ratings · Published: Dec 1st, 2006
Marvellously atmospheric tale of four strangers summoned to a grand but neglected villa on the Italian coast. Each of them has been named in a will, but not one of them knows their benefactress...Four very different people are named in a will. Delia, an opera singer robbed of her voice by illness; George, an idealistic scientist who cannot face what his skills have created; Marjorie, desperately poor and unable to dislodge her writer's block; and Lucius, ostensibly in control but whose personal life is in chaos. All are summoned to the Villa Dante, home of the late Beatrice Malaspina. But who was she? While they wait to find out, the villa begins to work its seductive magic. With its faded frescoes, overgrown garden and magnificent mediaeval tower, it is unlike anywhere they have been before. Slowly, four characters who have gone to great lengths to hide their troubles find that change - and even hope - is possible after all. But the mysterious Beatrice has a devastating secret to reveal that will affect them all...A beautiful evocation of Italy in the aftermath of World War Two, the personal consequences of living through such a time, and a celebration of humankind's ability to heal and learn to love again, this most absorbing novel will win Elizabeth Edmondson a host of new fans.