Year Published : 2016
Genre : Historical Fiction, Drama, Romance, WW2 Fiction
Edition : Kindle eBook
# of Pages : 372 Pages
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.
Some aspects of this novel reminded me of The Thorn Birds but set in WW2, and has a more uplifting instead of enraging storyline. Side note, I love the Thorn Birds and writing-wise it may be more technically proficient but after 10+ years I’m still bitter about many turns in the storyline.
From Sand And Ash has a similar theme but more satisfying development and resolution.
The hero and heroine, Eva and Angelo, are so strong and lovable. I just wanted to reach into the book and protect them against what are often dire and tense odds. This whole experience just struck me right in the feels and the whole chain of events was a journey. I left it feeling like I just returned from somewhere and the number of books that have provided that level of immersion have been few overall.
This might seem like a lot of gushing but finding that lucky combo of compatible writing style, interest in all relevant characters, fast enough pace to be unputdownable, while having substance and believability? Not an everyday find.
With the amount of research (complete with an author’s afterward indicating characters based on real people and events inspired by real accounts) I’d put this more in a generalized historical fiction category.
The romance is a strong component though. As a romance, it’s the best I’ve read in years and I don’t often find ones that hit all the notes this one does. The pair have a long history complete with flashbacks to illustrate their bond and childhood friendship. The characters act mature and rational for the most part, so when angst does present itself- the reasons for it are good. The slow burn is great and the culmination is A+ and worth it. I didn’t even like Angelo at first but was totally won over by him as the plot became more hectic. Another plus since disliking/underestimating characters who later grow and pleasantly surprise is another great find.
All in all, I’m just amazed to find this book. It is often cheaply priced on Amazon and free on Kindle Unlimited. Further amazed that it doesn’t have a hardcover edition, since this of all books deserves one. And my final area of amazement is the lack of hype and fan fare. I picked this up almost at random and it’s shaped up to be among my favorite reads (or at least in the top 5) of 2018-2019.
Overall Rating – 10/10
Why You Should Try It – A high tension, solidly-written WW2 drama with some of the best romance I’ve read in a long time. Transportive and sincere writing.
Critiques – Literally none. I may wrack my brain for some later but this book was just lovable. I guess it could be considered overly sentimental, especially toward the end.From Sand and Ash (Amazon Link)