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A Thread of Grace
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April 2018: Strong Women > A Thread of Grace / Mary Doria Russell - 5*****

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Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 6400 comments A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell
A Thread Of Grace – Mary Doria Russell
Audiobook performed by Cassandra Campbell

Russell’s third novel leaves space and the future, and instead looks back on WW2 and the Italian citizens who saved the lives of thousands of Jews; not only their neighbors but refugees coming from other countries. It opens in September 1943, with fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum and her father. They’ve already fled Belgium and are in Paris, when they need to move once again. This time they will cross the Alps on foot, led by an Italian soldier. Eventually they are taken in by a farm family and come to know the villagers in the area. As the war progresses over the next few years we meet a large cast of characters that includes a German doctor who regrets his past, an Italian rabbi and his family, a priest, a British paratrooper, and a charismatic Italian resistance leader.

What a story! Based on true incidents, Russell’s tale draws the reader into the lives of these many people. She gives us examples of true courage, from the fighters actively engaged in battle, to the grandmothers who carried messages or the Catholic nuns who sheltered Jewish children in large orphanages. I fell in love with these characters. Russell doesn’t sugarcoat the sacrifices and dangers they faced, nor does she make them saints.

They squabble, succumb to temptations, and waver in their determination. They are also courageous and fiercely resistant to the evils of the Nazis. Out manned and out gunned by the Germans, this “army” of citizens nevertheless shows discipline and ingenuity when fighting. Their huge advantage is their intimate knowledge of the terrain and their fierce loyalty to one another.

This is a war story, so I knew there would be death and destruction. Even though I expected this, some of these scenes brought me to tears. Russell tempers the sadness and horror with moments of great tenderness and even humor.

I was lucky that I chose to listen to this audiobook while on a long road trip. I finished the 17-hours of listening in two day’s driving. Cassandra Campbell does a superb job performing the audiobook. She is a gifted voice artist and really brought the story and these characters to life.

LINK to my review

message 2: by Amy (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amy | 9364 comments I read this last year for the high notes challenge and I just loved it. Great review!

Jgrace | 3112 comments I read this book 10 years ago. Listened to it in my car. This was before I was writing book reviews, or at least before I was saving them. I'm finding that I forget books when I don't write something about them, but this one has stayed with me. She wrote scenes in that book that I'll never forget.

It also turned me into a dedicated Doria Russell fan. I'm looking forward to her new book.

message 4: by Susie (new) - added it

Susie | 4488 comments Thanks for the audio recommendation. I’m thinking about my next one. Perhaps this is it!

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