A Divided Inheritance
Written by Deborah Swift
UK Publication Date: October 23, 2013
Pan MacMillan Paperback; 480p
Elspet Leviston’s greatest ambition is to continue the success of her father Nathaniel’s lace business. But her dreams are thrown into turmoil with the arrival of her mysterious cousin Zachary Deane – who has his own designs on Leviston’s Lace.
Zachary is a dedicated swordsman with a secret past that seems to invite trouble. So Nathaniel sends him on a Grand Tour, away from the distractions of Jacobean London. Elspet believes herself to be free of her hot-headed relative but when Nathaniel dies her fortunes change dramatically. She is forced to leave her beloved home and go in search of Zachary – determined to claim back from him the inheritance that is rightfully hers.
Under the searing Spanish sun, Elspet and Zachary become locked in a battle of wills. But these are dangerous times and they are soon embroiled in the roar and sweep of something far more threatening, sending them both on an unexpected journey of discovery which finally unlocks the true meaning of family . . .
A Divided Inheritance is a breathtaking adventure set in London just after the Gunpowder Plot and in the bustling courtyards of Golden Age Seville.
I love historical fiction and A Divided Inheritance is one of the reasons why. It is so rich in detail, drama and vivid imagery. I felt like I was traveling through Europe. Deborah Swift ably explores family, loyalty and duty in 17th century England; at a time, where Catholicism was forbidden in one country and violently enforced in another.
Elspet is our heroine in this novel. She is strong; but innocence. She has been given a difficult situation and very valiantly finds her path. She has to continually deal with a man’s shortcoming; whether it be her father, Hugh, or Zachary. However, she is strong and prevails.
Zachary is on a journey of self-discovery. His life prior to meeting Elspet and her father is very sad and full of abuse and violence. When he finds kindness but how does he deal with it? Poorly. Watching Elspet and Zachary trying to salvage their life is very interesting and compelling.
Religious intolerance is another aspect to this book. The fear and anxiety prevails throughout. The Inquisition is completely incomprehensible. I will never understand it. As well, as the intolerance in England. Elspet’s friar’s cellar instilled so much imagery in my mind. I couldn’t imagine having to practice my faith is secret. Same with the Moriscos in Spain. So much fear is just so sad.
A Divided Inheritance is a wonderful book full a rich historical detail. It is journey that definitely needs to be followed.
About the Author
Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park. She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Wednesday, October 23 Review at Unabridged Chick
Thursday, October 24 Interview & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Friday, October 25 Review at Luxury Reading
Wednesday, October 30 Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, October 31 Review at The Most Happy Reader
Friday, November 1 Interview at Layered Pages
Monday, November 4 Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Tuesday, November 5 Guest Post at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Wednesday, November 6 Review at Flashlight Commentary
Thursday, November 7 Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Friday, November 8 Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, November 11 Review & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court
Tuesday, November 12 Review at Reading the Past
Thursday, November 14 Review & Giveaway at The Eclectic Reader
Friday, November 15 Review at Book of Secrets
Monday, November 18 Review at HF Book Muse-News
Wednesday, November 20 Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Monday, November 25 Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
Tuesday, November 26 Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Written by Trini Amador
Published on July 23, 2013 by Greenleaf Book Group Press
Received from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review
The gripping story of Gracianna–a French-Basque girl forced to make impossible decisions after being recruited into the French Resistance in Nazi-occupied Paris.
Gracianna is inspired by true events in the life of Trini Amador’s great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. As an adult, Amador was haunted by the vivid memory of finding a loaded German Luger tucked away in a nightstand while wandering his great-grandmother’s home in Southern California. He was only four years old at the time, but the memory remained and he knew he had to explore the story behind the gun.
Decades later, Amador would delve into the remarkable odyssey of his Gracianna’s past, a road that led him to an incredible surprise. In Gracianna, Amador weaves fact and fiction to tell his great-grandmother’s story.
