Monday, May 19, 2014

The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian

The Light in the Ruins

Chris Bohjalian

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.

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (July 9, 2013)

My Thoughts:
I enjoyed "The Light in the Ruins".  The story is a look at Italy during WWII and how the local citizens were forced to choose sides - their native country or the Germans in power.  The Rosatis' were victims and beneficiaries of the German occupation because of their wealth and status.  Their war years were lived relatively unaffected until the allies began to close in and the Germans saw them just as Italians not their wealth and status.  

After the war, the Rosatis' become the target for murder and who is can be carrying out these crimes.  Serafina, a scarred victim of the war is put on the case.  

Bohmalian weaves a very good mystery around the Rosati Family and you continue to guess who is commiting the murders under the end - the Rosatis' were not everyone's favorite neighbor and friend.

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