Four strangers are summoned to the Villa Dante, a grand but neglected villa on the Italian coast. Each of them has been named in a will of Beatrice Malaspina; but not one of them knows who she is. Delia, an opera singer robbed of her voice by illness; George, an idealistic scientist who cannot face what his skills have created; Marjorie, desperately poor and unable to dislodge her writer's block; and Lucius, ostensibly in control but whose personal life is in chaos. While they wait to find out more, the villa begins to work its seductive magic. With its faded frescoes, overgrown garden and magnificent mediaeval tower, it is unlike anywhere they have been before. Slowly, four characters who have gone to great lengths to hide their troubles find that change -- and even hope -- is possible after all.
This book was an Amazon recommendation to follow up "The island". The mystery around Beatrice Malaspina and the variety of characters were fascinating and kept me wanting to read the story as quickly as possible. Although the story unfolds slowly, there was not a moment's of boredom and even though towards the end the denouement was becoming more predictable and clichéd, this was a great read. The book covers different walks of life and deals with the aftermaths of the Second World War, but this is in such an inobtrusive way that reading this book has been a great pleasure.