Monday 2 September 2013

The Light in the Ruins

Finished September 2
The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

This novel moves back and forth between 1943/44 and 1955. In 1943, the Rosati family had an estate and villa south of Florence near the village of Monte Volta. The oldest son Marco was serving in Sicily and Vittore was working at a museum in Florence. Marco's wife Francesca, his children Massimo and Alessia, the marchese and marchesa Antonio and Beatrice and the daughter Cristina were living at the Villa Chimera. The estate also houses a small group of Estruscan tombs, something the Nazis have taken an interest in. We see here how the Nazis exert more and more of a presence in Monte Volta and at the villa and the family's involvement with individual Germans.
In 1955, Francesca is found dead, a victim of a particularly gruesome murder. Serafina Bettini is one of the detectives assigned to the case. But Serafina has her own history in the hills near Monte Volta, and possibly with the villa as well. She was a partisan during the war and was badly injured near there just before the British arrival. As she searches for the murderer, who seems to be targeting the Rosatis, she also awakens her own memories of the war and the struggles so many had to survive.
This is a book of long memories, reprisals, forgiveness, and love. A story of a difficult time in Italy and the years following the war when so many had to find a new way to move forward and decide whether to make a new start or carry their grudges forward with them.
A page-turner that will take you inside the lives of the characters.

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read Bohjalian's historical fiction yet, so I'm glad to see this one is a page-turner. It's on my wishlist.