it. Her grandmother's ancestry was traced back, and Charlotte learns something shocking -not only did her grandmother have a sister, but she is still alive. Her name is Maria de Palma and she has an amazing story of fear and betrayal to share with Charlotte. The story goes back to the early eighteenth century and what Charlotte learns is nothing short of astounding.
From the very first sentence, I could tell that this was going to take place in a beautiful setting. I was not disappointed. Aside from that, I was drawn to the alternating stories with both the past and present as they unfolded. The sisters from centuries ago and their trials were heart-wrenching. Charlotte's grief was palpable. I loved Charlotte's relationship with her great-aunt, daughter and her brother, as well as with her new friends. This added much warmth to the story. Also, when it came to the past, it was quite touching to see how the it was rife with secrets that cost many their lives, but how this delicate family held on.
Although there was so much sadness to the stories as they were told, there was a beautiful romance in this story as well. I was almost heartbroken at times wondering how it would work out, especially during the time in which they lived. The Island Villa was an engaging page-turner that kept me reading until dawn. I simply could not put it down. I would have loved to learn a bit more about the lives of the two sisters and Charlotte's future.
Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Date of publication: June 29, 2018