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review 2017-06-11 21:51
Book Review: The Night Villa
The Night Villa - Carol Goodman

Book: The Night Villa


Author: Carol Goodman


Genre: Fiction/Classic/Mystery/Suspense


Summary: The eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79 buried a city and its people, their treasures and secrets. Centuries later, echoes of this disaster resonate with profound consequences in the life of classics professor Sophie Chase. In the aftermath of a tragic shooting on the University of Texas campus, Sophie seeks sanctuary on the isle of Capri, immersing herself in her latest scholarly project alongside her colleagues, her star pupil, and their benefactor, the compelling yet enigmatic business mogul John Lyros. Beneath the layers of volcanic ash lies the Villa della Notte - the Night Villa - home to first-century nobles, as well as the captivating slave girl at the heart of an ancient controversy. And secreted in a subterranean labyrinth rests a cache of antique documents believed lost to the ages: a prize too tantalizing for Sophie to resist. But suspicion, fear, and danger roam the long-untrodden tunnels and chambers beneath the once sumptuous estate - especially after Sophie sees the face of her former lover in the darkness, leaving her to wonder if she is chasing shadows or succumbing to the siren song of the Night Villa. Whatever shocking events transpired in the face of Vesuvius's fury have led to deeper, darker machinations that inexorably draw Sophie into their vortex, rich in stunning revelations and laden with unseen menace. -Ballantine Books, 2008.


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review 2014-05-02 08:03
The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
The Night Villa - Carol Goodman

19/11 - This was a great literary mystery thriller.  Totally enthralling story, especially learning more about Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii, and Herculaneum.  I also liked learning that a lot of the mythology they've been using in Season 2 of True Blood is what's actually in the mythology books, not just made up by the writers.  Goodman has also written a number of other literary mystery thrillers, all of which are going on my list of books to read.

*Update* I wrote this five years ago, so far I haven't even looked at another Goodman book.

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review 2010-09-20 00:00
The Night Villa: A Novel
The Night Villa - Carol Goodman Carol Goodman's "The Night Villa" was an enjoyable read for me because of how it presents two very different stories of different times into one majestic coat. One of the stories focuses on Sophie, a University of Texas Classics professor, who recovers in the aftermath of a tragic school shooting in which not only some of her colleagues are killed, but she is injured as well. In her recovery, she travels to Mount Vesuvius in Italy as a part of an extensive research project translating stories/accounts about a slave girl named Iusta. Yet, as Sophie digs further into the centuries old controversy, she finds a dark tale of deceit and treachery not only brewing in the pages of the translated manuscripts, but also suspected among members of her own team, including a former lover who seems to hang over her with the shadow of a former cult. I think "The Night Villa" continues in its strength of Goodman's previous works with illuminating prose, strong parallel stories, and an evocative sense of place and time. I would say it fares better than the likes of "The Sonnet Lover" and "Arcadia Falls" because it doesn't have redundancy issues and the primary character, Sophie, seems to have a much stronger demeanor than the leading characters of the aforementioned books. I liked how this book also creates a strong parallel narrative with its respective love stories, both in Iusta's era (79 A.D.) and in the present with Sophie and her relationships. I also liked the overall mystery in the book - the story kept me reading with respect to whom the culprits were behind the unexpected accidents/deaths that wove themselves through the work, though when the resolution comes, it does come a bit quick.The only issue that occurred for me in "The Night Villa" was something that I've seen in Goodman's novels in latter context with respect to flow. There are times when the plot/conflict may not be as apparent in each chapter, but it reads quite smoothly. I liked the references to Italian culture, history, and especially the mythology, but I don't think it bears as strong of a connection as some of Goodman's works do (i.e. "The Lake of Dead Languages", "The Seduction of Water", and "The Drowning Tree". Still, I think the connection was strong enough for me to find "Night Villa" an immersible read, and one I'd gladly read again.Overall score: 3/5
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review 2009-03-17 00:00
The Night Villa - Carol Goodman Dr. Sophie Chase is a classics professor at the University of Texas in Austin who attends an interview as support for a student named Agnes to participate in an archaeological research project on the Isle of Capri in Italy. The interview ends with a tragic shooting in which two people are killed and Sophie is critically injured. After the shooting, Sophie agrees to participate in The Papyrus Project that is funded by a billionaire who has built a villa to mirror the ancient “Night Villa” that was destroyed with the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The story progresses with the discovery and deciphering of ancient scrolls tied to a Pythagorean cult which is still active in a present day cult. The book is filled with intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance. The descriptions of the villa, the town, and the ocean all transport the reader to the Isle of Capri as do the vivid details of life during the time of the eruption. The story has a twist at the end which has left me reaching for more of Carol Goodman’s novels.
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