As I read the extended five-chapter preview, I was pleasantly surprised because I sadly am someone who does judge a book a little by it's cover and this is a book I would be unlikely to pick up on my own in a bookstore, but I liked the writing style and loved the first chapter.
The plot was supposed to have occurred in the 1930s and the writing is true to that time period, but the book is still easy to read. The first chapter draws the reader in with a shocking mystery and then shifts to Elsa's story and the story of war, poverty, castes, politics, and of the Pensione Alexandria.
I thought the overall plot and mystery was very interesting. The only reason I did not rate this story higher (thus far) was that Elsa seems to have an occassional tendancy to ramble a bit and in only five short chapters the words Pensione Alexandria were repeated a multitude of times and for some reason, that fact bothered me.