Two couples now living in Portland, Maine, plan a trip together, destination Siracusa, in Sicily, but the odd history between them all foreshadows catastrophe ahead.

Lizzie, a journalist who grew up in Berkeley, has chosen the destination in honor of her now deceased father. She has memories of stories he told about the charming town, which others see as decrepit and decomposing.

Her husband Michael, a Pulitzer prize-winner struggling with a novel, is hoping to find what he needs to finish the book. He has a larger-than-life personality, and basks in the glow of others as he tells his tales. He is a “serial fabricator.”

Taylor and her husband Finn seem completely unsuited for each other. Finn still lusts for Lizzie, with whom he once had an affair, and Taylor is wrapped up in a very strange symbiotic relationship with her ten-year-old daughter Snow, who accompanies them on the trip.

Snow…what a strange child, and somehow, she ends up as the centerpiece for the darkness ahead. Her mother believes she is just shy, but brilliant. Others see her as charming, but Lizzie intuits the darkness in her. What unfortunate events will have them pondering the hidden depths of this child? Why is she so drawn to Michael, and will the “crush” she has on him lead to tragedy?

Meanwhile, an interloper arrives in the form of Michael’s latest conquest. What will her presence add and subtract from the vacation?

Siracusa was a tale of unraveling relationships, darkness, and the lies we tell to keep others interested. I enjoyed the multiple narrators that fleshed out the characters and the story, although I rooted for none of them, except possibly Lizzie. Flawed and somewhat jaded, they remind me of people I’ve known, so I couldn’t stop reading this book which earned:

cropped again 5


  1. I’m in the camp of people who found Siracusa as less than charming. A lot of the churches and old buildings are very dilapidated. If they are lucky there is renovation work started on them in which case when finished they will be fantastic but shrouded I scaffolding they have little appeal. Sadly I don’t see the government in Italy having the kind of resources it would take to make much of an impact for decades.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Cue Card

    It seems rare that an Ephron writes a dark drama instead of a comedy, right? But this one got a bit of hype when it came out so I’m glad you reviewed it. It sounds fairly enticing, with all those relationship breakups!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Diane

    I started listening to the audio and it sounded like it would be confusing with multiple narrators so maybe I’ll try print edition. Glad you enjoyed this. Sometimes 20-30 something drama can be a bit much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I would recommend a print version. Audio doesn’t work for me, as I need to visualize the story.

      I agree about 20-30 drama…but even worse than the adults was that creepy child Snow. (Unfortunate name, since I love the name “Snow.”) LOL.

      Thanks for stopping by, Diane.


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