*4 stars on Goodreads*
The story begins with Philip, an orphan who was raised by his older cousin, Ambrose. Philip was brought up in a household with no women, so it was odd to him that his cousin Ambrose had gotten married while he was in Italy. They exchanged letters back and forth detailing their days and feelings. Philip began to harbor jealousy in his heart towards, Rachel(also his cousin, who has married Ambrose) since he never had to share Ambrose’s affection before. He loathed the day when Ambrose would bring Rachel home and had a plan set to basically treat her like trash. This absurdity was only heightened as Ambrose’s letters came less frequent.
Philip then decides to go to Italy when he receives an alarming letter from Ambrose but not detailed enough that he knew exactly what was transpiring. He knew Ambrose’s health had declined and was shocked to learn of Ambrose’s sudden death upon his arrival to Italy. His cousin Rachel had already disappeared from the villa where she and Ambrose lived, and Philip was directed to Rachel’s trusted advisor, Ranaildi, the man who handled all of her affairs.
Philip instantly dislikes Rainaldi and goes back home, plotting to do for Rachel should he ever see her. When she finally arrives at his house, he is deeply ashamed, and also surprised by her feeble demeanor. Surely she couldn’t be the villain he had painted her out to be.
As the story progresses, Philips shows himself as a spoiled brat who has become obsessed with Rachel. He enjoys her company so much that he basically demands that she stay with him for a longer time before she moves on to another place. He busies her with decorating the house, and building things around it. His godfather who handles the estate until Philip reaches of age raises concern over how indulgent and insistent he is on gifting Rachel expensive things and allowing her financial freedom to do whatever she wishes.
As per usual I have to cut my synopsis of this book as not to give spoilers. A great, engaging read about deeply flawed characters who you may have a love/hate relationship with. The author’s language was nothing less than marvelous. And I cannot wait to see the movie!