I have read this book at least a dozen times, and it remains one of my very favorites. I can't recommend it enough.
The story centers around Jack McCall, who leaves his home in South Carolina and moves to Italy with his daughter, Leah, after losing his wife. The story follows Jack and Leah as they make a new life in Italy, eventually return to South Carolina, and cope with the loss of their beloved wife and mother. There are interesting subplots throughout, along with beautifully written characters, some of whom are larger than life and just as compelling as Jack. We meet Jack's family, his deceased wife's parents - who Jack has a difficult relationship with - and friends with troubled pasts who reappear in Jack's life unexpectedly. It's long, at 800 pages, but the story is so engrossing that the length shouldn't put you off. It flew by for me and I found myself wishing there were more to read.
The book, in my view, is somewhat of a love letter to South Carolina, and the South in general, as are many of Pat Conroy's books. He knows his characters and his settings intimately and treats them with love and respect. For this reason, and many others, Pat Conroy has long been one of my favorite authors.