Interesting story; well written however with the topic, it was not a gripping-page-turner. I did find that the story held me and I wanted to know what happened in the end to all the characters. I knew very little about the Italian Jews and the Italian Partisans. Worth the time to read.
I'm a bit of a WWII buff and have read many books on the subject. This is now one of my very favorites. While there are many characters to follow, I was deeply engrossed in the struggle of each one. The kindness, compassion and bravery of the Italians is matched by the heart wrenching stories of the Jewish refugees. The story was very hard to read but so worth it, I would recommend this book to everyone.
This is a wonderful book about the Italian Resistance during World War 2. I have read many books about the French role in the war but this is the first I've read about the Italian side. It is well written and indeed shows 'a thread of grace' that the Italian partisans showed to the Jews during the War. Characters include women and children partisans, a Rabbi and his family, a British paratrooper, Catholic nuns and a german doctor who aided the partisans. Well worth the read.
This book was fabulous! If you like historical fiction , you will really love this. I found I did not know as much about hilter as I thought, so I was inspired to look up facts. The story line is fiction, but the events (dates, numbers, atrocities) are factual. Very powerful book!
Moving story of families fleeing German expansion WWII. Starts a bit slow as I wondered how these different life stories woud be woven together. Becomes very engaging and I didn't want to put it down. As always, this author has created a masterful story. A really good read.
This was a little hard to get into but once the action started it was a pretty fast read. Good characters and a great plot kept it going. I never realized that this went on in Italy in WWII. Those people were heroes, every single on of them.
A wonderful book. It was so engaging, I often forgot that I was reading a book and felt more like I was in the story. While I have read a lot of WWII fiction, I had not read anything about WWII Italy and the Partisan uprising against the Nazi regime, which invaded Italy after the Italian armistice. The book features a huge cast of characters (Russell was thoughtful enough to include a cast of characters at the beginning of the book so I didn't get too lost) - there are a couple of "main" characters that are all interconnected. I did really find myself caring about a few of the main characters - the disillusioned German doctor; the exuberant, drunken, self-made Jewish spy; the grieving rabbi's wife, forced to hide away in the Italian countryside.
In the end I was thrown off a bit by the enormous cast, but overall, I found it to be an absolutely beautiful story. 4.5/5.0 stars, with just that half star taken off for the daunting number of characters!
This book offers an interesting look into the Italian front during WWII -- something I wasn't very familiar with, even through the few years I spent studying the war in college history courses. I highly recommend the book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
The book has a few cons, though. First, the characters. It gets extremely bogged down with numerous characters. And then, how the characters are referenced (first name, surname, nickname) changes from chapter to chapter -- sometimes within the same chapter. It gets confusing and I needed to constantly reference the author's list of characters. Second, the plot. With a bunch of characters comes plots that somewhat interact with each other but largely stand alone. This is also conflicting for a reader and makes an already long book take a bit longer to get through.
In addition, the author opens with Renzo and Werner. Their storyline was the most interesting and I found myself looking forward to chapters including them. Other characters didn't have the same depth. If this book had focused solely on Renzo and Werner then this could have been a 5-star novel. Alas, it was a messy, long novel that had little direction.
Amazing read, very well told story that is both heartening and heartbreaking at the same time. I enjoyed reading this book so much that I frequently missed my stops on the subway commuting back and forth to work because I was so enthralled in the book. The only criticism is that the ending left a few things to be desired but overall, well worth the read. I've read most of the author's other books and so far, I've never been disappointed by her writing.
Very interest book about WWII , in particular about the Italian partisans who saved so many Jews from Hitler. You see the viewpoints of all the different players, who are well described. Difficult to follow the cast of characters, but a wonderful source of info, and incredibly moving and poignant.