Mad Book Tour – Extract
On the book tour for Chloé Esposito’s new novel called ‘Mad’, sit back and enjoy an extract from the exotic tale.
Holy fuck; my sister lives here?
Dollar signs flash in my eyes. The villa is ridicu- lous. This place must cost a bomb.
‘Do you own this?’
‘I inherited it from my parents.’
Oh yes. I remember Beth said. They died. Poor Ambrogio.
He was only thirteen. Thirteen and a millionaire. Actually, that’s awesome. He probably didn’t mind. And lucky for him, he’s an only child, no snotty big sister to split it with.
‘Benvenuto!’ he says.
Ambrogio opens my door and takes my hand. The seats are so low I need it, especially in these heels. How do people walk in these things? He pulls me up and I steady myself on the top of the car, shield my eyes and blink into the sun.
It looks like the set of a luxurious fashion shoot: Vogue or Elle or Vanity Fair. I expect to see Gisele Bündchen reclining on a sunlounger: gold lamé bikini, daiquiri, tan. Where are the cam- eras? The lightbulbs flashing? The photographers clicking? I’m reminded of the faraway fantasy worlds of Condé Nast Traveller and The Sunday Times Travel,of all those dream properties in ‘A Place in the Sun’; except, clearly, I am here, so this must be real.
Ancient pink buildings with terracotta roofs sprawl across acres of garden: manicured lawns, manicured flower beds. The flowers are so beautiful they’re singing: red geraniums, purple fuchsias, every shade of blue, frangipani, bougainvillea, jasmine.
It’s paradise, Eden: roses and cactus flowers, violets and camel- lias. Towering palm trees wave in the breeze, their green leaves exploding like fireworks.
Then I see the pool: cool, deep, seductive. Lava-stone tiles frame opal blue. Inky water sparkles in the stark Sicilian sun; flecks of light blind me as I stare. Palm trees and roses reflect in its mirror: a Hockney painting,anoasis. Cream linen deckchairs and parasols surround it, quiet and neat on the crazy paving. The water looks calm and far too inviting – it’s all I can do to stop myself jumping in. I want to splash around like a hot girl in a pop video, pretend I’m a teenager on spring break.
I turn around and gawk at the house. The villa itself doesn’t even look real, like a still from a golden-age Hollywood movie, something romantic by Federico Fellini or the set from Roman Holiday. I look around for Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck. Crumbling walls are covered with ivy, emerald leaves shining almost too green. The sign by the door says:
‘La Perla Nera’. I catch a glimpse of marble through an open window, curtains billow in the breeze like tethered clouds.
I don’t know how long I stand here staring. I think I’m dreaming.
Someone calls my name.
I don’t know about you but I think this sounds like the perfect book to enjoy by the pool!