Spring has sprung and ‘tis the season to start choosing your summer reads. Out of Her Depth should go straight to the top of your list. Lizzy Barber’s story has the perfect setting: the rolling, sun-baked hills behind Florence. It’s a place that, in summer, displays Tuscany at its most bewitching and beautiful. Not to mention romantic.
We – along with Barber’s central character, Rachel – are at the Villa Medici, a stunning and gorgeously situated pensione, surrounded by perfectly manicured gardens. Rachel is completely blown away by the place and she can’t believe her luck in landing a summer job here. She’s a college student and is more used to her unfashionable London suburb, with its rows and rows of dreary streets, than this heavenly place. Little does she know there are serpents in this paradise – lots of them.
This book will have you turning the pages well into the night. I was engrossed as Rachel gradually discovers the dark reality lurking in the shadows of a place where she arrived so full of innocent joy and gratitude.
She is quickly drawn into a world of glamorous young sophisticates, utterly different from her humdrum social circle at home. Among this new in-crowd, the devastatingly attractive and self-assured Sebastian. Diana, Rachel’s stylish and beguiling co-worker, promises she can help the new girl from England win Sebastian’s attention.
But is Diana quite what she seems? Is anyone at the Villa Medici? Rachel begins to realise she is adrift in a sordid world of backstabbing, bedhopping and casual betrayal.
And then, one hot night, someone dies. Rachel is indeed out of her depth.