The Light in the Ruins

The Light in the Ruins 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 Tucked away in the idyllic hill

  • Title: The Light in the Ruins
  • Author: Chris Bohjalian
  • ISBN: 9780385534819
  • Page: 254
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 EiFrom 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.

    One thought on “The Light in the Ruins”

    1. I'm a little baffled by the glowing reviews for this book. I felt that it dragged. It took me two weeks to read and it was only sheer stubbornness that kept me going. It's set in Tuscany and the story unfolds in dual storylines. In 1943-44, the wealthy Rosati family are living in the Villa Chimera and somewhat reluctantly playing host to a number of Nazis who come to visit a recently discovered Etruscan tomb on their land. In 1955, the same family are being targeted one by one by a serial killer [...]

    2. The Light in the Ruins stoked my fondness for historical fiction set in Italy. I expected art, history, romance, family turmoil, maybe a little mystery. I didn’t expect to get sucked into a tense and rewarding page-turner with beautiful prose and well-rendered characters. Not one for “procedurals”, I nevertheless enjoyed the set up: a serial killer is stalking family members from a formerly illustrious Tuscan clan. The killer has a vendetta and some pretty gnarly hospital instruments. Alth [...]

    3. What is it about a Chris Bohjalian book that keeps you reading? Is it the building of the story the way an orchestra builds to the finale? Is it the character development with snippets of information about each one? Is it the history of the time period with lots of facts mixed in with some fiction mixed with your own imagination? Yes to all of the above!With this story you get to follow an Italian family's struggle with the occupation of their villa, Chimera by the Nazis during WWII. Struggle is [...]

    4. Originally posted at Curvy and Nerdy Blog.During poignant times, the Rosati family was faced with a moral dilemma that affected them still years after the war was over. From the beginning, as readers, we are brought into a world where a killer has obviously set their sights on the family with a grudge that roots deep. We then experience the story of what was, and more grippingly, what this family had to go through when decision after decision intertwined them more firmly with a rapidly losing Ge [...]

    5. I don't think I am a Chris Bohjalian fan. Granted, this is only my second time reading him, but I have many of the same problems here as I did before. I actually requested this book from NetGalley because I thought the plot sounded promising, and I worked very hard to give Chris a clean mental slate on which he could impress me and change my opinion.This book, by the way, is about a wealthy Italian family during World War II. In 1943, the Rosatis' property is of great interest to Germans who are [...]

    6. My ThoughtsThe short review: Brilliant! Go order this right now. You’re welcome.The long review:This story is told in alternating chapters. Some chapters are based in 1943 and others are in 1955. All is set in Italy. Interspersed are short chapters related to the individual who is killing the remaining Rosati family. The main female characters are Serafina and Christina. In 1943, both women are teenagers and in many ways are polar opposites of each other. Christina Rosati is a teenager who has [...]

    7. "The Light in the Ruins" is a historical mystery set in Florence and the Tuscan countryside. A killer's sinister thoughts show that he/she wants to destroy the Rosati family. The murderer's calling card is to leave the victims with their hearts cut out in several attacks in 1955. Why are the Rosatis being targeted?A narrative set in 1943 tells the Rosati family story from the points of view of several members of the family. They owned the Villa Chimera, and had olive groves and vineyards on thei [...]

    8. Mr Bohjalian can be depended on to deliver a story with full, rich characters and a well thought out storyline that flows and is beautifully written. If it is a historical fiction piece he must do massive research as I know I will always learn something. Most of his works that I have read are told from different viewpoints and often during different time periods. This often does not work but he is the master of this technique. This story takes place in Italy, both at the end of WWII as the Germa [...]

    9. 4.5 stars"There is no greater sorrow than to recall our time of joy in wretchedness." -Dante1943-44 near the end of German occupation in Tuscany, the Rosatis, a titled family, entertained and danced with the enemy at their Villa Chimera. They were favored by the Germans while the ravages of war play out around them. Eleven years later, surviving members of the Rosati family are targeted by a ruthless murderer. More intriguing is the entanglement of the investigator on the case; Serafina Bettini' [...]

    10. If you have read this in book form and missed out on the audio, I feel sorry for you. Most of the audio version is beautifully narrated by Cassandra Campbell. But it is also interspersed throughout with some very, very creepy blurbs by the book's serial killer at work, planning and scheming what to do with the next heart he will carve out of his victims (read by Mark Bramhall). The killer's attempted display of intellectual superiority and his sly cunning put me in mind a bit of Hannibal Lecter. [...]

    11. Set in the early 1940's and alternating in the 1950's, this is about the Rosatis, a wealthy family with Etruscan paintings in a hidden spot in their groves, become tangled up in Hitler's crazy art scheme and war itself. Living in Florence they felt they were safe until they were not. This time period rotates between that time and the middle 1950's where a body of one of the family is found murdered. This book did not grab me like so many others of his have. The connections seemed forced, the coi [...]

    12. Interesting mystery tale that reflected on the results of war even years after the war has ended on people's heart and minds. I was a bit bloody and gruesome but the overwhelming focus of revenge was clear cut.The author kept the identity of the killer very well hidden until the very end and was able to explore the horrific conditions people were not only forced to live under but also forced to witness each and every day. The main character,Serafina, is not only marred by disfigurement, but also [...]

    13. 1943: 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. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ quiet life 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: A serial killer is [...]

    14. Each time I pick up a Boujalian book, I think, this is the one in which I will see what others see, the reason for his popularity and glowing reviews. And each time,page-turner that it may be, I come to the same conclusion:he has learned to sell books by manipulating readers with sensation, suspense and contrived melodrama.This book disturbs me on many levels. With it Bohjalian jumps on the bandwagon of now trendy WWII fiction,as if we needed one more novel exploiting the anguish of that generat [...]

