Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Book Review and Giveaway - The Night Villa by Carol Goodman

The Night Villa
Author: Carol Goodman
Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 5, 2008)

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 layers of volcanic ash lies the Villa della Notte–the Night Villa–home to first-century nobles, as well as to 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.

Review

Simply put, I found The Night Villa profound, poetic and pretty damn interesting. The history is breathtaking, the mystery equally so and the characters, who bring it all together, are an enigma wrapped within a puzzle within a conundrum.

With intricate plotting, Goodman spins a story of a woman struggling to rise above the circumstances that's echoed simultaneously in the past and in the present. Buried cities containing centuries old secrets, a secret society, modern cults, ancient philosophies twisted by time, hidden chambers and a pervading atmosphere of lust and depravity - all brought to stunning life in words that are almost lyrical in their description and spooky in their effect, making this an unforgettable story.

The author permeates the tale with so many red herrings it's difficult to predict who're the good guys and who are not, and I especially loved this. Although I must admit, I guessed one facet of the mystery pretty early on in the game, but that's because I've read too many mysteries and become slightly cynical when it comes to characters. The historical part of the mystery is one thing I could not even begin to guess at, and it was really good getting to see a city full of secrets emerging from its coffin of volcanic remains. Yes, Goodman's words are that evocative, you can almost feel yourself choking in the ash or feel the awe of seeing a mysterious, long-forgotten ritual.

In Short

This is the first Carol Goodman novel I've read and I'm so glad this fantastic novel was my introduction to this talented author. I can't wait to read her other books - The Sonnet Lover, The Lake of Dead Languages, etc.

To buy a copy of the book, go here.
To visit the Author's site, go here.
To visit the Publisher, go here.

GIVEAWAY

Ballantine is giving away one copy of this book to a lucky reader.
Giveaway ends midnight CST of August 26th.
US only.

How to Enter:

Just leave a comment here with your email address and mention which other current or upcoming Ballantine book you'd like to read. A person can comment a maximum of 3 times, mentioning a separate book each time.  One comment every 24 hours. As always, comments without an email address (or the ones asking me to go look for it in the profile) will not be considered. Leave it in the format - xyz AT abc.com - to elude spammers. Your email address will only be used to contact you in case you're a lucky winner.

Bloggers and Non-Bloggers are both welcome to participate.

To get Extra Entries: (Mention each extra thing that you do in a separate comment)

- Blog this giveaway using these keywords : book giveaway and A Book Blogger's Diary. Leave the link in a separate comment. If you have multiple blogs, then feel free to blog this giveaway across any/all of them and leave the links in a new comment.
- Twitter this giveaway. Leave a separate comment with your Twitter id.
- Subscribe to receive this blog's posts via email. Mention you've done that in a separate comment along with email address used to subscribe. (Applicable to new subscribers only)
- Put my blog button (you'll find it in the sidebar) on your blog's sidebar (and not within a post). Mention you've done so in a separate comment.
- Get an extra entry when a participant mentions you've referred them here.

Good luck!
Disclaimer
..................................................................................................................
Current Giveaway(s)
Book Review and Giveaway - Immortals: The Crossing by Joy Nash
Book Giveaway - The Badenweiler Waltz
Guest Post - Phyllis Zimbler Miller (and a Giveaway)

52 comments :

  1. OOH, I can't wait to read this one! I just reviewed The Drowning Tree for my blog, I'm a HUGE Goodman fan. Great review!

    http://skrishnasbooks.blogspot.com/2008/07/drowning-tree-carol-goodman.html

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've become a fan, Swapna! This one was really good and sounds like Drowning Tree is another great read by your review. I'm looking forward to reading all of Goodman's books!

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Night Villa sounds really good! I would love to read it! I would also like to read
    A Common Ordinary Murder by Donald Pfarrer. I love mysteries! Thank you!

    mittens0831 AT aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Night Villa sounds absorbing, like one of the many mysteries that you can't put down until the very end.

    On the other side of my many types of reading styles, I sure would like to check out
    STAR WARS: THE FORCE UNLEASHED. Yes, I am into mysteries, historical fiction, and science fiction. I like quite a mix...

    hallelshalom at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  5. The history of Italy is quite interesting. I always found the event of the Mount Vesuvius quite interesting. ^^ Wait, is that at Pompeii?
    Either way, some historical events are simply amazing.

    I would also like to read from Street to Sheets...

    faked_sugartone at hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'd love to read this and Bound by Light Written by Anna Windsor.I also subscribe. I have you lised as my fav blogs, but not sure how to load your button yet. :)

    Thank you,
    Dina

    dlsmilad@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'd love to read Into The Fire by Suzanne Brockmann.
    ayancey@dishmail.net

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi, I am looking forward to this series by Mary Daheim. The first one I am going to read is
    "Alpine Advocate!" Thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  9. I am a subscriber to your newsletter! Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love Carol Goodman's books! I also think that Pandemonium by Darryl Gregory sounds pretty terrific! Thanks!
    beax0002 (at) umn (dot) edu

    ReplyDelete
  11. Into the Fire by Suzann Brockman looks like an interesting book to try.

