Chris Bohjalian

The Light in the Ruins

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Highlights

Book FormatPaperback
AuthorChris Bohjalian
Publication DateApril, 2014
ISBN-139780307743923
GenreFICTION / Literary
The Light in the Ruins...

About This Item

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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.

1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills of Tuscany, 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 their doorstep asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered.
 
1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence Police Department, has successfully hidden her tragic scars from WWII, at least until she’s assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer who is targeting the remaining members of the Rosati family one by one. Soon, she will find herself digging into past secrets that will reveal a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.

Specifications

Series Title
Vintage Contemporaries
Publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Book Format
Paperback
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
320
Author
Chris Bohjalian
ISBN-13
9780307743923
Publication Date
April, 2014
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
8.00 x 5.20 x 0.60 Inches
ISBN-10
0307743926

Customer Reviews

Average Rating:(4.1)out of 5 stars
5 stars
12
4 stars
26
3 stars
4
2 stars
2
1 star
0
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
What is it about a Chr...
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 such an understatement of what the Rosatis went through during that time and after the war. How can one split second decision in the beginning by Anthony effect the family for the rest of their lives? There is so much to this book that I am struggling to put into words. There are strong family bonds even when a family does not exist. There is loyalty to country and land even when it is all gone. And the betrayal and heartache is overwhelming at times. There were parts of this book that made me gasp out loud.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about WWII, serial killers, romance, etc...It is all here in this one book. Many many many thanks to Doubleday and Netgalley for this ARC.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
The ratings for this b...
The ratings for this book are all over the place, but it sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. The story switches between Florence, Italy during WWII in 1943 and post-war 1955. The Rosatis are being murdered and as the police investigate (in 1955) information about the family and their experiences during the war are revealed in bits and pieces. I didn't mind the story bouncing back and forth, although the parts in 1943 were much more interesting. The same incidents were gone over and over, which got a little tedious. The characters were flat and uninteresting. The ending had coincidental connections between people that just weren't believable. It's just not a book I would recommend.
Most helpful positive review
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars
What is it about a Chr...
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 such an understatement of what the Rosatis went through during that time and after the war. How can one split second decision in the beginning by Anthony effect the family for the rest of their lives? There is so much to this book that I am struggling to put into words. There are strong family bonds even when a family does not exist. There is loyalty to country and land even when it is all gone. And the betrayal and heartache is overwhelming at times. There were parts of this book that made me gasp out loud.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about WWII, serial killers, romance, etc...It is all here in this one book. Many many many thanks to Doubleday and Netgalley for this ARC.
Most helpful negative review
Average Rating:(2.0)out of 5 stars
The ratings for this b...
The ratings for this book are all over the place, but it sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. The story switches between Florence, Italy during WWII in 1943 and post-war 1955. The Rosatis are being murdered and as the police investigate (in 1955) information about the family and their experiences during the war are revealed in bits and pieces. I didn't mind the story bouncing back and forth, although the parts in 1943 were much more interesting. The same incidents were gone over and over, which got a little tedious. The characters were flat and uninteresting. The ending had coincidental connections between people that just weren't believable. It's just not a book I would recommend.
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 such an understatement of what the Rosatis went through during that time and after the war. How can one split second decision in the beginning by Anthony effect the family for the rest of their lives? There is so much to this book that I am struggling to put into words. There are strong family bonds even when a family does not exist. There is loyalty to country and land even when it is all gone. And the betrayal and heartache is overwhelming at times. There were parts of this book that made me gasp out loud.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about WWII, serial killers, romance, etc...It is all here in this one book. Many many many thanks to Doubleday and Netgalley for this ARC.
The ratings for this book are all over the place, but it sounded interesting, so I gave it a try. The story switches between Florence, Italy during WWII in 1943 and post-war 1955. The Rosatis are being murdered and as the police investigate (in 1955) information about the family and their experiences during the war are revealed in bits and pieces. I didn't mind the story bouncing back and forth, although the parts in 1943 were much more interesting. The same incidents were gone over and over, which got a little tedious. The characters were flat and uninteresting. The ending had coincidental connections between people that just weren't believable. It's just not a book I would recommend.