    15. I felt like this book could have been much better. The characters were well developed, and the story was interesting, but somehow it fell flat for me. It flip flops back and forth between 1944 and 1955 with two story lines containing the same family, the Rosetis. The landscape was well done, I could easily picture Italy during and after the Second World War. It was nice to read about WWII and the Nazis from a different point of view, from the Italian front. The author did a good job of showing h [...]

    16. Ultimately this novel for me was about survival. It is about the things we do or don't when placed in horrific circumstances and then the unforeseen consequences of those actions. It had a little of everything, mystery, romance, violence.

    17. The thing is, the rifle sat there all night. A page turner for sure but disappointing in the end. Hard to feel sorry for some of the characters. It's true, some of them are compelling, especially Franscesca. But I don't think it's possible to figure out who the killer is because SPOILER Alert (finished at bottom).Post review that led me to read it: " Setting his story in the glorious Italian hills south of Florence, the author switches back and forth from the mid-1940s, while the war is raging, [...]

    18. For this book to have so many characters I felt that the character development was weak. You get some build up to this murder mystery only to be let down considerably. I felt no connection to this book and overall was disappointed. I have another of his books on my list to read so I'll try again. Just never really enjoyed the book, it felt like too much work to read with no satisfaction after completion.

    19. Well, this was not for me. Generally, I'm not a big fan of murder mysteries, nor war. However, this book initially appealed to me for its setting in Italy at the end of WWII and I keep thinking that I'll come around to this genre if I just give it a chance. Oh well. However, I'm getting to know myself better.

    20. I've read some WWII books set in Germany (City of Women, The Life of Objects), France (Suite Francaise) and England (The Guernsey Potato Peel & Literary Society and Phillip Rock's Abingdon Pryory trilogy), but I hadn't read many set in Italy.Chris Bohjalian returns to historical fiction again after his last novel, The Sandcastle Girls, was set after WWI in Armenia during the genocide there. This time in The Light in the Ruins, we meet the Rosatis, Italian descendants of nobilty. They have a [...]

    21. 4.5 I requested to review The Light of the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian for three reasons. I have loved every book Chris has ever written, it’s set in Italy and takes place during and after WWII a period in history I find fascinating. Once again Bohjalian delivered and I found myself swept up in the murder mystery, the history of the Rosatis family and Germany’s impact on Italy and its people. Three word review: captivating, dark and breathtaking.The tale begins in 1955 Florence, Italy with a gr [...]

    22. Chris Bohjalian pens another spectacular book with The Light in the Ruins. I have read several of Chris' books and have not found one yet that I didn't like. The story opens in 1955 with the murder of Francesca Rosati. Like Skeletons at the Feast,thought, his latest effort is primarily set set late in WWII, as the tide is turning away from the Germans and toward the Allies. The focus of the story is the life of the Rosati family, who are headed by a marchese and marchesa, and live in their Tusca [...]

    23. Billed as a "literary thrilled," this novel travels back and forth in time between 1944 and 1955 in Italy. It's 1944. The Germans know the end is near. As one German officer says, only Hitler thinks otherwise. Mussolini is dead, the Italians have surrendered. Now they are occupied by their former allies. In 1955 Francesca Rosati, widow of Marco Rosati, eldest son of the Marchese Alberto Rosati, is murdered. Her heart is removed and placed in an ashtray next to her body. At first it seems random. [...]

    24. This was historical fiction meets mystery. I like both of those genres so this book worked for me. The story unfolded in war-torn Italy. It toggled back and forth from 1943 and 1955. The characters felt well thought out. Even with this being historical fiction, it was a very contemporary telling of the story. I actually liked that. It was unexpected and seemed to work. I also enjoyed the descriptions of Italy, of the people, both emotionally and physcially and of the effects of war on the people [...]

    25. I am a little disappointed in this book overall, as I had high expectations after seeing some very good reviews. Also disappointing that I didn’t like this more because my library has several more audios of this author’s books on Overdrive. It started out well, at least, with a brutal murder occurring from the anonymous murderer’s POV, and it kept me interested enough to keep pulling me along with the story and trying to guess at the murderer. But… I felt myself growing more distanced fr [...]

    26. Two time periods alternate chapters in this story: 1943/44 and 1955. To say that Italy was in flux in 1943/44 would be an understatement. The war was turning against the Axis, and it was clear Italy would become a battleground. Germany, ostensibly Italy's ally, tore off the disguise of friend and became an occupier. Former enthusiastic supporters of the Fascist Blackshirts were hedging their bets. Anti-fascist partisans prowled the hills, sabotaging the German war effort. Ordinary Italians just [...]

    27. I have read most of Bohjalian's books and a few stand out. Skeletons at the Feast was the first and continues to be my favorite. It also is his best book about WWII. As usual, I will not give a synopsis of this novel here. It is easy to locate elsewhere.The Light in the Ruins , Chris Bohjalian’s carefully researched and written historical novel, alternates with the mid-'40s, during the war,to a later time in the mid-’50s, when brutal murders are committed. Also interjected in this telling is [...]

    28. 2.5 stars. A historical fiction mystery set in Tuscany during WWII that was enjoyable but lacking any sort of literary magic. I was not able to guess who the serial killer was, which was nice, but once it is revealed, it seems the only way the reader could ever deduce "whodunit" is through a lucky guess. That cheapens the mystery aspect for me in some respects. I do think the author painted Tuscany, Florence and Rome well with his descriptions giving this novel an armchair travel quality. If you [...]

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