If you crossed a V.C. Andrews novel with fashion nonfiction, you would end up with House of Versace, the deliciously trashy story of the ups and extreme downs of the Versace legacy. Gianni Versace, founder of the opulent design house, lived a life of glamour and lavishness until he was murdered on the steps of his home by a crazed fan. It is with this moment that author Deborah Ball (a former Wall Street Journal reporter) begins her narrative. The novel reads like the kind of gossip magazine you pore over in a grocery checkout line: no salacious detail is overlooked, and no family secret left in the dark.
Chapters are in-depth and meticulously researched. While, of course, we delve deep into the early childhood of Gianni, older brother Santo and diva-in-her-own-right Donatella, pages upon pages are also dedicated to detailing the background of the celebrities that get introduced. Armani, Campbell, Donatella’s husband, Paul Beck, Gianni’s lover, Antonio D’Amico, and eventually Gianni’s murderer, Andrew Cunanan, are each given a proper biography before being woven into our tragic hero’s timeline.