Last year I chatted to Amanda Hampson, author of ‘The Yellow Villa.’ Amanda says to me although she hasn’t been to Tasmania her daughter raves about it and hopefully she will get down here sometime soon.
This day however we are talking about France, the setting of her novel ‘The Yellow Villa.’ Into this French setting arrive her protagonists Mia and Ben. There is a scene in ‘The Yellow Villa’ where the companion of a little girl dressed in a yellow raincoat comments on how people change and that is the theme of ‘The Yellow Villa’, how people change in response to challenges in their life.
The story centres on two couples, Mia and Ben and Dominic and Susannah. Mia and Ben are unable to have children and needing an outlet for their creative spirits decide to move to France and renovate a yellow house with green shutters, which resembles Van Gogh’s yellow house in Arles. It’s an appropriate comparison because Mia is an art teacher, a job she relinquished when she was told of her inability to have children as it was too painful to face children every day in class.
The creativity of Ben in computer science and technology and Mia in art is juxtaposed with the couple they meet in France, Dominic and Susannah. Dominic and Susannah, once sharing a great passion now behave destructively towards each other with Susannah regretting her initial choices.
Just as Van Gogh’s house had a room occupied by a landlady, Mia is intrigued by the lady who regularly walks by the house and wonders what her connection is to it. This mystery grows with the presence of a baby’s room in the house even though Mia is unaware of the presence of a baby, the last occupant being an elderly lady living alone.
‘The Yellow Villa’ by Amanda Hampson is out now published by Penguin books.