This novel was my first experience with Chris Bohjalian and it was an encouraging beginning.

Although, I rated this book on Goodreads with three stars out of five, I cannot deny that it was a great read and that anyone who enjoys historical/fiction novels will love it.


It is Italy in 1955, when a weird crime happened. A woman, the widow of the son of the Rosati (a noble family), was found dead with her heart extracted. The family who lost three of her members in the World War II was threatened when the killer hunted his second victim. The book goes back to Italy in 1940 and we are now looking upon the life of the family back then. The Rosati family was friendly with the Nazis forces, finding peace and protection between the walls of the villa, trying not to get involved in the war that was happening in all Europe. But what happened between these two dates?

The story goes smoothly trying to find the missing clues of these serial crimes in the dark past of the family and in this missing piece of their history.
The book puts into question the notion of right and wrong and how much history differs based on the teller. There is no black or white. We can always find excuses to support our point of view; after all, truth is a matter of perspective.

In Chris Bohjalian’s novel, the question of “who is the real victim?” is posed explicitly and that is something I would give him credit for.

The weakness is his book, in my opinion, was caused by my personal expectations after reading the first pages. I thought that I was going to explore a crime/mystery novel where the writer plays with my mind, where I will be scared and lost. It was not the case. The plot was good, but not chocking. I did not short breathing nor did I check by backside searching for the killer.
The ending was somehow shallow and it left me with this bitter disappointment.


After all, I cannot but admit that Bohjalian is a great writer and this book is a well-written one.
Reactions: