Walter, Jess. Beautiful Ruins
This novel reads like a movie—in all of the best ways. Spanning decades and continents (primarily Italy in the ’60s and present-day Hollywood), Beautiful Ruins is a wonderful old-fashioned love story with a contemporary satirical edge. There are numerous characters in this book, all intertwined through relationships and time; to name a few: there is the American starlet who comes to a remote Italian village to die, the movie producer who made his comeback with a reality TV show, Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, an army veteran turned fledgling alcoholic writer, and a dissatisfied movie assistant. An inventive novel about flawed yet fascinating people, Beautiful Ruins was a joy to read. It had depth without being depressing. It was literary yet also a page turner. And it had a happy ending!