Restoration by Olaf Olafsson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Like Far From Here, this is told in a combination of first and third person; the first person episodes are either a diary entry or conversation between Alice and her husband Claudio, who disappeared shortly after their son died. Set in Tuscany during the waning days of World War II, the title has several meanings - the restoration of the villa and farms at San Martino, the restoration work Kristin does on paintings, the restoration of peace, and possibly the restoration of Alice's life to something closer to normal.
The pacing is rather slow, with the tension coming from the war and from Alice's relationship with her husband, their friend Pritchett and her lover. Kristin's life in Iceland and Italy also plays into this as her employer/lover, Marshall, is selling art to the Germans, including a "Caravaggio" she "repaired". Overall there's little surprise here, and I didn't feel as though this was really an Italian novel but rather set there by happenstance. The parts about painting restoration and techniques were interesting, and had there been more of that or more of Alice's relationship with her husband and dead son, I would have found the book more compelling.
Copy provided by publisher.