Jess Walter, author of the bestselling The Financial Lives of the Poets, is back with a perfect summer novel, Beautiful Ruins (Harper). A small town on the Italian coastline, the blueness of the Ligurian sea, Hollywood starlets, the set of the film Cleopatra, long-lost loves...what more could you ask for?
Walter ties them all together in this superb story that starts in Italy in 1962, when an innkeeper sees an Hollywood actress and falls in love, and moves forward to today as the now-elderly gentleman shows up on a Hollywood set, looking for his lost love. With dozens of unforgettable characters (including the rakish Richard Burton), Beautiful Ruins is a moving portrait of people who cling to their dreams, and dreams that fracture, fade, and sometimes, actually, come true.
— Chris Avena