Gracianna bravely sets off to Paris in the early 1940s–on her way to America, she hopes–but is soon swept into the escalation of the war and the Nazi occupation of Paris. After chilling life-and-death struggles, she discovers that her missing sister has surfaced as a laborer in Auschwitz. When she finds an opportunity to fight back against the Nazis to try to free her sister, she takes it–even if it means using lethal force.
As Amador tells the imagined story of how his great-grandmother risked it all, he delivers richly drawn characters and a heart-wrenching page-turner that readers won’t soon forget.
Gracianna is a powerful story of a young woman trying to survive during the occupation of Paris. What makes it even more powerful is that is it the story about the author’s great grandmother. I loved his depiction of her. She is so strong; but at the same time, so vulnerable.
This book, also, introduced to the Basque culture. They are a very strong and resilient people. Their strength helped them survive the horrors of the war; especially for Constance. She survived where so many people would not.
Gracianna’s character brought my hear. She has so much determination to save her sister; however, it cost her a great deal. She is forever scarred by her own actions. She had to make so many horrific decisions. Those decisions proves how awful war is. It completely changes you and not for the better.
Juan’s love and loyalty to Gracianna is incredibly powerful. He is her rock that keeps her grounded and sane. It is truly amazing how they are able to survive the war; physically and mentally.
Gracianna is an incredible story and makes you appreciate all the people who fought and survived the war in Europe. I highly recommend reading it.
By Trini Amador
The Nazis arrived with efficiency at 8 p.m. sharp. Black ink had arrived in the dining room; their dark boots wrote evil words on the tiled floor as they cracked. Gracianna wondered how she would scrub the evil imprints of their footsteps off the floor.
Eyes flitted from host to host—Dom’ to the bartenders, to the cooks peeking from behind a grate in the wall, and to Gracianna, who was looking at the floor. Everyone was nervous.
Through the night, the “guests” were mockingly unaware of any discomfort. To the contrary, they overextended their stay, drank nearly all the beer in the house, and then moved to wine. Finally, to the aperitifs.
On cue, they all stood up and exited as one man motioned to pay the bill.
As Gracianna took his money, they both knew he was the same man who had given her the once-over only the day before.
His eyes lingered on her face again.
She did not like the superior sentiment that exuded from him, and she looked away quickly.
Standing up, he slid a crooked smile across his face and then walked out, bumping into the doorframe on the way.
The staff smirked at that and did not dare to look at one another as he walked in front of the window, peering in to ensure no one had laughed at him behind his back. He stopped at the last windowpane, backed up, and cupped his hands on the glass and looked in, lingering on Gracianna for a long moment before disappearing into the night.
Gracianna gave Dom’ the money. It was twice as much as anyone had hoped for.
“We are all getting a bonus!” Dom’ whispered.
The work of war for the evening had been done as the soldiers’ drink dried up. Not for lack of it—they just stopped ordering at some point and continued to speak in a haze. As orderly as possible, considering their condition, the soldiers filed out from lowest rank to highest.
Not long after, Gracianna shooed the rest of the restaurant staff out. It had been a long day and now everyone could let down from relief. She closed the door, to the last “bonsoir” from Marceau, the bartender, and she turned volume of the Billie Holiday music higher. They had tried to keep the volume dinnerly during the meal but as it got later, the music was turned quieter to encourage a winding down. After she was alone, she raised the volume probably louder than she should have. Then, she went to fetch some cleaning supplies from the office, bringing up a tray of clean glasses on the way. She thought it best to save a trip this way, looking for every opportunity to be efficient.
At the top of the stairs balancing her tray with some sense of pride, she placed a step stool, found the right shelf, and started to put the glasses away.
As Gracianna reached up, a striking match startled her and she jumped visibly, knocking the tray against the wall—the glasses crashed to the floor as she caught her fall from the step stool.
It was the cold-eyed officer. Somehow, he’d slipped up the stairs after everyone was marching out. Standing against the office doorway, Gracianna noted that he had appeared in her hallway as coolly as he had disappeared.
