Beautiful Ruins

Thursday, April 7, 2016
Jess Walters
Beautiful Ruins

This well-written novel is a behind-the-scenes story of the Hollywood movie industry that begins in 1962 and then jumps forward to the present day and back several times. It begins on the Italian coast with Pasquale, an innkeeper who longs to improve his hotel to attract more guests. An American actress, Dee Moray, arrives and things are forever changed for Pasquale. Dee has been in Rome filming the movie Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who is colorfully depicted as a charismatic boozer. The story jumps forward to the present day with a would-be screenwriter, Shane Wheeler,  pitching a movie to the producer Michael Deane. This same Michael Deane had worked on Cleopatra fifty years ago, and was a large part of the storyline with Richard Burton. Subsequently, Pasquale shows up in the present day looking for Dee, after not having seen her for 50 years. There are several interlocking stories that the author skillfully weaves together. Including the real-life actors of Taylor and Burton in this fictional tale makes it all the more interesting.

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Pat P., Technical Services

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