Customer Reviews: The Villa (Nova Audio Books)
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on April 2, 2001
Nora Roberts is batting a thousand ! 'The Villa' is 100% Nora. Brilliant, funny, romantic and suspenseful enough to keep you turning pages like crazy. One thing you can always depend on, is Nora Roberts talent for immersing her readers in the 'world' she creates on paper. 'The Villa' is set in the California wine country, and by the time you're savoring the last page, you'll realize that you have not only just finished a great book, but you now have an informed perspective of the practice of growing grapes and producing wine. Nora always manages to teach you just a little bit about the topics of her books. And who can afford to turn down the opportunity to learn a little something new every day ??? As is typical of Nora, her lead characters of Sophia and Tyler spend the better part of the first half of the book sniping at one another, all the while wondering how long they can avoid their mutual attraction. Pilar and David also provide a beautiful and touching love story, and only add to the mental picture being created in your mind of the grand Giambelli family. The bottom line is this. Nora Roberts has another winner here. Are you gonna sit around reading endless reviews, or click the little 'order' icon, and have this book on your doorstep in just a few days? Don't wait. Do it now.
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on July 28, 2002
This is not the best novel by Ms. Roberts, and if you are a new reader of Roberts's books you do not want to start with " The Villa " or base her writing on this book. The Villa still was a good book as a tale of Italian and Californian vineyards. A book about wine, wine making, wine selling and a family whose life is wine. There is more than one romance that blossoms in this novel and a mystery of sorts is thrown in.
Sophia and Tyler have known each other all their lives and have always remained friendly from a distance. Sophia travels and sells the wine made from the grapes that Tyler grows. Sophia's
Grandmother reorganizes the company and the two are forced to work together which makes the sparks fly. The romance is exciting and full of heat and very believable.
Sophia's mother is a very apprehensive woman who only wanted to be a wife and a mother. When her husband that she has been separated from for many many years decides he wants a divorce, it seems life is over. The reorganization brings a new man into her life and a second chance at love and motherhood. Murder, tainted bottles, burning buildings only adds to the excitement and mystique of this book.
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on May 7, 2001
I read The Villa almost straight through as it really held my interest. I enjoyed the characters and their interactions, especially the two teenagers. However, as many other reviewers have pointed out, the complexity of the novel's characterization forces Ms. Roberts to keep character development somewhat shallow, except for Tyler and Sophia, Pilar and David. I enjoyed the slow unfolding of their love, especially the tenderness of the latter couple's. The background of the wine industry and the affluence of the two families were colorful additions. We so often read romance novels to "live" a more glamorous life and Ms. Roberts really supplies that here!
That said, I must be critical of the conclusion of the storyline. I felt early on that the "villain" was who it turned out to be -- can't really pinpoint why, just had a feeling. But the last climactic scene was maddening. Why were these characters where they were??? How come they so conveniently showed up in the nick of time? Very Hollywoodish. (I'm trying to speak very opaquely here so as not to ruin the ending for those still reading.) Furthermore, by suggesting that they can get away with skirting the law, Ms. Roberts causes me to doubt her sincerity or at least perpetuates the notion that money can buy happiness.
Speaking of Hollywood, I lay awake last night trying to "cast" actors in the roles of this novel because I think it would make a terrific TV miniseries. How about Brad Pitt as Tyler? Catherine Zeta-Jones as Sophia? Any other suggestions?
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on June 28, 2008
Sophia Giambelli loved being part of the large flamboyant Giambelli family and Giambelli/MacMillan wines. She had her own little niche carved out by handling the marketing department smoothly from her San Francisco base of operations, but her family was another matter altogether. Sophia's professional life was firmly in place, but her family was always trying to deal with one drama or another. Her mother Pillar had been married to her father, but unfortunately in name only. Pillar loved Tony Avano, but he made it clear early on that she would only be one of many that he would be a lover to, so they had been living apart for the better part of Sophia's life. It was her grandmother Theresa and her husband Eli that held the iron fist on the family and the family business.

Tyler MacMillan loved being in his element, and that was the vineyard. He had loved the vines and the earth they grew in since he was a small boy. Even though he held top position at the vineyards, he always loved the hands on work. It was a part of him, and one that he was unwilling to give up. Tyler always credited Theresa for introducing him to this great love of his, and was so glad that his grandfather Eli had married her. It took him completely by surprise when Theresa summoned the entire family to the big house for an announcement. He was even further shocked to find out he and Sophia were being groomed to take over the business from them. They were to learn all aspects of the company, which meant learning each other's jobs. An outsider named David Cutter was being brought in to oversee everything for 12 months, and then the power would transition to them.

Everything was going according to plan until someone started murdering top executives at the company. Someone was trying to bring down Giambelli/MacMillan, but Tyler and Sophia were determined to stop them, and find out who was responsible. What they didn't expect was their attraction to each other or the strong feelings growing between them. Tyler and Sophia only hoped they could identify who was trying to destroy the family before they ended up the next victims. Strong characters in a good story.
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on December 6, 2001
"The Villa" has been given a bad reputation by some of these reviewers, and I personally disagree. I thought it was smart, provocative, and fun. So please, don't turn down this book because of the negative reviews. Whatever its faults, I firmly believe that its strengths make up for them.
This is a lovely sweeping tale of three generations of passionate women and the men who love them. When "La Signora" (Tereza Giambelli) decides to merge the Giambelli winery with her husband Eli's MacMillan winery, the company is thrown into turmoil. Tereza's granddaughter, Sophia, head of public relations and advertising is no more pleased about the merge than Eli's grandson, Tyler MacMillan, who is in charge of the vines and the distilling process. "La Signora" decrees that Tyler and Sophia must work together, and that each must learn to do the other's job. Although neither is enamoured with the idea, they get down to work, only to find out that they have a powerful attraction to each other, which is hard to keep under control.