He leaned because he had to.
Shards and chunks of heavy glass had flown everywhere. His eyes were glazed. His crooked grin was ghastly. His uniform uncharacteristically askew. His jacket buttons were down with the long lapel hanging like a rag.
In that moment, Gracianna came to understand the significance of a man’s weakness for a woman.
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Monday, October 21 Review & Giveaway at vvb32 Reads
Wednesday, October 23 Guest Post at Closed the Cover
Friday, October 25 Review at Pages of Comfort
Monday, October 28 Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Tuesday, October 29 Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, November 1 Review & Giveaway at From L.A. to LA
Monday, November 4 Review & Interview at Lit Nerd
Tuesday, November 5 Excerpt & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Wednesday, November 6 Review at Turning the Pages
Thursday, November 7 Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Monday, November 11 Interview at Doing Dewey
Wednesday, November 13 Review & Interview at Jorie Loves a Story
Friday, November 15 Review at Dee’s Reads
Monday, November 18 Review at Book-alicious Mama
Tuesday, November 19 Review at History Undressed
Thursday, November 21 Review at Must Read Faster
Friday, November 22 Review at Silver’s Reviews
Becoming Georgiana Darcy
By Linda Beulter
Because I hail from a small family, with only one elder sister, stories like Pride & Prejudice and Little Women have always fascinated me. Perhaps Georgian Darcy, with only an elder brother who is more a father than a brother might feel the same. It was my good fortune to marry into a large family. We can easily imagine Georgiana hoping her brother would marry in such a way as to provide her with sisters-in-law and a larger extended family.
As I approached the character of Georgiana Darcy, I tried to look at the type of sister she might have been to Fitzwilliam Darcy prior to her heartbreak at the hands of George Wickham. Georgiana and Darcy’s cousin Colonel Fitzwilliam says to Elizabeth Bennet “….Darcy is lively enough in other places.” when Elizabeth meets him in Kent (this is a quote from the 1995 BBC screenplay). What would a lively Darcy have been like, pre-Wickham, and what sort of sister would Georgiana have been to him? I felt that knowing her better would help us know Darcy better, too.
I like to think Georgiana shared her brother’s assurance and wit. Although a Regency teenager, she might have been in the habit of teasing Darcy, perhaps challenging his authority a bit, and bristling at having to always be the demure Miss Darcy. My Darcy is in the habit of calling her a gosling. She is still awkward at times, with the odd bit of downy feathers at the wrong place, as a gawky teenager might look in any era.
Darcy has been sometimes in need of attempting to control his sister with what is called in the book “his grumpy-brother look”. Imagine the look of a knowing but exasperated father, one misstep from delivering a serious scolding, and you will have some idea of the expression I suggest.
But post-Wickham, Darcy’s fears for his sister are foremost. Combine his protective feelings with Georgiana’s assumption she has disappointed him, and we see their relationship suffering a setback. We know Darcy hopes the lively friendship of Elizabeth might restore Georgiana’s confidence. Darcy has already written Georgiana about Elizabeth, making her an object of interest in Georgiana’s mind. He has been her only family, so the observant Georgiana has a keen insight to her brother’s mind. She is one of the first to understand his feelings for Elizabeth.
After the near disaster with Wickham, any youthful invincibility has fled Georgiana. With only her music for solace, Georgiana has become timid. Although still an innocent, Georgiana’s trust has been breeched. She has attracted the attention of a grown man and it ended in betrayal. We can imagine her withdrawal into modest, girlish fashions. She does not put herself forward in company, and is embarrassed to be the object of attention by the likes of Caroline Bingley. In The Red Chrysanthemum Georgiana complains to her brother, “…it is so difficult with Bingley’s sisters jumping on my every syllable as if I were as wise as Aristotle.”
Because in my story we begin after Georgiana has met Elizabeth, and Elizabeth does not leave Lambton as early as in Pride and Prejudice, there is time for Georgiana to watch Elizabeth with Darcy. Georgiana begins to build her longed-for relationship with Elizabeth, and in fact leads her on a tour of Pemberley more thorough than that provided by Mrs. Reynolds to tourists.
