Beautiful Ruins | Jess Walter

“This is what happens when you live in dreams, he thought: you dream this and you dream that and you sleep right through your life.” 

The story begins in 1962. On a rocky patch of the sun-drenched Italian coastline, a young innkeeper, chest-deep in daydreams, looks out over the incandescent waters of the Ligurian Sea and spies an apparition: a tall, thin woman, a vision in white, approaching him on a boat. She is an actress, he soon learns, an American starlet, and she is dying.
And the story begins again today, half a world away, when an elderly Italian man shows up on a movie studio’s back lot—searching for the mysterious woman he last saw at his hotel decades earlier.


  • Book: Beautiful Ruins
  • Series: –
  • Author: Jess Walter


This took every ounce of my being to finish. Normally, I’m a fast reader. It takes me at most, one day to finish one book. But this one, took me weeks. It was just soo hard to commit to.

I don’t like at all the whole Cleopatra situation. I understand why he added it, but it just dragged on for me. It was too much. Then we have the whole thing with the producer that was completely boring. Richard Burton and Liz Taylor made me skip through chunks of the book. Maybe I’m just not too much of a fan of them to be interested.

This isn’t to say that it was utterly bad. There were a few chunks of meaningful writing sprinkled throughout the book. The messages were loud and clear. I just feel the execution was off.

This isn’t something I would recommend.

Final Rating:


“All we have is the story we tell. Everything we do, every decision we make, our strength, weakness, motivation, history, and character-what we believe-none of it is real; it’s all part of the story we tell. But here’s the thing: it’s our goddamned story!”


What did you think of this book, have you read anything similar to it? Or do you have any recommendations for me to try? Lets chat, don’t worry, I don’t bite. ^^

FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM: @bookishowlette



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