Monday, August 12, 2013

Book Club: Beautiful Ruins

photo above contains small excerpt from 'Someday, Someday Maybe' by Lauren Graham. Check out my post on that one here.

A few weeks ago, I was going through the vast space that is the internet and rediscovered Lauren Conrad’s Summer Reading post. I scrolled through all of the book options, adding each one to my Amazon wishlist. One that I was able to get on my Kindle through the library was Jess Walter's “Beautiful Ruins.” Boy did I love this book!

Image: here

Overall, it is a love story that takes place on an Italian coastal port. The characters are a mix of fictional and real (actor Richard Burton has a substantial role and Liz Taylor is mentioned over and over.) The story is set in the 1960s during the time that the film Cleopatra--starring both Burton and Taylor--is in production in Rome. Another actress from the film, Dee Moray, is sent away to a village on the coast while she is recovering from an illness (this is a huge conflict itself in the book, but I won’t ruin it for you!) There she spends a few days in the Hotel Adequate View owned by a young man named Pasquale who cannot help but fall for her beauty. Her stay, however, doesn’t last very long due to some very Hollywood scandals.

In this novel, the time period and setting are constantly changing from chapter to chapter--most take place in Italy in 1962 and present day Los Angeles where Pasquale has traveled all these years later to find Dee Moray. This changing is not a bad thing, I found. I think it allowed the author to really cover all her bases with character backstories and allow the audience to really learn about what all these characters have had to go through over time and what makes them the way they are. I thought that despite all the time travel, the book still maintained fluidity and made perfect sense to me. I would definitely recommend “Beautiful Ruins” by Jess Walter.

<3 Ashley

Will you read “Beautiful Ruins?” What books are on your reading list?

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