As Georgiana becomes witness to the unfolding but wary affection between her brother and Elizabeth, she regains emotional strength. After her brother does her the honor of confiding in her, she becomes a source of support to him, instead of it always being vice-versa. We see, in just the time Elizabeth stays in Lambton, a renewal of Georgiana and Darcy’s sibling bonds. When the story reverts back to the P & P plot, rather than having any detail kept from her, it is Georgiana who remembers particulars of Wickham’s acquaintance, helping Darcy track him. Georgiana requests permission to correspond with Elizabeth, deepening a sisterly connection Georgiana is loathe to lose.
But most importantly for a novel involving the language of flowers, Georgiana is the catalyst who assists Darcy in composing a nosegay, and it is her herbal they use in developing his message. Not knowing if Elizabeth would travel with a book of flower meanings with which to translate, it is Georgiana’s copy that is left with the flowers for the fair recipient to find and decipher. As Georgiana’s Darcy-DNA driven self-confidence reasserts itself, so does her teen-aged curiosity and outright sneakiness.
By the end of The Red Chrysanthemum, Georgiana is able to tease her brother again, and laugh aloud in public. The grumpy-brother look has lost whatever power it ever had.
I sincerely hope you will enjoy Georgiana’s journey from gosling to full grown silly goose.
About the author
Linda Beutler is an Oregon native who began writing professionally in 1996 (meaning that is when they started paying her…), in the field of garden writing. First published in magazines, Linda graduated to book authorship in 2004 with the publication of Gardening With Clematis (2004, Timber Press). In 2007 Timber Press presented her second title, Garden to Vase, a partnership with garden photographer Allan Mandell. Now in 2013 Linda is working with Meryton Press.
Linda lives the gardening life: she is a part-time instructor in the horticulture department at Clackamas Community College; writes and lectures about gardening topics throughout the USA; and is traveling the world through her active participation in the International Clematis Society, of which she is the current president. Then there’s that dream job–which she is sure everyone else must covet but which she alone has– curator of the Rogerson Clematis Collection, which is located at Luscher Farm, a farm/park maintained by the city of Lake Oswego. They say to keep resumes brief, but Linda considers Garden With Clematis her 72,000 word resume. She signed on as curator to North America’s most comprehensive and publicly accessible collection of the genus clematis in July 2007, and they will no doubt not get shut of her until she can be carried out in a pine box.
And now for something completely different: in September 2011, Linda checked out a book of Jane Austen fan fiction from her local library, and was, to put it in the modern British vernacular, gob smacked. After devouring every title she could get her hands on, she quite arrogantly decided that, in some cases, she could do better, and began writing her own expansions and variations of Pride and Prejudice. The will to publish became too tempting, and after viewing the welcoming Meryton Press website, she sent her child before the firing squad. Luckily, the discerning editors at Meryton Press saved the child from slaughter, and Linda’s first work of Jane Austen-esque fiction, The Red Chrysanthemum, is ready for publication.
Linda shares a small garden in Southeast Portland with her husband, and pets that function as surrogate children. Her personal collection of clematis numbers something around 230 taxa. These are also surrogate children, and just as badly behaved.
The Loyalist’s Wife
Written by Elaine Cougler
Published on June 20, 2013 by CreateSpace
Received from HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.
When American colonists resort to war against Britain and her colonial attitudes, a young couple in the crossfire must find a way to survive. Pioneers in the wilds of New York State, John and Lucy face a bitter separation and the fear of losing everything, even their lives, when he joins Butler’s Rangers to fight for the King and leaves her to care for their isolated farm. As the war in the Americas ramps up, ruffians roam the colonies looking to snap up Loyalist land. Alone, pregnant and fearing John is dead, Lucy must fight with every weapon she has.
