Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Title: Beautiful Ruins
Author: Jess Walter
Format: ARC
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: June 12, 2012
Source: TLC Book Tour

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You like a bit of a mystery.
  • You like great settings.
  • You like interwoven characters.
What's the Story?:

From "
The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.

And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio's back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier."

My Two Cents:

This book had me gripped from the cover (it's gorgeous, no?). What I found inside the pages was a story that pulled me in. This is the kind of book that you read when you know that you have long periods of time to take a lot of the book all at once because you want to figure out what's happening. Since we're in vacation season now, I could see it being a great beach book. It's not all fluff. There's a good story there and there's enough intrigue to get you sucked right in.

This story has it all. There's Hollywood glamor, family intrigue, gorgeous Italian vistas and even a pinch of the wild west. Everything is connected and you will definitely want to get to the end to figure out how everything goes together.

I think that it would be very difficult to write books that jump through so many places in time. Walter does this amazingly though. He gives you just enough information to make you say "okay, I'll just read until the end of the chapter" and then you actually end up reading a couple chapters after just to figure out what's going on. Walter gives you just enough information to keep you going. I blame him for a couple of late reading nights this week actually.

Bottom line: This is a great book when you just want to get totally and utterly lost.

Notable Quote:

"Stories are people. I'm a story, you're a story... your father is a story. Our stories go in every direction, they die out, crash, bump into one another, but sometimes, if we're lucky, our stories join into one, and for awhile, we're less alone." - Alvis



  1. Meg, I think I mentioned this before but I really like your review style. This book sounds like a great summer list addition.

  2. I really liked this book too. It is a great summer read. I loved the parts about the making of the movie Cleopatra, so interesting!

    1. You know, I've never seen that movie. This book made me want to see it though!

  3. Totally agree: this book was addictive! I absolutely loved it. Walter's writing style really drew me in, and I loved the jumps in time and "extras" in the story -- like the fictional screenplay for Donner! So good.

    1. I definitely want to read more by Walter in the future. I love his style!

  4. Jess Walter takes us to the coast of Italy, to Rome, to Hollywood, to Idaho, and to a quick visit to England and Scotland in this very enjoyable book. It starts at Porto Vergogna, a tiny village in a crack in the cliffs of Italy's coast accessible only from the sea. Pasquale Tursi, innkeeper of a very small hotel, suddenly has as a guest a pretty American actress. Dee Moray, who is said to be dying of stomach cancer. She brings a new aspect to his world and new insight to his own problems.

  5. This does sound so good. I love when a book becomes addictive like that. It just sounds so different from The Financial Lives of the Poets which I loved.

    1. I definitely want to read more from Walter in the future. This was the first one of his books that I've read.

  6. Wow, this sounds absolutely amazing! I might have to find a copy to take to the beach with me next weekend ...

    Thanks for being on the tour! I'm featuring your review on TLC's Facebook page today.

    1. You must! It's a great book to get lost in.

      Thank you for featuring me!


Hi! Welcome to A Bookish Affair. If you leave a comment, I will try to either reply here or on your site!

As of 6/6/2011, this book is now an awards free zone. While I appreciate the awards, I would rather stick to reviewing more great books for you than trying to fill the requirements.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...