Book in a Minute: Library Edition

27246115-_uy400_ss400_ I’m doing book reviews for the Baltimore County Public Library‘s Between the Covers blog under my real life name now. At some point in the indefinite future, I’m planning to merge the “real me” website with this site. In the meantime, it seemed to make more sense to post a link to my first review for the library blog here, since this is where I’ve posted all my other book reviews. So here you go, a little review of Delia Ephron’s Siracusa. Enjoy!

Delia Ephron is best-known for her humorous writing and for lighthearted screenplays like You’ve Got Mail and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. But her latest novel, Siracusa, displays a decidedly more cynical view of relationships.

Siracusa begins with Lizzie, who thinks a vacation in Italy is just what she and her husband David need to revive their flagging writing careers and their dwindling passion for one another. They’re joined on the trip by another couple — Finn, Lizzie’s fun-loving old flame from college, and his uptight wife Taylor. Dragged along for the fun is Snow, Finn and Taylor’s sullen preteen daughter. If bringing an old boyfriend and his family along for a vacation sounds like a bad idea to you, you’d be right. In fact, few vacation disasters can rival the nightmarish results when this group makes its way to the ancient island of Siracusa.

Each main character takes a turn recounting the trip’s gradual descent into tragedy.  Without exception, all of them are breathtakingly self-involved or delusional (or both). Thus none of them can see what the reader sees — the huge disaster heading straight for them.

Like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, Siracusa presents readers with difficult to like protagonists who never tell the whole truth. The crumbling city of Siracusa provides an excellent symbolic backdrop for Ephron’s well-written blend of dark domestic drama and deadly suspense.

And if you aren’t anywhere near the Baltimore County Public Library, find your own library here. Or if you’re in a spendy mood, here’s the Amazon link.



  1. I always wanted to give Delia Ephron a shot. Maybe I will start with this

    • It’s pretty different to anything else I know of by Delia Ephron – her stuff generally seems to be lighter and more upbeat than this one. But I hope you give it a try. It was an intriguing read, although I have to admit I saw the “twist” coming from a good ways off. There was still a certain enjoyment in seeing it coming when none of the main characters did.

  2. How cool you’re doing reviews for the library. You’re a good choice. I loved Girl on a Train so maybe I’d like this book too.

    • I’m not sure you’d like it. I feel like ultimately it’s more like Gone Girl than Girl on the Train, because no one in it is very likable. Every character is totally self-absorbed and shallow. The entertainment is in watching the train wreck coming at them and seeing how surprised they all are when it gets there. I’d be interested to know what you think if you decide to read it. Ann and I have higher tolerance for books featuring unlikeable main characters, I think. What does that say about us, I wonder?

  3. Loved this review! I love books told from multiple povs, and this one sounds especially intriguing. Keep up the good work.

    • I think you’d like it, Ann. I also just noticed the other day that Louise Doughty (of Apple Tree Yard) has a new book out. Haven’t had chance to find out much about it. I think it’s an ex-spy finds true love story. Or does he?!

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