Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Blog Tour Review: Villa of Secrets by Patricia Wilson

Villa of Secrets by Patricia Wilson
Published: 22nd February 2018
Publisher: Zaffre
Pages: 377
Available on Kindle
Rating: 5/5

Rebecca Neumanner's marriage is on the brink of collapse, as her desire to be a mother becomes an obsession. Then she receives news from her estranged family in Rhodes.

Called back to the beautiful Greek island of her birth, she realises how little she knows of the grandmother she has eluded for over a decade. Bubba has never spoken of the Nazi occupation during her youth, but there have always been whispers. What desperate measures did she take that terrible day in 1944 when her family was ripped apart? Can the rumour she had blood on her own hands really be true? But Bubba intends to take her secrets to the grave.

However, as Rebecca arrives on Rhodes, bringing the promise of new life, this broken family must come together. The time has come to tell the truth about the darkest of days . . .   

Villa of Secrets is the second novel by Patricia Wilson and was a book which had a lot to live up to as her first novel Island of Secrets was one of my favourite novels of last year. Not to worry though I think Villa of Secrets is even better.
Sisters Naomi and Rebecca have been estranged for ten years after Rebecca chose her husband over her family.  Both sisters are feeling lonely in their own ways, Rebecca is starting her forth round of IVF and is feeling further and further away from husband Fritz as the longing for a baby overtakes her. Naomi is suffering empty nest syndrome with both her grown boys away at university and husband Costa working on a cruise ship, the strain od Bubba’s stroke is also taking its toll on her. Now the sisters must come together once more as their grandmother has decided its time to share her. Can this family put the horrors of the past behind them and finally come together for the future?
The narrative of this story is split between the present day reuniting of Naomi and Rebecca and through Bubba’s diaries of the past. For me its though these diaries that the story really comes alive and where Patricia Wilson’s writing is at its best. The diaries are from when Bubba or Pandora as she was named, and her family were made to leave the island of Rhodes during WWII being that they were a Jewish family. The tell of how Pandora being small managed to escape being taken away by the Nazi’s on the evacuation ship to the concentration camps. They gradually unravel how Pandora showed great courage at just sixteen and joined the resistance and helped to try and sabotage the war for the Germans.
I found these diaries incredibly powerful in their storytelling, every emotion and every detail has been written about so precisely it’s as if you are there reliving the whole events. It’s through these diaries that we learn just how courageous Pandora was, risking her life to try and bring freedom to the island and they kind of left me in awe of how inspiring and determined she was. I’m ashamed to say that when I’ve thought about WWII, the Greek isles and Rhodes particularly have never really crossed my mind. Rhodes has always just been that happy relaxed holiday destination that we all think of. Villa of Secrets has altered that view dramatically and shown that the effects of the War affected all of Europe and not just the bigger countries like Poland, Germany and France.
The present-day side of the story shows us both Rebecca and Naomi have also inherited the Cohen determination and ability to fight for what they believe in. This comes across more with Rebecca as she left her family to be with the man she loves and has been determined to be a mother despite having many setbacks getting pregnant.  I also think Naomi shows courage and determination, in a smaller dose granted but she’s single-handedly nursed Bubba back to health after her stroke and has had to help to raise Rebecca also after losing her parents at ten years old.
I think Villa of Secrets is a great novel which has been thoroughly researched and very well written. Patricia Wilson has written about this sensitive time in history with great empathy and has developed a strong and courageous heroine in Pandora Cohen. This novel is about family loyalty, love, religion and fighting for what you a believe in. It’s a novel full of emotions which will make your heartache in places but its also a novel which shows there’s nothing stronger than love.
Thank you so much Bonnier Zaffre for sending me a copy to review which I have done honestly and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.


  1. Dear Joanne, you have moved me to tears! Thank you so much! May I put your review on my website? Sincere thanks, Patricia Wilson, XX

    1. Aww thank you, yes feel free to share on your website. Joanne x

    2. I really appreciate every word, Joanne, thank you again, Patricia XX