The Light in the Ruins [Book Review]

“We always have choices.”

TitleThe Light in the Ruins
Author: Chris Bohjalian
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
Pages: 320 
Year: 2013
Publisher: Doubleday
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4/5


In 1943, the Rosatis had everything. I villa in Tuscany, royal titles, and a big family. By the end of WWII, the Germans – who the Rosatis essentially invited into their home – have taken most of it away. In 1955, someone starts killing the remaining Rosatis, and Serafina, a Detective who sided with the Partisans when she was just a teenager, is convinced that the murders tie back to the war.

My Thoughts:

When I began reading The Light in the Ruins, I thought it was going to be a little more of a thriller than it turned out to be. It’s quieter than that. Less murder and mystery and more family saga and historical fiction. Which is really more my cup of tea.

While WWII novels are not rare, the Italian perspective is certainly less common. Italy had a unique role in WWII and I never really thought about how actual Italians felt about their country’s loyalties.

I think this book is going to stay with me for awhile. I just keep thinking about the Rosatis and the decisions they made: whether they could have made different choices and whether the choices they made were for the right reasons.

3 thoughts on “The Light in the Ruins [Book Review]

  1. Ti July 12, 2013 / 9:36 am

    I love Bohjalian’s work but I am not a fan of war books. That’s the only reason why I haven’t snatched this one up yet.


  2. Heather July 12, 2013 / 5:26 pm

    I love Bohjalian’s books but haven’t read any of his newer ones. I still have The Sandcastle Girls on my “recent” TBR pile! LOL. I’d love to get to this one eventually.


  3. Jennifer July 28, 2013 / 12:31 pm

    This sounds like just my cup of tea. As much as I do enjoy a good thriller, I like my books to be a bit more mild. And I love the idea of the Italian perspective during WWII! Thanks for the review!


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