    Voyager459 (at) aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  12. I find The Duchess book appealing because of the time period it takes place.

    samsakara@twcny.rr.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I would like to read The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff; looks very exciting!

    hrbeck_98 AT yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. I would like to read Deadly Beautiful by Sam Baker.
    ayancey@dishmail.net

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sorry, here's my corrected email:

    dlsmilad(at)yahoo(dot)com

    Bound by Light Written by Anna Windsor

    Thank You,
    Dina

    dlsmilad(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  16. I'd also like to read:
    Just One BiteWritten by Kimberly Raye

    Thank You,
    Dina

    dlsmilad(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'd like to read this one and the 19th Wife. It's on my goodreads list!

    je2kids(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I also like to read:

    Forgotten Written by Mariah Stewart
    Thanks,
    Dina

    dlsmilad(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  19. I would like to read "The Map Thief." It looks like a very interesting historical fiction book.

    My email is akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I would like to read John Saul's Faces of Fear.

    catslady5 AT aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello! The next book by Mary Daheim I want to read is "Alpine Betrayal!" Thanks for the great book giveaway contest. Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I've never read her books before, this sounds like one I'd really like; I'm going to have to check out her other books, too.

    Another Ballantine book on my wishlist is Just One Bite by Kimberly Raye.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I'd like to read Faces Of Fear by John Saul.
    ayancey@dishmail.net

    ReplyDelete
  24. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff sounds good!

    jgbeads AT gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  25. I would also enjoy reading Deadly Beautiful by Sam Baker - thanks!

    catslady5 AT aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am hearing so much about the 19th Wife, I'd like to read that. Thanks. Always love your giveaways and reviews.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey, Rashmi, I'm just letting you know I've posted this at Win a Book. This sounds really cool, but no need to enter me until I'm a little more caught up.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I also would enjoy reading The Last Quen by C. W. Gortner - thanks.

    catslady5 AT aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  29. I'd like to read "The Christian World" by Marty.
    Great giveaway! Count me in. bebemiqui82(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  30. Happy Wednesday! I would like to read "Alpine Christmas" by Mary Daheim. Many thanks, Cindi
    jchoppes[at]hotmail[dot]com

    ReplyDelete
  31. Please enter me! I, too, would like to read the 19th Wife.

    diaryofaneccentric[at]hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  32. like to read a lot of different things, but looking for "Stellar #2" from Ballentine Books. Thanks - this looks like a good read!

    sajdakota@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  33. The 19th Wife looks intriguing.
    jceko77@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  34. Faces of Fear by John Saul also sounds good!
    mittens0831 AT aol DOT com

    ReplyDelete
  35. Katherine Neville - The Eight, search for antique chess pieces scattered around the world, sounds good. A sequel, The Fire, coming up soon. Check out her sight by the 18th people, they are offering the ebook for free until then if you like this kind of story (like Davinci Code).

    ReplyDelete
  36. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff is on my wish list.
    mittens0831 AT aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  37. Don't You Forget About Me by Jancee Dun sounds like a fun read.

    littleminx AT cox DOT net

    ReplyDelete
  38. I would love this book. I am a Classical Archaeology major and I just finished writing a term paper on Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. I'm most looking forward to reading to The Duchess.

    alexandra dot hancock at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  39. I also subscribed to your posts.

    alexandra dot hancock at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'd love to win this book and the book a Common ordinary murder also sounds good

    tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  41. I'm looking forward to reading The 19th Wife.

    nnjmom at yahoo dot com

    ReplyDelete
  42. I'd love to read 'Don't You Forget About Me.'
    doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  43. Didn't even realize they were making a Mass Effect novel, anyways, that.

    hermeslyre@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  44. I would love to read Into The Fire by Suzann Brockman.

    Rebekah E.
    bc428(at)juno(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Looks like a great book to read!

    Another Ballantine book I would like to read is "Into the Fire" by Suzanne Brockmann.

    Cheryl S.
    megalon22(at)yahoo(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  46. I'd also like reading "Bachelor Degree" by Judith Marks-White
    doot65{at}comcast[dot]net
    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  47. Looking forward to!

    Bound by Light
    A Novel of the Dark Crescent Sisterhood
    Written by Anna Windsor



    Thank you,
    Susan B.

    sbussey AT windstream.net

    ReplyDelete
  48. There are too many good ones to choose from! But I would say that I am most looking forward to The Dutchess, and The Last Queen, because I've already read great reviews for it.

    keeerried216@aol.com

    ReplyDelete
  49. I would love to read A Common Ordinary Murder by Donald Pfarrer. I love a good mystery!

    ReplyDelete
  50. I still haven't read The 19th Wife so that would be at the top of my list. Your review of The Night Villa sounds great.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I would love to read The 19th Wife!

    dancealert (at)aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete
  52. I'm a follower of this blog on Google Reader!
    dancealert (at)aol (dot) com

    ReplyDelete