Sunday, March 17, 2019
From Sand and Ash by 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.
(Synopsis from Goodreads).
Recently, I've been trying really hard to finish books that have been on my TBR for a long time. There are authors that I own almost every single book of theirs, and have only read one or two. Amy Harmon is one of those authors. I've bought all of her books because a Facebook group I am in hypes up her books all the time. I recently decided I wanted to read some of those books, so I started with From Sand and Ash. I'm so glad I did. It was a heartbreaking, beautiful book.
When going into From Sand and Ash, I expected it to be a hard hitting book due to the time period it was set in, and the subject matter. I still wasn't prepared for the emotion the book made me feel. I listened to it on audiobook from Audible, and I think that heightened my emotions. Amy Harmon wrote such an impactful story that the reader can't help but be moved while reading. There were several times where I just started sobbing because I was so heartbroken for these characters and what they went through, and what millions of people went through in real life. Before reading this, I knew quite a bit about WWII for the Germans, but never knew much about how it impacted the Italian community. It was eye opening, and heartbreaking, to learn about the issues they faced.
Not only did Amy Harmon write a great story line, but she wrote some of my favorite characters that I've read about so far this year. I loved watching the dynamic between Eva and Angelo. I loved seeing their love, not only for each other, but for those around them as well. They loved with all of their heart and soul, regardless of the consequences. They might be some of the most compassionate characters I've ever read about, which I loved. Amy Harmon has a way of making you fall in love with all of her characters, even the side characters. There wasn't a single character in this book that I absolutely hated. Even some of the villains, I felt a brief moment of compassion for. That's the sign of a reading a book by a great writer.
From Sand and Ash is one of those books that pulls the reader in, and doesn't let go until you've finished the book hours later. I loved it. I couldn't move from my seat until I had finished listening to the whole thing. It makes me even more excited to read the backlog of Amy Harmon books that I own. I think the next one I'm going to pick up will be What the Wind Knows, her most recent release, because I want more of her writing set in the early 1900s.
I give From Sand and Ash: 5/5.
Want to know more about the author?
I received this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.