When I’m highly anticipating the release of a novel, I put a hold on the book at the public library before it’s even on the shelf. Unfortunately, when I’m highly anticipating a book, a lot of other people are as well.
As was the case for “The Light in the Ruins” by Chris Bohjalian. I was behind more than 40 other WWII-era, historical fiction-loving readers. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I walked into a library on the military base I work at and it was on the “New Arrivals” shelf! I snatched it right up and enjoyed every page of the whodunnit mystery with a side of romance set in Italy.
The story bounces back and forth between 1943, as war rages across Europe, and 1955, as Serefina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department tries to catch a serial killer. In between each time period, the unknown serial killer tells his/her story in the first person, to give the reader a chilling glimpse into their mind and motives.
“The Light in the Ruins” is rich with art history, war-time forbidden romance, family ties and tragedy. You will want to speed read to solve the mystery, but savor the details and the scenery in between.