Frequent mentions

1-5 of 44 reviews
Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

What is it about a Chr...

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 such an understatement of what the Rosatis went through during that time and after the war. How can one split second decision in the beginning by Anthony effect the family for the rest of their lives? There is so much to this book that I am struggling to put into words. There are strong family bonds even when a family does not exist. There is loyalty to country and land even when it is all gone. And the betrayal and heartache is overwhelming at times. There were parts of this book that made me gasp out loud.I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading about WWII, serial killers, romance, etc...It is all here in this one book. Many many many thanks to Doubleday and Netgalley for this ARC.

Average Rating:(5.0)out of 5 stars

Stellar tale of love, ...

Stellar tale of love, despair, and revenge. Two stories glide through until the denouement. One story begins in Italy with the Rosatis family during the occupation of Italy by the Nazis as the Nazis swept through Italy, robbing museums of their priceless artifacts. The Rosatis have survived fairly well, all things considered. Now, 11 years later it seems that someone has come back and is cruelly killing the members of the family. The other story is set in 1955 where Officer Serafina, member of the Florence police department, is trying to piece together the story of the family and who might seek,revenge.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

The Light in the Ruins...

The Light in the Ruins" is a well-researched, historically interesting, perfectly satisfactory literary thriller. It is a blend of historical fiction, mystery and suspense. There is a grisly element to the mystery. Not the best of Chris Bohjalian's book, I still couldn't put it down. A satisfying summer read. Four stars for what it is...entertaining.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

This book is certainly...

This book is certainly a different look at WWII. It is set in Florence Italy, and it is a family saga that covers the later years of WWII, and it skips ahead throughout the book to 1955. I have never read a book that gave the Italian perspective of what happened during WWII. Italy was an Axis power and uneasily allied with Germany. The partnership was never an easy one as Germany did not trust Mussolini, and the Italian people as a whole were not comfortable with the alliance. Italy had it's own resistance movement who worked against the Nazis. A lot of blood was shed, and a lot of damage was done tosome of Italy's wonderful estates and beautiful scenery. And a lot of Italy's ancient treasures were pillaged by the Nazis as in so many other countries. This book slips back and forth from from 1943-44 to 1955 as it follows the lives of the Roasiti family. And the connection between these two different eras (war and post-war) is a killer who is hunting the members of the Donati family in 1955. I found that Mr. Bohjalian's character development is quite extraordinary. HIs historical research and references are also very good and it was interesting to learn a litttle about this previously unknown to me part of World War II. But for me the book fell off in the mystery side. I think that Mr. Bohajalian portrayed a depraved and psychotic killer quite well, but there was really no mystery to me as to who it was almost from the beginning. And I found that the slow reveal of what happened to set off this particular killer wasn't as suspenseful as it could have been. Still it is a well-written historical novel in its own right so that is why I have given the book 4 stars.

Average Rating:(4.0)out of 5 stars

There are so many reas...

There are so many reasons in my mind why this should have been ranked higher. As always with Chis Bohjalian, the writing is exquisite and the characters are fascinating with rich backstories. The multiple points of view really work for the story, and unlike others who've tried this technique, Bohjalian never gives you a "dud" character that you have to wade through in order to get back to the better narrator; all of his characters are strong and fascinating in their own right so when one point of view ends and another picks up you're disappointed that you have to leave, but then instantly fascinated with the next. The only problem I found with the story was its climax. The build up to the ending is heart-pounding and I stayed up late into the evening hours to keep reading, but when the killer is revealed, I wasn't surprised - just confused. Huh? Who was this person? I wanted it to be Serfina herself, and I think it could have been. THAT would have been fascinating. I want to hit that fourth star, but considering that anti-climax, I just can't bring myself to do it.


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