The Light in the Ruins elucidates, haunts and raises moral quandaries.... Bohjalian’s historical re-telling is riveting.... A memorable read.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Dead solid perfect. Bohjalian has written another winner.
Curt Schleier - Minneapolis Star-Tribune
At the heart of a good novel is a good story, and this story is a doozy. Bohjalian expertly weaves together a tale of how the war split Italy between the people who willingly collaborated with the Germans and the ones who did not.... Not every author could manage to tell a war story, throw in a serial killer and drop in several interesting romances, but Bohjalian manages.
Amanda St. Amand - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Historic fiction at its very finest.... This novel moves with the heat and inexorable flow of lava. Not to be missed.
Edmund August - Louisville Courier-Journal
A must-read...stunning.... Bohjalian specializes in the suspense created when people are cut off, physically and emotionally, from society (as he did in his best-selling Midwives). Here he goes back in time to create that suspense, with a compelling female detective running from demons of her own as his heroine.
Mary Duan - Tucson Weekly
A mystery that reminds us of the harrowing choices World War II forced on so many. Beautifully structured, written with restrained intensity and suspenseful to the end, this is both a satisfying mystery and a gut-wrenching account of moral dilemma in a time of moral struggle.
With each book, Bohjalian flexes his literary muscles, crafting a ghost story, historical fiction, and now police procedural.... [Bohjalian] is skilled at evoking the sepia-tinged past.
The Rosatis’ Etruscan burial site, effectively ravaged and exploited by the Germans for its potentially priceless artifacts, becomes the metaphor for the excruciating violations unfolding across the entire continent. Similarly, Bohjalian raises questions about the nature of injustice and the, often, arbitrary codes we deploy in order to keep a firm grasp on right and wrong, good and evil, or hero and villain. 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.
Sheila Moeschen - New York Journal of Books
A taut, suspenseful page-turner.... Bohjalian effortlessly turns a work of historical fiction into a breathless whodunit.
Wendy Plotkin - Armenian Weekly
One of the fifteen best books of summer.... A picturesque page turner.
The Light in the Ruins is a riveting re-creation of a time and place long gone, but not forgotten.
Valerie Ryan - Shelf Awareness
An exploration of post-WWII Italy doubles as a murder mystery in this well-crafted novel from Bohjalian. In 1952 Florence, Francesca Rosati, a dress-shop worker, is brutally murdered by a killer who carves out her heart, and Detective Serafina Bettini is assigned to solve the homicide.... [S]he learns that the family’s wartime record was more complicated than it appears.... Bohjalian tips his hand too early as to the killer’s identity, but otherwise delivers an entertaining historical whodunit.
(Starred review.) In 1955 Florence, Italy, a serial killer is carefully, gruesomely killing off members of the Rosati family.... [T]he murderer has something important to say about this family of noble blood.... Weaving pieces back and forth through the two time periods, ...[Bohjalian] illuminates the ruination of family, trust, and community in crisis in time of war. Verdict: Thoroughly gripping, beautiful, and astonishingly vengeful, this novel is a heartbreaker... [and] immensely rewarding. —Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA
Mastering matters subtle and grotesque, Bohjalian combines intricate plotting and bewitching sensuality with historical insight and a profound sense of place to create an exceptional work of suspense rooted in the tragic aberrations of war. —Donna Seaman
In Bohjalian's literary thriller, the ruin of the aristocratic Rosati family is triggered by Nazi interest in an Etruscan tomb on their estate, Villa Chimera. The action ricochets between the war years...and 1955, when Francesca [Rosati]...is found brutally murdered in a seedy pensione.... Called in to investigate, Florentine detective Serafina Bettini....struggles with her own postwar nightmares.... A soulful why-done-it.
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