A Thread of Grace

A Thread of Grace 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 and fourteen y

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, whSet 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 .

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A Thread of Grace

  1. Mary Doria Russell is an American author She was born in 1950 in the suburbs of Chicago Her parents were both in the military her father was a Marine Corps drill sergeant, and her mother was a Navy nurse She holds a Ph.D in Paleoanthropology from the University of Michigan, and has also studied cultural anthropology at the University of Illinois, and social anthropology at Northeastern University in Boston Russell lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her husband Don and their two dogs Mary is shy about online stuff like , but she responds to all email, and would prefer to do that through her website.Photo by Jeff Rooks

420 Reply to “A Thread of Grace”

  1. A Thread of Grace tells the story of the Nazi occupation of a region of north east Italy It begins with an uprooted community of Jews in southern France who have to flee France across the Alps when the Italians sign the armistice It s essentially the story of how these refugees fare in Italy When I discovered Mary Doria Russell had invented all the locations in the novel I was a bit dubious as so often this is a trick writers use to mask the sparseness of their knowledge But the thoroughness of [...]


  2. Benvenuti al Italia Welcome to Italy the refugees were told when they crossed the border into Italy from Southern France after Italy had signed the Armistice in September 1943 It is there that many people such as the Blums and the Br sslers found refuge after crossing the Alps on foot to reach safety However, due to the German occupation of Italy their safety was not assured, but they were taken in and hidden, sometimes in plain sight, by the locals Author Mary Doria Russel invents villages in w [...]


  3. I simply loved this moving rendering of life in northern Italy during the long period of Nazi occupation after Mussolini stepped down It is the story of two families of Jewish refugees who hide out in the mountains with the support of Italian peasants and poorly equipped partisan fighters of diverse origins The tale is well researched and very satisfying in revealing the strengths of a community and the ability of the human heart to thrive under great challenges.At the beginning of the narrative [...]


  4. Onvan A Thread of Grace Nevisande Mary Doria Russell ISBN 449004139 ISBN13 9780449004135 Dar 442 Safhe Saal e Chap 2004


  5. Some of the best scenes in literature 1 The Idiot mock execution2 Macbeth Act 5 Scene 5 Macbeth s world is crashing aroundhim when he hears of his wife s death He remarks, laconically, Sheshould have died hereafter, and then delivers what might be the most perfect lines in literature To morrow, and to morrow, and to morrow, Creeps in this petty pace from day to day, To the last syllable of recorded time And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death Out, out, brief candle Life [...]


  6. Once again, I have an outstanding work of historical fiction to thank for teaching me about a time, events, places and people I knew virtually nothing about that I didn t realize I wanted to know anything about Mary Doria Russell, with her uncanny ability to wring gorgeous stories out of dry facts, brings wartime Italy to my living room In the fall of 1943, Italy surrenders to the Allies and thousands of Jewish refugees from across the diaspora pour into the country, just as German occupation fo [...]


  7. I read this book during the holiday season but find myself thinking about various scenes at odd moments I ll be brushing my teeth, and suddenly, I ll be on the Ligurian coast of Italy while a German deserter confesses to the local priest that he is responsible for over 91,000 deaths I ll be on the edge of sleep, and as I close my eyes I ll see a toddler learning to walk when suddenly the bombs start to drop I ll be driving and will be visited by one of the kind visions of an Italian soldier wooi [...]


  8. A fantastic story of Italian resistance during WWII, including the incredibly brave efforts of Italian Catholics to save Jews Beautifully written Emotional Well researched.The story begins when Italy surrenders to the Allies, which is followed immediately by a brutal German occupation, which in turn triggers further Allied ground attacks and bombing Russell brilliantly presents the grinding unrelenting pressure caused by this series of events, including the fanatical pursuit of Jews by the Germa [...]


  9. This was very interesting at times, but most of the time I just read in a state of confusion Way too many characters and way too many plotlines This book needed some careful editing, and perhaps it could have been 2 stories or the historical parts written a bit clearly I can t quite put my finger on what it was that didn t work, but having read many WWII books, this one just didn t cut it for me.There is no Status entry for RIP but that is what this fine book is now doing It met its demise at t [...]


