Thursday, July 11, 2013

"Humor, heartbreak, you can walk into the pages of a book and become family, loss and love – you will find them all in 'The Light in the Ruins'." ~Lisa C.

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.

Lisa C. says:
"Chris Bohjalian as a master at storytelling. His last book The Sand Castle Girls is among my favorite historical novels, and I hope every book club picks it up. There is so much to discuss.

Now, his new one The Light in the Ruins is also a favorite. Set in Tuscany during and after WWII, Bohjalian tells the story of the Rosatis – an Italian family whose villa with its Etruscan burial site is taken over by the Nazis during the war. The family has its secrets but one of those is deadly. Years after the war, the Rosatis are dying. Someone is hunting them down one by one. Police investigator Serafina Bettini, who is also haunted by war events, has to find the killer but it means digging into a horrific past.

Bohjalian sets the scene in every book with his excellent sense of place. It always makes a difference when immersed in the tale. The characters become real to you. Humor, heartbreak, you can walk into the pages of a book and become family, loss and love – you will find them all in The Light in the Ruins. This will be a book club favorite and I won’t be surprised if it becomes a film." 

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