Sunday, May 12, 2013
5 stars! The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian
5.0 out of 5 stars - "There is no greater sorrow than to recall our time of joy in wretchedness." (~Dante)
When I closed this book after being glued to the pages for hours, I was struck by many emotions -- chief among them -- satisfaction. It has been quite awhile since I've read a novel that touched me on so many levels. Simply, it is an enthralling tale of enduring love, family bonds, war's devastation, of inexplicable loss, and unending bereavement. It drew me in immediately and never let go. Put this one on your BUY list at publication: July, 2013!
The noble Rosati family lives in quiet luxury in a lovely villa south of Florence in 1943. War is raging throughout Europe and the Germans occupying the area initially come to their door seeking Etruscan artifacts from an ancient burial ground on Rosati land to send out of the country, demanding allegiance from the Italians, and eventually commandeering their property. What was once an idyllic life becomes a nightmare and their villa a prison as little by little the family is shattered.
Flash to 1955 and witness a cold blooded murder of the Rosati's daughter-in-law, Francesca, who had suffered horrendously at the hands of the Germans as they were fleeing Italy ahead of the Allies in 1944. The detective assigned to the investigation for the Florence Police Department is Serafina Bettini. She has unspeakable memories of the war and the scars to prove her own involvement and painful history.
Suspenseful and beautifully written, the story is both mystery and historical fashion blended into a book that will have the reader thinking about it long after the ending. I'm afraid I can't do the review justice or describe all the reasons explaining how much I loved it, but I'll be recommending it to everyone I know!
Thank you to Netgalley and Doubleday Publishing for the ebook to review.