A Thread of Grace

A Novel

Russell, Mary Doria

(Book - 2005)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
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 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 more.
Publisher: New York : Random House, 2005.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 0375501843
Characteristics: xii, 430 p. :,maps ;,25 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Apr 07, 2014
  • Jennmro rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Lovely writing and a fascinating story, although I did struggle with the vast cast of characters. It was difficult to remember who was who at times.

Apr 01, 2013
  • GLNovak rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I had a hard time getting into this book as there were so many characters and a lot of the names sounded similar. Confusion over who was who reigned until I decided not to worry about it. The story of the Italian resistance rang through loud and clear. The amount of detail pulled together and woven into the narrative made the book a good read. I could see the mountains, the villages, the town, the tattered people. Most of the litereary attention has been on Britain, northern Europe and the Soviet Union with only a little time spent on the south, or Africa, so to read such a detailed account of the last years of the war in Northern Italy was very interesting and informative.

Sep 06, 2012
  • spomincica rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The intersection of the different groups of people interested me as well, especially the Jewish and Catholic communities. The author creates each community in such a way that it seems she must have lived several lives, growing up in each community, to know such details, dialects, and cultures.

It reminded me very much of the stories my grandparents used to tell, of their struggles, grief, and the general fear and confusion in Yugoslavia during and immediately after WWII. It was a terrible time. The book's stories ring true.

Also she adds to the story, by alluding to the nuances between different individual Catholics or different individual Jews (or even different atheists). She shows her knowledge that each Catholic, or each Jew, has some human difference in carrying out their belief, though they all reverently bow to the same creed of their religion. This adds a human element; a true, kaleidoscope factor, which is a refreshing and reassuring change from our current secular society's views on religious groups as thoughtless followers.

Her novel deals with a very complicated time in Europe, and expounds on history that is not usually taught in schools, likely for the simple fact that it is complicated, and that many of the facts have still not been documented.

The only drawback (besides a few too many allusions to sex), was that the author seemed to paint the Partisans in a positive light. Knowing what I know from my grandparents own lives and my own study, when the Communist Partisans took over, the fear, bloodshed and mass killings only got worse.

I am eager to read another of this author's books.

Nov 14, 2011
  • cbreads2009 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

gals walk grp bookclub

May 16, 2011
  • Bettylg rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

Russell mines a little knowm nugget of Italian and Jewish history in this tale of the intersection of partisans, Jewish immigrants, Italian peasants and Nazi aggressors in the late stages of WWII. There is a lot to learn here about guilt and redemption. The author bravely goes where most others wouldn't and the final pages are a testament to her unique vision of these events.


Add Age Suitability

There are no ages for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add a Notice

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Find it at CLEVNET


Powered by BiblioCommons.
app05 Version musli Last updated 2015/02/24 14:10