  10. Damn it, Mary Doria Russell made me cry again Culture class is once again the culprit, although this time it s Nazi anti Semitism versus the Italian resistance instead of Jesuits and scientists versus aliens on Alpha Centauri A Thread of Grace begins with Italy s surrender to the Allies, and from the Jewish perspective of the book, this is one of history s great ironies It s a relief that Italy has surrendered to be sure, this is a turning point in the war Jews in the Italian occupied territorie [...]


  11. Years ago, when I was still working at Borders, I came across a paperback book on the front tables as I was straightening up The cover caught my eye, and I picked it up to read the back It was set in northern Italy, towards the end of World War II, and I decided to make it my book of the week At that point Italy was my favorite country that I d visited, and I have been obsessed with World War II stories since I was a girl That book, Thread of Grace, was to become my favorite book, and Mary Doria [...]


  12. What I loved For once I was able to thoroughly enjoy a historical fiction book without wondering what was real and what was fiction This is a character driven story and everyone in the book seemed genuine I especially enjoyed the poignant sensibilities of the children and adolescents I m a sucker for maps and this book had a map of real places and one of fictional places that were within the real map s area There was also a handy characters list at the front of the book I found myself referring [...]


  13. Ratings 1 to 5 Writing 4Plot 5Characters 5Emotional impact 4Overall rating 4.5NotesI was very thankful that there was a list of characters in the beginning of the book, as there were many, and some went by various names throughout the story I referred to this list often I think the characters were actually my favorite aspect of this book so interesting and complex.


  14. My experience of Maria Doria Russell s writing has been consistently wonderful I loved her Sparrow and Children of God This follow up to those sci fi moral tales was seven years in its creation and according to an interview, during a difficult time in her life the kind of mundane tragedies and challenges we real peons think no one famous every struggles with Her historical fiction is every bit as complex as her other work A Thread Of Grace is a narrative of the Italian resistance including Itali [...]


  15. First, I inferred from the GR description that this is the story of Claudette Blum It also states there are a handful of characters Claudette is one of dozens of characters and, although the story returns to her throughout the book, I think there are others who appeared prominently and importantly in the narrative I only say this so that you might rely less on the GR description than on many of the other fine reviews here.We often hear of the French resistance Why not the Italian resistance Thi [...]


  16. I have read 2 books by this author before this one I liked them both Her books always seem to take a fair amount of research She does that well Authenticity hasn t been a problem with her I also enjoy her characters They are purposeful and well drawn.The main problem I had with this book was not only the number of characters parading through this, but the multiple story lines There was so much going on Usually I don t mind that But this was a book a wasn t able to sit down and read in one whack [...]


  17. sobbed through her earlier books, and this is no exception Set during WWII, with many jewish main characters, Russell nevertheless avoids the obvious tragedies although there are oblique mentions to the events in other countries in order to concentrate on hearts, minds, and shattering illusions She has an obvious love and understanding of her characters, and so even the most horrifying come across as realistic, almost sympathetic Her plot is complex and interweaves many disparate elements withou [...]


  18. Spoiler Alert I stayed up until after midnight last night finishing this I started out listening to it on tape and got half way finished and it was on hold for someone so I had to turn it in and get the book The narrator did a great job with the French, German, and Italian accents Russell is so smart She weaves the fictitious characters and places with historical fact and makes a beautiful and difficult story This novel is very character driven I wondered about the characters when I wasn t readi [...]


  19. A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell is a story set in Northern Italy after the Italian armistice in World War II in 1943 After the armistice, the Germans invaded Italy and continued their holocaust But in Italy there was much resistance and the Italians protected the Jews with much success as it had the highest Jewish survival rate of German occupied Europe Russell spent 6 years researching the stories of Italy during World War II by interviewing survivors both here and and in Italy, so clea [...]


  20. Mary Doria Russell has enchanted me with several of her books When I started this, I was hoping to be enchanted I actually put it aside for a bit, because it wasn t hitting the mark for me But then, a few days later, the characters kept calling me, so I picked it up again, and was swept into a view of WWII of which I was embarrassingly ignorant This was a beautifully written story of the plight of those Jews in Italy, either by birth or immigration escape, and of the patriots who fought against [...]


