Beautiful Ruins was one of those books that drops off the shelf and into your hands as you peruse a bookstore. Read ME! it yelled. That’s what I love about a brick and mortar bookstore. The perfect book, at the right moment, always finds YOU.
I’d been daydreaming of a place like the scene on its cover, so I thought I’d see what it was about.
Depending on what chapter you’re reading, it takes place in a tiny fishing village on the edge of a cliff in Italy in the 1960s. Or Hollywood, California, in present time. It’s the story of a young man attempting to make his parents’ hotel into something grand, something everyone says he can’t do—a place where famous American actors and actresses come for vacations. When a young American actress arrives by mistake, everything he dreamed of is not quite what he imagined.
It’s a lovely read, and the two main characters are likable. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
And because it was one of those dropped-from-the-shelf books, I didn’t know the history of the book or the author. This beautiful story and its characters travel from Italy to Los Angeles to Scotland, then Seattle, then Idaho! And just three hours from our little town of Moscow. I finally flipped to the front jacket and read a wee bit about the author, Jess Walter, who just so happens to be from Spokane, Washington, a mere two hours from us. How fun! I wouldn’t have guessed it, had all these lovely characters not ended up in a theatre in Sandpoint, Idaho.