The Villa is Nora Roberts at her best. It is a sweeping saga of a family that created and nurtured one of the most power wine dynasty that spans from Italy to the United States.
Tereza Giambelli, the matriarch has decided to merge her internationally known winery company with that of her husband, Eli MacMillian. She feels it is time to breathe new life into the dynasty and make sure it will live on with the younger generation. To accomplish this, she wants her key players to know the business from every aspect. Each member is to learn different parts of the business other than the area he or she excels in. To make sure everything goes accordingly to plan, she brings in a new CEO from their biggest competitor, David Cutter, to oversee the transition. David has the tough job of making sure everyone goes with the plan. Unfortunately, not everyone wants this to succeed.
Sophia Giambelli, Tereza's granddaughter, is one of the sharpest members of the family. She is one independent, smart woman who succeeds quite well in a man's world. She pairs up with Tyler MacMillian, Eli's grandson. While Sophia is a savvy businesswoman, Tyler is a man of the land. He cares nothing about advertisement and packaging, but growing the grapes that make up his precious wine. They each find themselves learning a side of the business they could very well do without. Then disaster strikes in the form of murder and product tampering and the Giambelli-MacMillan families find themselves banding together to save not only their business, but also their reputations.
There is so much happening in this story that it is impossible to review without giving away too much of the plot. One of the things that impressed me most was the cast of characters. You have the tough, feisty, independent heroine, Sophie, and the tough, silent and plainspoken hero, Tyler, who butt heads while being sexually attracted to each other. Then there is Pilar (one of my favorite characters) who is ending an emotionally abusive marriage to Sophie's father, a man who has had more mistresses or affairs than anyone can keep up with including his new, young trophy wife, Rene. Rene is one of those tough, self-serving women we all love to hate. Thrown into the mixture is David Cutter, a divorce man trying to raise two teenagers, Theo the son who has gotten into some trouble and Mandy, the child wise beyond her years with a brain to match.
This novel is engrossing. It flat out holds your interest and attention throughout the story. It is one of those books you don't want to put down. However, due to its large cast of characters I would advise you to start out reading slowly so you can figure out who everyone is. Believe me, they all stick around for the story in some way or another.
One word of caution to Ms. Roberts' fans, don't expect this to be as chilling, dark, and suspenseful as Carolina Moon-it's not. However, in my opinion it is just as fascinating. I would say Ms. Roberts has taken her writing to a new level, but let's face it there isn't any other level for Ms. Roberts to go to. She is one of the finest writers of our times.