  21. A Thread of Grace Mary Doria Russell 2005 Random House 430 pages ISBN 0375501843.A Thread of Grace is Mary Doria Russell s third novel and first historical fiction piece set against the backdrop of 1943 Europe Claudette Blum is a young, teenage Jewish girl escaping with her father and other refugees to Italy with no foresight or knowledge that thair lives are about to become much endangered Through a handful of diverse characters and personalities, Russell tells of how numerous Italians played [...]


  22. On the ground, a drunk, coughing German officer, a girl of 14 with green eyes, dapper Italian grappa lover with a taste for costuming, his mother, a quiet village rabbi s family It is 1943 44 in Northern Italy after il Duce has left the country and everyone else moved in German squads with tanks, carbinieri, patriots, loyalists, traitors, Communists, villagers, farmers, deserters, priests, Jewish refugees and overhead, American, British, German planes drop bombs on monasteries and mountain resis [...]


  23. Now that I have finished the book I really don t have to add, so I will just leave my review as before Other readers have disliked the ending I have no complaints War is war I have to stop my reading for a second to fill you in This book is good The book covers a difficult subject How does this author suceed in infusing hope into war By letting the characters also see beauty as they suffer and undergo terrible experiences they watch the sky go from gold to pink Or earlier in the novel, I again [...]


  24. There are numerous novels relating to WWII, but few compare to the obviously well researched saga by Mary Doria Russell Previously, most of my associated reading on this subject was centered on other European or Asian countries, but this book is focused on Italy s mountainous regions, with its small hamlets, isolated towns and farmlands Throughout the narrative, Russell has traced the activities of fascinating characters, powerfully interspersed with the general impact of the war The major thrus [...]


  25. This is another brilliant book by an amazingly versatile author This is the story of the Italian resistance, set in northwestern Italy in 1943 1945 Despite a full stage of characters, Russell manages to make each stand off the page with vitality and unique personalities Russell does not shy away from the brutality and capriciousness of war Readers who crave happy endings may be disappointed since even in victory there are no unadulterated happy endings But, there is also no unadulterated misery, [...]


  26. Set in Italy during World War II, this novel interweaves the stories of Jewish refugees, ordinary Italian citizen rescuers, the Nazis, and Italian resistance fighters Despite the fact that this book is fiction, it provides many historical details about the role of the Italian citizenry in the rescue of Jews The characters are well developed and unforgettable, the story is engrossing A great read for anyone who likes to read about this period of time.


  27. Whoais novel kind of blew me away It s the type of historical fiction that I admire greatly, and that I aspire to write some day although reading something like this makes me seriously question my ability to pull something like it off.but I digress Russell brings to life a period of history end of WWII that is seemingly well known and understood, but in a setting Northern Italy that is less so I found myself enthralled by the idea of Italian communities struggling with their role in the war, the [...]


  28. A 4.5 stars effort A rich and complex and at times, not so easy to follow portrayal of both historical and fictional events that take place in northwest Italy in real and made up locations during WWII and the Nazi era Though it is a little difficult to get into this book initially, those who are able to do it will enjoy a cast of memorable and well developed characters and powerful ideas about what it is to be a human, especially in a time of crisis Though not as nearly funny as Catch 22, this b [...]


  29. I wanted to like this book but I just couldn t get into it The interesting historical setting of the book, the dangerous crossing of the border between France and Italy after the Italian armistice on 8th September 1943, is what led me to this novel, but it was a disappointment The large numbers of characters and story lines made it confusing, especially when different names were used to refer to the same character Unfortunately, the author doesn t seem to spend enough time on any of its characte [...]


  30. I found the subject matter of this book really interesting WWII in Northern Italy and the assistance some Italians gave to local Jews and refugees coming through the French border The risks some people took to do the right thing is at times breathtaking Having said this, the characters were complex and varied, and this certainly was not a rose coloured story with a happy ending the main characters My only reservation in not giving it five stars is that at times the narrative thread got a tad ted [...]


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