The Light in the Ruins

The Light in the Ruins

A Novel

Book - 2013
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From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge--set in war-ravaged Tuscany.

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate's gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis' bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.

1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case--a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood--Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.

Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780385534819
Characteristics: 309 pages ; 25 cm


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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.

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.

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.

Oct 04, 2015

I found this impossible to put down.

Jul 06, 2015

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

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?

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.

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Aug 29, 2013

sir_stuffon thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 14 and 99


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