Not Even 1960’s Hollywood Could Save “Beautiful Ruins”

Every couple of weeks I read a book that reminds me why I use the library.  To be blunt, “Beautiful Ruins” was a book I was glad I didn’t buy because I was disappointed with, well, everything.  I thought a novel combining the true love of Dee and Pasquale, the Italian coast, and Hollywood in the 1960’s would be exactly what I would like.  In that respect, I might have over inflated how great the story would be before I opened the cover.  The broken Italian of Pasquale was annoying after a few pages, and the characters, other than Pasquale, were just ok.  Despite a few clever insights, the characters were not that interesting and did very little to move the plot along.  I was most looking forward to the Hollywood aspect of the book, but was disappointed with what was presented.  The author used the legendary romance of Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in the 1960’s as a platform for Dee’s troubles, which I thought was the most clever thing about the novel.  But anyone who knows anything about the famed and tumultuous romance of Taylor and Burton, could glean how Dee’s story would end.  The present day Hollywood scene was depressing since Claire hated her job.  Overall, the book was just ok, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.  Don’t be taken in by the cover art and lure of old Hollywood like me!


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