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The Light in the Ruins

by Chris Bohjalian

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
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  • Published in USA  Jul 2013
    320 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Jeanne W

Great mix of historical fiction and mystery
This is the first of his books that I've really enjoyed. It's WWII historical fiction set in Italy mixed with a mystery. In 1943, the Rosati family owns a large estate near Florence in a small village. As WWII escalates, the Nazis begin imposing themselves on the family and stealing artworks from the tombs located on the estate. In 1955, someone begins murdering the remaining Rosati family members. Investigating the murders is a female detective who has her own connection to the Rosati estate. The detective, Serafina, is the most interesting character, and I'd love to see a follow-up featuring her. Some of the characters are kind of blank - Cristina Rosati and Francesca Rosati mainly. We learn very little about Cristina post-war and nothing about Francesca pre-war. But those are minor quibbles in what is overall an excellent novel.
Power Reviewer Diane S.

the light in the ruins
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 coincidences somewhat unbelievable and the musing of the killer I did not like at all. It is well written, really all his books are, and I did love reading about Florence, the history of the family and the times, but for me it never flowed seamlessly.
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