The Loyalist’s is a heartbreaking story about loyalty and the ravages of war. Ms. Cougler has written a compelling novel about the sweeping effects of war and human savagery. I had yet read anything from the Loyalist perspective and I found it captivating. So many people lost their property, homes and lives in the name of the King. The Colonists are not portrayed in a very positive light at all.
At the heart of this book is the survival of John and Lucy. They go through so much; each had to face their own nightmares and survive. Their struggle and strength show how different life was during the Revolutionary War. The War is definitely not romanticized in this novel. It is a realistic depiction of the devastation of war.
One of my favorite aspects of this book is Ms. Cougler’s portrayal of Native Americans. They are not all savages; but can be kind and loyal. So much more than the “white” ruffians who murder and steal. They were some very despicable characters in this book.
John and Lucy have to endure so much in order to save their life together. Their love and loyalty is a saving grace after all of the brutality and violence of war. Both changed, considerably, as the war continued. Both get stronger and are harden by their experiences. I loved Lucy’s strength. She is truly amazing character.
The Loyalist’s Wife is an amazing piece of historical fiction. It is not a romanticized portrayal of the Revolutionary War; but a realistic depiction that you will not forget.
About the Author
A native of Southern Ontario, Elaine taught high school and with her husband raised two children until she finally had time to pursue her writing career. She loves to research both family history and history in general for the stories of real people that emanate from the dusty pages. These days writing is Elaine’s pleasure and her obsession. Telling the stories of Loyalists caught in the American Revolutionary War is very natural as her personal roots are thoroughly enmeshed in that struggle, out of which arose both Canada and the United States.
Virtual Book Tour Schedule
Monday, October 7 Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Tuesday, October 8 Review at West Metro Mommy
Wednesday, October 9 Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Friday, October 11 Review & Giveaway at Kinx’s Book Nook
Monday, October 14 Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Monday, October 21 Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Written by Elaine D. Walsh
Published on June 21, 2012 by Barks Out Loud
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review
In 1953, the world was ripe for destruction. The Korean War dragged on and the Rosenbergs were executed as spies. Senator Joseph McCarthy convinced the country communists were infiltrating the government, and the threat of nuclear war festered in the collective consciousness of the nation.
While American’s constructed backyard bomb shelters, the government conducted nuclear tests in the desert, three teenage girls planned their futures. Their innocent conversations about what each of them would do if the end of the world were imminent, coupled with a friend’s obsession, become the catalyst for a prank that spins wildly beyond control and draws in an entire town. Left behind in the wake of that summer’s events are their unrealized dreams and open wounds. In 1973, a reunion trip to the small town of their youth returns them to the summer of 1953 and the passion and betrayal that changed their lives.
Atomic Summer is a beautifully tragic coming-of-age story written by Elaine Walsh. Her words draw the reader into the world of 1953 where life should be simple and fun. In actuality, it is far from it. Ms. Walsh introduces us to Faith, Octavia and Bernadette, three teenagers trying to find their hopes and dreams in Port Pompeii, New York. The entire book is from the perspectives of Faith and Octavia; who have very different beliefs but remain loyal friends.
I found so much tragedy in the book; however, I, also, found hope, healing and forgiveness. Ms. Walsh’s characters were so easy to like and empathize. Well, except for Bernadette who has to be one of the most self-centered characters I have ever seen. I tried to feel sorry for her but I just couldn’t. All of my sympathy and hope went to Faith and Octavia who were such tragic and beautiful heroines. Both faced difficult life-changing decisions and experienced loss that may be too hard to survive.
The young men in this novel, also, face tragedy and life-altering choices. Stephen just breaks your heart. His character shows how awful war really is and how hard it is to face reality again. I thought Ms. Walsh did a wonderful job convening his pain. Allen is someone who I feel free less sympathy for. His secret pain was a very taboo subject for the 1950s. However, I felt he was a coward while his best friend, Wesley, was able to rise and accept his own identity.
