The Light in the Ruins

The Light in the Ruins

A Novel

Book - 2013
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EljayJohnson
Jul 14, 2019

My record with Bohjalian thus far:

The Light in the Ruins - 2 stars
Trans-Sister Radio - 0 stars
Skeletons at the Feast - 4 stars
Secrets of Eden - 3 stars
The Night Strangers - 4 stars

So, kind of all over the place. I was more at 3 stars with this one while I was reading it, but ended up at 2 because it will never stay with me; it was all just story, nothing deeper or memorable.

Bohjalian revisits the World War II Europe of 'Skeletons,' but this time we're in Italy. Back and forth between then and 1950's Italy where a series of murders are occurring. I was very involved in the whodunit and wanted to know what was gonna happen next, but it was all pretty empty.

s
SandraLH
Aug 11, 2017

First time reading this author and found the story interesting. But, when I reached about two-thirds through, I felt the plot start to lag and I began skipping pages.

ArapahoeTatyana Nov 04, 2016

The author of "The Sandcastle girls" and many other novels proved to be one of the top fiction writers working today. This novel is a terrific read that will bring you to one of the most turbulent periods in Italian history - WWII.
Controversial, poignant, mysterious, complex.
You may forget a serial killer but you'll have this impression of warm light in your heart for a long time.

b
BlueHippo
Jan 02, 2016

I really enjoyed this book. It's a great mystery and wonderful character study as well. Vivid descriptions of this area of Italy in WWII and the different forces clashing there.

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Emilyfaith0
Oct 04, 2015

I found this impossible to put down.

l
lilypad_1
Jul 06, 2015

ugh! too much blood and guts and light on 'why should i care'.

b
beverlyjean
Mar 19, 2015

I have read most of the author's books and consider him a favorite. But I could not get into this book. I tried three times and simply gave up. The characters were boring to me, the writing did not draw me in, and I could not characterize the plot. Not romance, mystery or history, but an uncertain melange that skipped back and forth. I am certainly glad this was not his first book I read, for it would have been the last!

Diell Nov 23, 2014

actually better than just average but I'm not prepared to say above average. over romanticised?

m
Microbes
Feb 22, 2014

This is the second of Bohjalian's books I've read, and have really liked both. His characters are well delineated and the action seems plausible. I liked that it flipped back and forth between 1943 and 1955, so we could see possible motives for the horrific murders being investigated in 1955.

microbes Feb. 22, 2014

dollfacecrafter Jan 22, 2014

I love his books, this one was a little different than some of his earlier work, but engrossing story and exciting. he mostly tackles controversial subjects and makes them so interesting.

d
dcafk
Nov 30, 2013

Mr. Bohjalian is a wonderful writer. His characters come to life in all their complexity in these pages. It is a great story about love, family, and survival in wartime as well as an intriguing murder mystery.

Cdnbookworm Nov 08, 2013

This novel moves back and forth between 1943/44 and 1955. In 1943, the Rosati family had an estate and villa south of Florence near the village of Monte Volta. The oldest son Marco was serving in Sicily and Vittore was working at a museum in Florence. Marco's wife Francesca, his children Massimo and Alessia, the marchese and marchesa Antonio and Beatrice and the daughter Cristina were living at the Villa Chimera. The estate also houses a small group of Estruscan tombs, something the Nazis have taken an interest in. We see here how the Nazis exert more and more of a presence in Monte Volta and at the villa and the family's involvement with individual Germans.
In 1955, Francesca is found dead, a victim of a particularly gruesome murder. Serafina Bettini is one of the detectives assigned to the case. But Serafina has her own history in the hills near Monte Volta, and possibly with the villa as well. She was a partisan during the war and was badly injured near there just before the British arrival. As she searches for the murderer, who seems to be targeting the Rosatis, she also awakens her own memories of the war and the struggles so many had to survive.
This is a book of long memories, reprisals, forgiveness, and love. A story of a difficult time in Italy and the years following the war when so many had to find a new way to move forward and decide whether to make a new start or carry their grudges forward with them.
A page-turner that will take you inside the lives of the characters.

b
Bearwomyn
Oct 04, 2013

WWII Italy, we follow the life of a Marchesa Rosati's daughter. She is entitled, but kind, raw, wide-eyed, in love with the unfolding of fresh experiences, wanting more, blooming into a body of desire. She rides her horse with abandon under the threatening hum of allied war planes overhead, barely wary of their menace, only in love with the possibility of adventure. Add the twist that her family has unearthed an ancient Etruscan tomb submerged for centuries under the grasses neighboring their olive groves. Romance, history, mystery, war, Nazi's, partisans, vino, swims under a Tuscan sun and forbidden love with the...ally? or is it the enemy? Flash forward 1955, The Rosati family is being hunted, murdered, their hearts being cut out and placed on display. Angry. Predatory. Intentional. But why? A rather unique murder mystery, the kernels of understanding play out as we dart back and forth through the decades. Then the piece de resistance...the riveting convolution gracing the plot with more gravity and intrigue...The police investigator, Serafina...the first and only woman detective in Florence, with large portions of her body covered in burn scars from the war. She unknowingly buried her memories like an Etruscan Amphora yet they begin to reveal themselves as the suspense and clues of the Rosati story are excavated.

b
Bearwomyn
Oct 04, 2013

WWII Italy, we follow the life of a Marchesa Rosati's daughter. She is entitled, but kind, raw, wide-eyed, in love with the unfolding of fresh experiences, wanting more, blooming into a body of desire. She rides her horse with abandon under the menacing hum of allied war planes overhead, barely wary of their menace, only in love with the possibility of adventure. Add the twist that her family has unearthed an ancient Etruscan tomb submerged for centuries under the grasses neighboring their olive groves. Romance, history, mystery, war, Nazi's, partisans, vino, swims under a Tuscan sun and forbidden love with the...ally? or is it the enemy? Flash forward 1955, The Rosati family is being hunted, murdered, their hearts being cut out and placed on display. Angry. Predatory. Intentional. But why? A rather unique murder mystery, the kernels of understanding play out as we dart back and forth through the decades. Then the piece de resistance...the riveting convolution gracing the plot with more gravity and intrigue...The police investigator, Serafina...the first and only woman detective in Florence, with large portions of her body covered in burn scars from the war. She unknowingly buried her memories like an Etruscan Amphora yet they begin to reveal themselves as the suspense and clues of the Rosati story are excavated.

e
EmilyEm
Sep 05, 2013

We are caught up in a series of moral choices and survival tactics made by the Rosati family. The novel jumps back and forth in time from WW II in Tuscany to 1955 when some surviving members of this aristocratic family are brutally murdered. A young investigator Serafina has her own wartime experiences to draw from as she seeks to understand the killings.

I am always impressed with Bohjalian?s historical research that is the basis for his writing. It makes his storytelling seem so believable. This book is much more suspenseful than others of his I?ve read, making it hard to put aside. I was reminded while reading, and he references at the end, another book on this time in Italy I thought wonderful: Mary Doria Russell?s A Thread of Grace.

booklady413 Aug 08, 2013

This excellent novel goes back and forth between 1944 and 1950's Italy. Members of a noble family are being killed in an horrific way. Who wants them dead?

s
SarahBee2002
Aug 05, 2013

cool book i have ever read

pwlw4867 Jul 27, 2013

Really liked this

c
cramos
Jul 08, 2013

large print

debwalker Jun 20, 2013

Shelf Awarness: Bohjalian writes of the horror of war visited upon a peaceful Tuscan villa, bringing about tragedy and repercussions many years later.


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