The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
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|Thu, 10-16-2008 - 9:27am|
This is the latest novel by Goodman. I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars. For me, it wasn't as good as some of her other novels. It did get better towards the end, but then there was one more twist that I found too far-fetched. If you are a Goodman fan I still recommend reading it, but I would recommend some of her others first to any new readers.
From Publishers Weekly
In this complex and lyrical literary thriller from Goodman (The Sonnet Lover), University of Texas classics professor Sophie Chase, after barely surviving a gunman with ties to a sinister cult, joins an expedition to Capri. A donor has funded both the exact reconstruction of a Roman villa destroyed when Mount Vesuvius buried nearby Herculaneum in A.D. 79, and a computer system that can decipher the charred scrolls being excavated from the villa's ruins. Sophie's hopes for a recuperative idyll fade after her old boyfriend, who disappeared years before into the same cult as the campus gunman, appears in the area, implicating the cult in a criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, extracts from the scrolls—the journals of a Roman visiting the villa just before the volcano erupted—shade toward bloodshed and betrayal. The scrolls' oddly modern tone aside, Goodman deftly mixes cultural and religious history, geography, myth, personal memory, dream and even portent without sacrificing narrative drive, against the beautiful backdrop of the locale with its echoes of unimaginable loss. 5-city author tour.(Sept.)