This was the last book of the book club I started in my local area. Aaaaand I read it over a month ago, so my memory is fuzzy, so this review isn’t going to be one for the record books. The book was recommended to me by a few folks, plus it was set it Italy, where I had just returned from a trip, so it seemed like a no brainer to tackle it next. All in all, I found it serviceable, but I just didn’t love it.
Beautiful Ruins is a non-linear story about love, loss, secrecy, and social pressures. The story begins in a small coastal village in Italy in the 1960s. An American actress arrives, and everything changes. The story flashes forward to present day, where the assistant to a Hollywood bigshot producer is deciding whether to give up her dream of making good movies, and she is spending what could be her last day at the office listening to pitches. The last pitch of the day, a young guy hoping to break in to the biz with a tail about the Donner party, is halted by an old Italian gentleman, who has a connection to the past, and to her boss.
With the details a little fuzzy after about a month has gone by, I am finding my memories of the book to be pleasant, I just wasn’t blown away by it. I feel like Walter tried to do too many things, tie up to many pieces, had too many characters, so I couldn’t really sink my teeth into it. There were some neat surprises along the way, and others in my club did enjoy it. I wouldn’t tell anyone to stay away, but I also won’t be singing its praises.