Female Frenemies in Literature and Reality: Background information when reading The Villa

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The Villa

A Novel

by Rachel Hawkins

The Villa by Rachel Hawkins X
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
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  • Published:
    Jan 2023, 288 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Jordan Lynch
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About this Book

Female Frenemies in Literature and Reality

This article relates to The Villa

In Rachel Hawkins's novel The Villa, childhood best friends Emily Sheridan and Chess Chandler decide to spend the summer together amid the splendor of Villa Aestas in Italy. Although the two women have fallen a bit out of touch over the years, this summer offers a chance for them to reconnect while combining work and play. But when Emily begins investigating and writing about the villa's bloody history, Chess's behavior changes, and as secrets—both past and present—are uncovered, Emily can't help but wonder if Chess is the friend she claims to be.

Although Emily and Chess initially began as friends, their relationship, as evidenced by the novel's opening line, has shifted to something closer to frenemies: "Somewhere around the time she started calling herself 'Chess,' I realized I might actually hate my best friend." Frenemy, or "frienemy" as it was originally spelled, is a portmanteau of "friend" and "enemy,...

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