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A Thread of Graceby Mary Doria Russell
"Lord only knows, we've got plenty of World War II novels already....Many of these books are good and some are great, but surely we've got enough of them by now — which is probably what a lot of people will think when they hear about Mary Doria Russell's A Thread of Grace. Nevertheless, it would be a big mistake to write off this absorbing novel....[T]he book is a veritable symphony of action, deploying about a dozen characters (all solidly delineated), in a nonstop string of escapes, ambushes, ruses, sabotages, sorties, disguises, coded communications and rescues." Laura Miller, Salon.com (read the entire Salon.com review)
Synopses & Reviews
Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God.
It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive.
Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war's final phase. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell's many fans and earn her even more.
"[A]n expansive, well-researched, and compelling novel....Russell is good at presenting the human story while never using the war merely as a backdrop for personal dramas." Booklist
"[A]n emotionally wrenching experience. Russell has succeeded in vividly and memorably evoking the hardships, dangers, sufferings and sorrows of wartime life in Nazi-occupied Italy in a somber, profoundly moving book that engages the heights and depths of human experience." Los Angeles Times
"Fans of Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow and Children of God will be thrilled by her masterful new novel. A Thread of Grace is a rich, multi-layered narrative that offers fresh insight into a devastating time in world affairs. A story of love and war, it speaks to the resilience and beauty of the human spirit in the midst of unimaginable horror. It is, unquestionably, a literary triumph." David Morrell, author of The Brotherhood of the Rose and First Blood
"Russell's characters were slow to come to life, and dialogue in the opening chapters was stiff. But as the pages rolled by, her people did come to life, without exception becoming more complex and more interesting. The writing, too, began to strike sparks." San Jose Mercury News
"Russell is a smart, passionate and imaginative writer, and there wasn't a moment when I wanted to set this book aside. It's a vivid account of northern Italy during World War II." Cleveland Plain Dealer
"[A] rich, rewarding, and well-researched tale of WWII....Beautiful, noble, fascinating, and almost unbearably sad." Kirkus Reviews
"Densely populated, well-plotted novel, which is thick with intersecting plots and characters — most of them both colorful and memorable." Seattle Times
About the Author
The author of prize-winning research in paleoanthropology, Mary Doria Russell has written two previous novels, The Sparrow and Children of God. She lives with her husband and son in Cleveland, Ohio.
From the Hardcover edition.
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