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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.
This is a revealing, inspiring and beautifully written novel. The focus is on Italy during WWII and the untold stories of heroic behavior of Italian Christians to help, hide and... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Jane B. Stark
The choices of the mood of this book should allow for 'all of the above'! A beautiful book and one I will remember for a long time to come.Published 21 days ago by Carol Lemelin
One of the 10 best books I've read...ever. More than a story...an elegant, mesmerizing, often brutal journey of historical importance. Every character is fully drawn. Read morePublished 1 month ago by EK
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 1 month 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 1 month 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 2 months 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 2 months ago by Little Old Lady in Sac