Beautiful ruins is a remarkable love story that spans decades and two continents. Pasquale, a young Italian who is trying to make his family's humble hotel marketable to American tourists, is struck by a beautiful American tourist who comes to stay. Her name is Dee Moray and she has been diagnosed with stomach cancer while filming Cleopatra and has been sent to Porto Vergogna - Pasquale's small fishing village - to rest before going for treatment in Switzerland. She is waiting for another man to come take care of her but finds a much-needed friend and confidante in Pasquale. A friendship that will take over 50 years to fully develop.
Fast-forward to today's Hollywood society where Claire, a production assistant, is trying to find her own way out of producer Michael Deane's wake. Desperate to land any respectable project, she is taken aback when a young man, Shane, and an older Pasquale walk into her life and share their stories with her - for Shane it's a movie pitch and for Pasquale a search for his lost love. The trio, along with Deane himself, embark on an emotional journey to find Dee which provides them with closure and acceptance of their own personal struggles in life.
Jess Walter writes this multifaceted story with such grace that it is hard to put this book down. He describes Italy and Hollywood flawlessly in order that his readers can be transported back and forth in time and location effortlessly. This book shows hardships in all the lives of Walter's characters and the reader is able to understand where each one is coming from. This is a great read!