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The Bones of Giants by Yoon Ha Lee
Candy and Me by Hilary Liftin
Color is Everything by Dan Bartges
The Dancers' War (in by N. K. Jemisin
Dolphins at Daybreak (Magic Tree House #9) by Mary Pope Osborne
Fairy Hunters, Ink. by Sheila A Dane
Falling into the Sun by Charrie Hazard
Fat Tuesday by Sandra Brown
The Frequency of Souls by Mary Kay Zuravleff
The Goddamned Tooth Fairy by Tina Kuzminski
Goldilicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
Haunted (Mediator #5) by Meg Cabot
Horrible Harry and the Green Slime by Suzy Kline
Hunchster by Matthew Hughes
I Spy School Days by Jean Marzollo
Icarus Saved from the Sky by Georges-Olivier Châteaureynaud
I'd Rather We Got Casinos: And Other Black Thoughts by Larry Wilmore
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux
The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G. K. Chesterton
A Matter of Feeling by Janine Boissard
The Navajo (True Books) by Alice Osinski
The Night Villa by Carol Goodman
No Elephants Allowed by Deborah Robinson
On the Wings of Heroes by Richard Peck
The Others by Lawrence C. Connolly
Painting the Invisible Man by Rita Schiano
Precious Jeopardy: A Christmas Story by Lloyd C. Douglas
Real Sofistikashun by Tony Hoagland
Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The Secret of the Pink Pokémon by Tracey West
The Shepherd of the Hills by Harold Bell Wright
The Sky Rained Heroes by Frederick LaCroix
Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening by DCS
The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pène Du Bois
The Wild Wood by Charles de Lint
Winter Walk by Ann Burg

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3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

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The Night Villa: 10/16/09

I picked up a copy of The Night Villa by Carol Goodman from my local library. I chose it with my tried and true method of closing my eyes and picking at random. I liked the title and the cover art. The blurb sounded interesting so I took it home. The beauty of the library is the ability to try new authors and titles without a huge financial commitment.

The Night Villa blends contemporary fiction with literary historical fiction. By literary I mean the book is about a fictional study of something well known like Melville's books, or Da Vinci's art, and so forth. Here the story revolves around new scrolls discovered in the Herculaneum.

Typically the protagonist is an expert in the field: a professor (although sometimes it's a grad student or bibliophile). The Night Villa goes for the first and second options. Sophie Chase is a professor of the Classics at the University of Texas. At her side is a graduate student, Agnes Hancock who has the potential to revolutionize how the Greco-Roman texts are translated.

The foil for the expert protagonist is never anything as simple as a jealous colleague or poor data or something else mundane. No; it must be a secret and ancient society. The Night Villa comes through with the Tetraktys, a cult that dates back to Pythagoras.

Finally of course, there is a hidden message that has been hidden from history for centuries. Here the message is hidden in the scrolls that Sophie an Agnes are translating. Frankly the lengthy passages Iusta's life as a slave drag the plot. I realize they are included for a certain parallelism between Carol's life and her life in ancient Greece but they felt over done to me.

The Night Villa is best suited either for fans of literature set in Italy or for readers of literary adventure thrillers. Similar books include:


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