The Light in the Ruins

By: Chris Bohjalian

Report By: Isabelle Vanderneck

1943: The respectable Rosatis family live in a beautiful Villa in Tuscany, Italy. They enjoy their wealthy lives away from the struggle of WWII. Until, two soldiers come to their door step asking to see ancient Etruscan tombs on their property. The peaceful tranquility is abruptly ended. German soldiers invade their home and demand food and shelter. Christina, the youngest Rosatis, catches the eye of a young Nazi and damages her family's reputation.

1955: Serafina Bettini has no family left. Scar tissue runs from the side of her face down to her lower back. She is an investigator for the Florence Police Department, and her new case brings her back to tragedies of the past. An appalling serial killer, is targeting the Rosatis family, one by one and cutting out their hearts. Serafina must find the killer before the bloodline ceases to exist.


The theme of this story is the ability to get up, and move on. Christina, held on to the fact that her love might still be alive and neglected to live her own life. Serafina, did not let go of her tragic past, and this caused her pain in the future. The killer of this story, held a grudge against the Rosatis family for years and dedicated his whole life to revenge.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Book Well Written

The author did a marvelous job in portraying the atmosphere of WWII. The description of the events taking place, really helped to cast a picture in your mind. Although at times he was too descriptive when it came to the murdering of the Rosatis family. This book was also written in two different time periods, and from various view points. This made the book really interesting, and exciting.

Tone of the Book

The tone was very melancholy, and suspenseful. Since it took place in WWII, death and destruction were a constant factor. It was also suspenseful, because it was a murder mystery. Witnessing the actions of a serial killer really kept you on your toes.
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Ending Satisfactory

The ending was not satisfactory whatsoever. Many issues were left unresolved, and the author rushed into the conclusion. I don't want to spoil it for everyone so I will just say it made me want to chuck my book across the room.

Recommend this Book

I would recommend this book in a heartbeat. Even though it had a horrible ending, it was a great book. If you love historical books or murder mysteries, I'm sure you would love this story.