Lead Review

  • Book: Out Of Her Depth
  • Location: Fiesole, Florence
  • Author: Lizzy Barber

Review Author: tripfiction



Need a bit of Italy in your life? With a well carved storyline that bowls along apace? Then this is for you, especially if you fancy a good read to keep you engrossed poolside (given there is a pool on the cover!).

Rachel has got herself into Cambridge and in the summer before she goes up, she bags a job as all round maid at the Villa Medici (there is a clue in the name of the hotel: The Medici dynasty clawed their way to the top of society and on the outside were the epitome of Renaissance people, but underneath lurked a distinctly murky modus operandi). It is here that she meets Diana and gradually they become friends, even though they come from very different backgrounds. Diana is rich and knows what she wants, and soon Rachel seems to be in thrall to her every whim and design.

Sebastian, himself from a wealthy background, is spending much of his Summer in the neighbouring villa, which is owned by his parents. Soon a clique of young people has formed, which includes the girls and which even includes a presumed member of the Fiat family, the Agnellis, a nod to the level of wealth in which Rachel finds herself. She also finds Sebastian quite attractive and wants more from him than he appears to want to give. Stepping up to the plate is Diana in fixer mode and perhaps Rachel’s dream of bedding Sebastian might just come true with Diana on her side.

The novel moves between Now (back in England) and Then (Italy 21 years ago). We know that something happened during that fateful Summer and Sebastian has been in prison, convicted of killing someone. In the Now chapters he is being released and Rachel is having to come to terms with what went on then.

In the novel, there is a very good Italian vibe. A trip to the iconic Caffè Gilli in Florence, and generally the author captures a real sense of the warmth, heat and people. This is a nicely transportive and gripping read.

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