From Sand and Ash- Amy Harmon

Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.

As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.

Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.

But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.

______________________________________________________________

I am a fan of historical fiction- especially set during the World War II era. The Nightingale was my top read of 2016 and this was a recommended read for me since the storyline was comparable. I absolutely fell in love with Eva and Angelo and their story took me on an emotional journey.  I gasped, got angry, and cried with these characters. I appreciated the research she did in order to tell this tale in the most authentic light possible. The journal entries intertwined within the plot also gave it an extra dimension of reality while living through the discrimination, heartache, and the need to survive. The story was heartbreaking, yet inspirational, reminding us to stay true to ourselves while being resilient and keeping our faith. She did an exquisite job representing those of each background and respecting the ghastly terror of what many people experienced during that time. Her beautiful words really spoke to me and if there is one book I would recommend you read this year- this is it.

“Our immortality comes through our children and their children. Through our roots and branches. The family is immortality. And Hitler has destroyed not just branches and roots, but entire family trees, forests. All of them, gone.”

This was one of my favorite pieces of the book. It made me just sit and think for a minute about we are passed on through our children. It was an amazing thought that family is not blood, yet those who we love, those we treat with kindness, and those we respect. I am a new reader of Amy Harmon, but I am now a fan of hers. This book is not just a book; it will stay with me. This is one of the reasons I love to read. Not many things in this life can touch you the way someone’s words do…

 

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