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The rich fictional narrative is woven through the factual military maneuvers and political games at the end of WW II, sharing a little-known story of a group of Italian citizens that sheltered more than 40,000 Jews from grueling work camp executions. Rather than the bleak and hopeless feeling that might be expected, the novel has the opposite effect; it reminds us that just as there will always be war, crime, and death, so too will there be good people who selflessly sacrifice themselves to ease the suffering of others. Perhaps best of all, Russell succinctly opens and closes her writing with short pieces that bookend the story with the force of a freight train. Her moving finale wraps up her narrative in the present day, with a death bed scene that's sure to rip the heart out of readers of every faith and ancestry.
On the surface, Russell's third novel may seem quite different from her earlier works. Both The Sparrow and its sequel, Children of God , were futuristic stories about Earth's first contact with alien life forms, but a closer look reveals several similarities. Fans of her earlier books will be pleased to find that Emilio Sandoz, the charismatic Jesuit priest from the first two books, finds new life in Renzo Leoni--A Thread of Grace's charming and haunted chameleon. The two have different circumstances and histories, but both characters are made of the same cloth--tormented by their consciences and plagued by unrequited love. Also similar to her earlier books, the characters in A Thread of Grace don't all enjoy a happy ending. A note in the reader's guide tells us that Russell flipped a coin to determine the fate of some of the characters. This may be upsetting for many readers, particularly those used to Hollywood endings, but it does serve as a frank reminder of the arbitrary nature of war and death. --Victoria Griffith --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
I highly recommend this book to anyone, not only interested in history, but who likes to feel something when they read.
Just like "The Sparrow" and "Children of God", however, Ms. Russell's characters are wonderfully crafted, and the story is told in a remarkably beautiful manner.
First, some complained that the book was complex and found the mulitple characters and switching of points of view to be confusing.
Very engaging story - I had read very little about Italy's role in WWII and the fate of the Jews in Italy. The ending was sad and abrupt.Published 14 days ago by MCC
I had never really thought about this aspect of the war..this book educated me about the Italian resistance and the generosity of the people.Published 15 days ago by Valerie Tate
One of the best books I have read lately. I knew very little of the impact of WWII in Italy. This book focus on the effects of war on the people, especially refugees and the... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Isabel
At the top of my list of all time fabulous writings. Ms. Russell is truly a gifted writer. This book is a treasure.Published 28 days ago by Little Old Lady in Sac
Excellent review of this era, the cruelty of the Germans toward the Jews, good character development, etc. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jean
OMG. If I could weave a tale the way this author does, I'd be so happy!Published 2 months ago by Shannon Blood
The pace at which the plot moved was perfect. I expected a little harder reading but the subjrEct was entertainingPublished 3 months ago by marianne reinert
I loved this book. It painted a very real picture of what people faced during the occupation of Italy. The characters are all vividly drawn and all had great stories to tell.Published 3 months ago by Bert Coen