Atomic Summer is, also, a good reflection of the paranoia of the 1950s. Communism, atomic bombs and bomb shelters showed how people thought and reacted. Every reaction tended to be an overreaction. Faith is a prime example of that overreaction. She was so sensitive and easily influenced during that summer. She learned some very hard lessons. The 1950s, to me, represented, on the surface, innocence and simplicity. However, as you begin to dig deeper into Port Pompeii you will see darkness and complexity; not just innocence, youth and belief.
The ending, in my opinion, brought hope and healing to the characters who needed it and wanted it. They were finally ready to face their life and not wallow in the past. Overall, Atomic Summer is a wonderful book that I highly recommend.
Written by Sarah Kennedy
Published on March 6, 2013 by Knox Robinson Publishing
Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.
It is 1535, and in the tumultuous years of King Henry VIII’s break from Rome, the religious houses of England are being seized by force. Twenty-year-old Catherine Havens is a foundling and the adopted daughter of the prioress of the Priory of Mount Grace in a small Yorkshire village. Catherine, like her adoptive mother, has a gift for healing, and she is widely sought and admired for her knowledge. Catherine’s hopes for a place at court have been dashed by the king’s divorce, and she has reluctantly taken the veil. When the priory’s costly altarpiece goes missing, Catherine and her friend Ann Smith find themselves under increased suspicion. King Henry VIII’s soldiers have not had their fill of destruction, and when they return to Mount Grace to destroy the priory, Catherine must choose between the sacred calling of her past and the man who may represent her country’s future.
The Altarpiece is a powerful depiction of a horrible time in England’s history. So many men and women were killed or displaced so Henry VIII could produce an heir. His selfishness touched so many people. This story tells the tale of Catherine has to make some very difficult choices in order to live in this new land. Ms. Kennedy captured in a wonderful way on how brutal the soldiers were to the religious houses in England. The soldiers had no respect for any member of the cloth. It was such a sad time and Ms. Kennedy’s words really depicted that sadness.
Catherine is a very unique character. She is well-read and highly skilled in medicine of her time. While she lived in her convent, she was safe and protected. Without that protection, she may be considered a witch by people she had helped. I admired Catherine courage and her sense of right and wrong. Her loyalty, however, almost cost her in the end. She truly faces life altering revelations and choices. She is a character that you want to survive and succeed on her own terms.
At the heart of this book is the missing altarpiece and the attempts to find it. It is quite the mystery, but I figured it out pretty quick. There is intrigue and murder throughout. You have villains and heroes. But which is which? I really enjoyed the mystery of the altarpiece.
Ms. Kennedy, also, captured the plight of women during the 16th century. They had so few choices and with Henry VIII taking away the sanctuary of the Church, so many women were left destitute and homeless. It is so sad watching once proud and devout women having to repent against their beliefs and leave their homes. I just can’t image a world where there are so few choices.
Overall, The Altarpiece a very good piece of historical fiction. It depicts that time with great honesty and brutality.
The Rules of Civility
Written by Amor Towles
Published on June 26, 2012 by Penguin Books
Purchased from Amazon.com
This sophisticated and entertaining first novel presents the story of a young woman whose life is on the brink of transformation. On the last night of 1937, twenty-five-year-old Katey Kontent is in a second-rate Greenwich Village jazz bar when Tinker Grey, a handsome banker, happens to sit down at the neighboring table. This chance encounter and its starting consequences propel Katey on a year-long journey into the upper echelons of New York society – where she will have little to rely upon other than a bracing wit and her own brand of cool nerve. With its sparkling depiction of New York’s social strata, its intricate imagery and themes, and its immensely appealing characters, Rules of Civility won the hearts of readers and critics alike.
The Rules of Civility is an amazing book. It is hard to believe that this is Mr. Towles first book. I picked it for my book club and EVERYONE loved it which is incredibly rare. Katey is such a great character; so full of independence and courage. You feel that she can do and conquer anything. In my opinion, she is a perfect protagonist.
