Marisal. A villa on a sleepy Spanish island. A place that time had forgotten. A place of long ago summers, sun-kissed memories and one terrible betrayal … When Charlotte’s husband James tragically dies, he leaves her an unexpected gift – her grandmother’s beautiful villa, Marisal, on the Spanish Island of Formentera. As she begins to explore her new home, and heal her broken heart in the warm golden sunshine, Charlotte discovers that her grandmother Alba has been keeping secrets about her life on the island. Intrigued by her family’s hidden history, Charlotte uncovers a devastating love affair that put many lives at risk and two sisters torn apart by loss. Can the heart-breaking truth of the island’s dark history finally be laid to rest? Or will the secrets of the past shake the new life and love that Charlotte is close to finding?
Lily grew up in dusty Johannesburg, which gave her a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away; so much so that sometimes she'll find sand grouting the teaspoons, and an ocean in a teacup. She lives now in the English countryside with her husband and her sweet, slobbering bulldog Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review by Bookouture, Lily Grahams publisher. This is something I'm more than happy to do. The Island Villa is a beautiful read. It begins as Charlotte and daughter Sage have lost their beloved husband and father James to cancer - neither can contemplate life without him and are getting through each day - just. On the day of his funeral Charlottes brother hands her a letter from her husband, a letter that contains only a few words but will change her life completely. He has bought her a house, not just any house but a house that used to belong to her family on the island of Formentera, a Spanish island off Ibiza. As Sage heads back to University Charlotte plans a trip just to look at the house - she cannot contemplate life as a widow and doesn't know how to even begin to pick up the pieces. The Island Villa holds the key to her past and her future, Lily Graham has intricately pieced together Charlottes past and future like a jigsaw - inserting one, then another as the past meets the present. I was touched and saddened by the back story yet it's that that lifts Charlotte out of her 'funk' to a point where she can contemplate the future. The story unfolds around a community, shared meals and the Villa and is totally bewitching, I was totally lost, my heart sqeezed with sadness, then lifted as the sunshine and happiness gradually began drifting through the threads of the story. I've never read a Lily Graham novel before but this will definitely not be my last - sensitively constructed, totally absorbing and mesmerising. A beautiful read that I have no hesitation recommending.