book review: beautiful ruins

📖 12 | 30

⏲ Read time: 3-5 minutes

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter follows the intertwining story of Pasquale, an innkeeper of a hotel in a tiny Italian fishing village and Dee Moray, an American actress who stays at his property. Pasquale learns that Dee didn’t just happen to stumble upon this village for a vacation away from filming Cleopatra, but rather, because she’s here to live out her last days because she’s been diagnosed with stomach cancer.

Or, so she thinks. In actuality, she was sent off the grid because she was pregnant with Richard Burton’s child. (Yes, the Richard Burton!) In a ploy to sell one of the most dynamic couples of Hollywood, film producer Michael Deane banished her off the set, having her falsely diagnosed with cancer to avoid a fallout with the media.

Flash forward to current day, where an elder Pasquale comes to America to find Deane. Stumbling in on a Pitch Friday, he is mistaken as pitching a movie by Deane’s assistant, Claire. Shane Wheeler, the man who was originally scheduled to pitch his film idea quickly gets wrapped up into the group as they set out to find the illusive Dee Moray, 50 years later.

Sometimes, it’s better to go with your gut on some things.

I had read about 70 or so pages of this story back in 2017, but for whatever reason, I stopped and I couldn’t recall why. I should have listened to that voice because once I finished this story, I really couldn’t say I was wowed or impressed. It didn’t leave a lasting impression and I felt as if I was only reading it for the sake of crossing another book off my To-Read list and adding another book to my Reading Challenge.

The chapters felt very-long winded and following the stories of Claire and Shane didn’t seem to have a tremendous bearing on the outcome of the story. If it was a story about Pasquale and Dee, there should have been more emphasis on them and those 50 years apart from one another.

Maybe because love stories aren’t my usual cup of tea, I just couldn’t find the fascination and high praise this book received in reviews. Unlike some love stories, this one didn’t leave me angry or irritated, but it also seemed like an utter waste of my time.

Rating: 2 out of 5

About sarah

25. writer. obsessed with makeup, french bulldogs, nyr and sparkle.
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