Sophia's mother, Pilar, has let herself be a doormat for Sophia's deadbeat father, Tony Avano, for years. After years of separation, Tony finally asks for a divorce so that he can remarry. But Avano does not enjoy his marriage for long, as he is found murdered in Sophia's apartment. Poison is found in bottles of Giambelli wine, which throws the company into upheaval. Someone is trying to destroy the Giambelli-MacMillan winery, and the race is on to find out who.
Amidst this murder and mayhem, Tyler and Sophia's relationship heats up, but Sophia isn't the only one with a new romance. The new COO of Giambelli-MacMillan, David Cutter, finds himself quite taken with Pilar. David begins to win Pilar's trust as he heals a lifetime of her emotional hurt and Pilar attempts to win over David's two teenagers. Their romance is touching and complex, while Sophia and Tyler's romance is exciting and fresh.
To sum up, this is a suspenseful, witty, and fun-filled book and I found it very enjoyable. Many reviewers felt that there were too many characters for any to be developed fully, but that is just not true. All of the characters are distinct and have their motivations and feelings well explained. The many characters involved added depth to the story and I thought this was a refreshing new angle for Nora Roberts to use. This book will entertain and satisfy you if you just enjoy it for what it is and stop looking for faults.
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on April 4, 2001
Having just read "Carnal Inocence" and, the In Death addition, Betrayal in Death, and re-reading Sanctuary, I'd have to say that I was really expecting more from this book. Like River's End, this one is all scenery and interesting tid-bits, but the cahracters are fairly flat, and the romance fizzles. The main character, Sophie, was impressive at first, being independant, intelligent, casually sexual, but her realtionshipwith Ty seems to fade into the background behind a mystery that never really takes off.
Sorry, Nora! I'm a very big fan, but this one wasn't really your best work. If you havent read it, save your money and buy Carolina Moon when it comes out in paperback this month. Now that one was worth rushing to the nearest bookstore (about 100m away)!
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on June 28, 2002
Many reviewers are saying that this book lacked character development. After reading this book I can say that I agree but that is not my main gripe with this book. I thought this book was going to be about Sophia and Tyler (the main characters). Essentially it was about them but there was very little romance and very little chemistry between them. Bottom line: I didn't like Sophia because she struck me as shallow and hard...and to be honest not very feminine. Ty seemed ok but he had no personality whatsoever. These two made me sick. I was only interested in reading about David and Pilar, at least their romance had an edge to it and seemed genuine. Ty and Sophia's "romance" was so forced and boring. Cliche is more like it.
In terms of the other characters: I thought Nora Roberts was going somewhere with the character Maddy. She seemed inquisitive about wine and science but that eneded up going nowhere. I THOUGHT perhaps Maddy (in the future) would inherit the Giambelli business because of her interest in the company. I also thought they were going to have a Centennial party which never occured. The REAL showstopper (Helen) was merely an after thought throughout the book. I would have LOVED to seen some background behind this character or at least a couple of clues!
I DID finish the book because the overall story held my interest. I think Nora Roberts is a good writer..this is my second book of hers that I have read. And I am willing to give her another chance when I read the THREE FATES soon.
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on May 26, 2015
One of Nora Robert's better books. Be aware it is an older book and some may be impatient with modern people not having cell phones and such. It is always a plus to learn from books and this one teaches us something about the wine industry as part of the story.
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on September 9, 2001
The iconic moguls of the wine industry in Napa Valley -Giambellis and MacMillian has initiated a merger proposed by the influential Tereza, matriach of The Giambellis. Sophia Giambellis, her grandaughter who is an astute executive is forced to work with Tyler MacMillian - a vineyard cultivator in every sense - and sparks fly. However, the merger is threatened by a series of plotted murders, mayhem and a force swallowing up the family. A revolutionizing change introduces David Cutter in charge of the company, booting out Donata Giambellis and jealousy sprouted. Sophia's dad, Tony is mysteriously murdered. Pilar, Sophia's mum is facing a new lovelife with David - soon the family is undergoing a dramatic change too.
NORA ROBERTS is adept at crafting an engaging tale of rivalry and passion in the vineyard - THE VILLA shows her to be a leading lady in powerful and absorbing narration. Sophia proves a compelling character with resilience; Ty proves a softer hero who has to endure with her fierce independence. THE VILLA is interesting - but not vintage enough to be a classic; the middle of the book sags with throwing red herrings on murders instead of focusing on the vineyard. The storms they weather in the business field seems too contrived and easy to cross. It reduces realism.
Nora Roberts exudes confidence in her contemporaries and THE VILLA is no exception. It may not be her best to date, but if you crave on deceptions and lies as well as passion, THE VILLA will fit the bill.
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on July 13, 2015
Those above categories deserve more than one of those descriptive words. Nora Roberts is a fabulous writer! She is the ONLY writer I have re-read the same books more than once. My sister owns every book she's ever written and we're both now buying ALL the "In Death" series she writes under J.D. Robb. I've read ALL of those probably 3 times and even got my brother hooked on them. Whether she writes as Nora Roberts or J.D. Robb, the books are fabulous! The characters are fun, deep, entertaining and funny. She is also the only writer that actually makes me laugh out loud while I'm reading her books. The way she writes about relationships of any kind are always entertaining, fun and usually dead on! Can't go wrong reading her books in any form!
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