Now a major motion picture from USA Films starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sean Penn, and director Philip Haas (director of Angels and Insects).
In Up at the Villa, W. Somerset Maugham portrays a wealthy young English woman who finds herself confronted rather brutally by the repercussions of whimsy.
On the day her older and prosperous friend asks her to marry him, Mary Leonard demurs and decides to postpone her reply a few days. But driving into the hills above Florence alone that evening, Mary offers a ride to a handsome stranger. And suddenly, her life is utterly, irrevocably altered.
For this stranger is a refugee of war, and he harbors more than one form of passion. Before morning, Mary will witness bloodshed, she will be forced to seek advice and assistance from an unsavory man, and she will have to face the truth about her own yearnings. Erotic, haunting, and maddeningly suspenseful, Up at the Villa is a masterful tale of temptation and the capricious nature of fate.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Sold by:||Random House|
|File size:||2 MB|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was a good quick read, but $9.99 for 82 pages is rediculous!!!!!! And it's not even a lend-me book. The description of a book should include the length of it. Don't waste your hard earned money. Borrow it from the library. I feel ripped off!!
Darling book. But it was quite short for the cost. Reminiscent of Downton Abbey!
Maugham is a master at building suspense, wonderfully executed in this Florentine thriller. Mary's future seems made, a life of comfort and ease awaits, if she will only consent to Edgar's proposal. Yet she delays her response for several days. An impulsive expression of her goodness sullies Mary's virtue, bringing her a brush with death, and a future instantly altered. Yet with the help of a friend, she is able to cover her tracks. Her secret is safe, yet she cannot bear to live a lie. How will her situation be resolved? With each twist, we see the inevitable consequence, yet are startled as Maugham changes direction with skill, diverting certain ruin to blessed salvation, only to find another pitfall which puts all of our previous assumptions into question. Plot following plot, each one in turn foiled, yet an unexpected solution to the insurmountable obstacles comes from a most unforeseeable conclusion. What a tale!
This is a short introduction to the perfectly crafted writing of W. Somerset Maugham. Maugham uses language with such skill that, like so many experts in so many fields, he makes it look easy (although I wish he had made more frequent use of the comma, and there is the occasional now-outdated phrase). Maugham tells a rather simple story with his usual sort of characters -- mostly upper-class, well-traveled, and British. But within this simple framework, Maugham creates beautiful prose. The dialogue is natural and interesting. The character development is surprisingly deep for such a short work. The description of the inner turmoil of some of the characters is particularly good -- probably Maugham's greatest strength is a keen understanding of human nature. This work is too short to demonstrate Maugham's skills thoroughly and the simple story seems almost like a made-for-TV movie. (USA Films did turn it into a movie in 2000.) Early on, it seems like a romance novel but it's not your typical romance and is so short that it's definitely worth the read.