To me, all of the other characters revolved around her. No matter, their social circumstances, it seemed that everyone loved/craved Katey’s genuineness. Her ability to fit in with so many different groups of people made her so interesting. I really appreciated her ability to be comfortable with herself. I loved her bridge games and that she surrounded herself with books.
The men in Katey’s life are very interesting. Tinker was not my favorite. I enjoyed Wallace and his journey to find himself outside of his family. I loved that he was able to be totally comfortable with Katey. He could truly be himself. It seems that Katey brings that out in people.
I, also, found the slow revelation of Katey’s background to be very interesting. Mr. Towles would just give us small little glimpses throughout the book. If you didn’t read carefully, you might have missed some relevant nugget from Katey’s past. She wasn’t very forthcoming on her background; I guess, like other New Yorkers, she wanted to create a new Katya.
Finally, I love New York and Mr. Towles made it its own character. There is such glamour but also poverty. There is the WASP society but also an incredible melting pot of ethnicity. All of it gives New York so many layers of flavor and texture. I loved the jazz clubs, hunting clubs and dinner clubs. The best thing of all was that Katey was comfortable with it all.
The Rules of Civility is a wonderful book. I highly recommend reading it. I truly can’t wait for Mr. Towles’ next book.
The Light in the Ruins
Written by Chris Bohjalian
Published on July 9, 2013 by Doubleday
Received from the published via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
From the New York Times bestselling author of Midwives and The Sandcastle Girls comes a spellbinding novel of love, despair, and revenge—set in war-ravaged Tuscany.
1943: Tucked away in the idyllic hills south of Florence, the Rosatis, an Italian family of noble lineage, believe that the walls of their ancient villa will keep them safe from the war raging across Europe. Eighteen-year-old Cristina spends her days swimming in the pool, playing with her young niece and nephew, and wandering aimlessly amid the estate’s gardens and olive groves. But when two soldiers, a German and an Italian, arrive at the villa asking to see an ancient Etruscan burial site, the Rosatis’ bucolic tranquility is shattered. A young German lieutenant begins to court Cristina, the Nazis descend upon the estate demanding hospitality, and what was once their sanctuary becomes their prison.
1955: Serafina Bettini, an investigator with the Florence police department, has her own demons. A beautiful woman, Serafina carefully hides her scars along with her haunting memories of the war. But when she is assigned to a gruesome new case—a serial killer targeting the Rosatis, murdering the remnants of the family one-by-one in cold blood—Serafina finds herself digging into a past that involves both the victims and her own tragic history.
Set against an exquisitely rendered Italian countryside, The Light in the Ruins unveils a breathtaking story of moral paradox, human frailty, and the mysterious ways of the heart.
The Light in the Ruins has everything a book needs – romance, murder, tragedy, revenge and forgiveness. The story takes place during and after Word War II. War is truly horrific and difficult choices have to be made. Mr. Bohjalian writes beautifully about these choices and having to live with them.
The story of the Rosatis family is so tragic. They had to face so much loss plus being judged by their fellow Italians. Their choices represented how awful that war truly was and how difficult it was just to protect your family and survive. The Marchese had so many regrets with his choices. In the end, he couldn’t protect his family. It’s just so very sad. Mr. Bohjalian brings out so many emotions – empathy, sadness, and loss.
The serial killer added the judgment to the story. The killer took it upon himself/herself to be judge, jury and executioner. He/she wanted to make the Rosatis pay for their choices with no attempt to understand anything from the Rosatis point of view. War brings out the worst in people; especially revenge. In the end, that revenge accomplished nothing.
Serafina brings the forgiveness to the story. Her story is just as tragic as the Rosatis. The war scarred her for life, mentally and physically. She has no idea who she is. However, while investigating the brutal murders of the Rosatis, Serafina is able to find a forgiveness for the choices made by the Rosatis and her fellow partisans.
The Light in the Ruins is a wonderfully written book about choices, whether good or bad, and trying to understand and live with those choices. It is a excellent book.