Today I am bringing you an extract from Villa of Secrets by Patricia Wilson. It is published today in ebook format and the paperback will follow in May. I haven’t had time to read it yet but after reading this extract I am really looking forward to it. It paints a colourful picture of the very beautiful Greek island setting as well as ending on a very intriguing note! You can order a copy online here.
First of all, what is the book about?
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.
Now read on for the extract
Naomi shut the heavy door and slipped through a crumbling archway that spanned the street. She stood for a moment, eyes closed and face turned to the sun. Perhaps she shouldn’t leave her grandmother alone, but Bubba was sleeping and Naomi, desperate for some fresh air, would return in twenty minutes.
She tossed her dark hair back and power-walked along the village side road, pumping her arms and heading for the beach. Wild ox-eye daisies, poking from cracked kerbstones, nodded in welcome as she rushed by.
Sandstone walls lined her way, time-worn, dull and dusty. Pastel masonry broken by startling blocks of colour – her neighbours’ courtyard doors. Blue, mauve, turquoise, crimson, and green.
A motley assortment of pots pinched the road into pedestrian narrowness. Containers housed a riotous collection of flowers: salmon geraniums, cerise dahlias, and top-heavy Easter lilies that exuded an exotic perfume. A vermillion bougainvillea, vivid and impenetrable, reached over a high stone wall halfway down the street, providing a much-needed patch of shade across scorching cobbles.
Nearer the beach, a web of familiar smells surrounded Naomi. She inhaled the scent of summer and the sea, and childhood scenes with their inseparable perfumes rushed into her mind.
She recalled piles of yellow net on the seawall, drying in the noon sun. The cement wharf was spattered with translucent fish scales, glinting harlequin sequins in the harsh light. Weather-worn canvas sails that had scooped endless journeys out of the wind ended their days hanging heavy and exhausted over harbour railings. On her arms, briny crystals sparkled like carnival face paint. When she licked the prickling salt off her skin, she tasted pure Mediterranean and longed to dive into the sea.
When she was five years old, Naomi helped to scrub sacks of blue-black mussels with her mother, on the deck of her father’s boat, inspecting each one carefully before dropping it into the bucket. Side-by-side, content and silent, her parents exchanged wide smiles, which only now Naomi realised were full of pride. She recalled leaping off the pier with her school friends, bombing the water, howling with laughter when they broke the surface.
Rowdy birds had screamed and jostled behind her father’s laden boat on its return to port each morning. Before school, Naomi would race along the shore parallel to the vessel, waving and calling, ‘Papa! Papa!’ over the sea.
On the beach a row of weathered men, with their arsenal of long fishing-rods, laughed and encourage her. ‘Run, Naomi, Run!’ Papa would sound the foghorn in her honour and wave back.
Treasured days of love and laughter with her parents. Then Rebecca was born, and everything changed.
Patricia was born in Liverpool and now lives in the village of Paradissi in Rhodes, where the book is set. She was first inspired to write when she unearthed a machine gun in her garden – one used in the events that unfolded during World War II on the island.
You can find out more about Patricia at her website: https://www.pmwilson.net/