The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

78%

6 Critic Reviews

The denouement is dead solid perfect. Bohjalian has written another winner.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

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. 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.
 

About Chris Bohjalian

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CHRIS BOHJALIAN is the critically acclaimed author of twelve novels, including the New York Times bestsellers Skeletons at the Feast, The Double Bind, and Midwives. His novel, Midwives, was a number one New York Times bestseller and a selection of Oprah's Book Club. His work has been translated into more than 25 languages and twice became movies (Midwives and Past the Bleachers). He lives in Vermont with his wife and daughter. Visit him at www.ChrisBohjalian.com or on Facebook.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published July 9, 2013 by Vintage. 322 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Jul 28 2013
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Critic reviews for The Light in the Ruins
All: 6 | Positive: 5 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Jun 09 2013

As Serafina struggles with her own postwar nightmares, she must learn why the killer hates the Rosatis—only then can she identify him before the next Rosati dies. A soulful why-done-it.

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Publishers Weekly

Above average
on May 27 2013

Bohjalian tips his hand too early as to the killer’s identity, but otherwise delivers an entertaining historical whodunit.

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NY Journal of Books

Good
Reviewed by Sheila Moeschen on Jul 05 2013

The Light in the Ruins offers an engaging story that unspools in such a way as to keep the reader with her nose to the pages long after the light has actually faded.

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Star Tribune

Excellent
Reviewed by Curt Schleier on Jul 07 2013

The denouement is dead solid perfect. Bohjalian has written another winner.

Read Full Review of The Light in the Ruins | See more reviews from Star Tribune

USA Today

Above average
Reviewed by Claudia Puig on Jul 05 2013

...as historical fiction, an exploration of how ordinary Italians were forced to collaborate with the Germans, The Light in the Ruins is a memorable read.

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Washington Times

Good
Reviewed by Brighid Moret on Jul 09 2013

The Light in the Ruins is masterfully crafted. It is a near-perfect blend of historical fiction, mystery and suspense. The historical detail is rich, but the reader never feels overwhelmed...The characters are complex yet believable, and there are enough possible enemies of the Rosatis that readers are kept guessing through both time lines.

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76%

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Karen Russo

Karen Russo 5 Sep 2013

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