Monday, October 19, 2009

A Thread of Grace


Russell, Mary Doria. 2005. A Thread of Grace. Random House. 464 pages.

A simple answer to a simple question.

A Thread of Grace is a complex historical fiction novel for adults. Set mainly in Italy during World War II, it tells not one or two stories--but many stories, a dozen at least. The good news? They are very human stories. They can also be very compelling stories. The bad news? They're not all equally compelling. And I'm not sure why that is. It could be all on me. The book could be all brilliant, all the time, but my mood just played too big a role in how I 'read' that day. Or, the book could be unevenly written.

The book can definitely be challenging. There are over thirty characters to follow, and many of these--though certainly not all of them--play narrator at various times. We get to see many of these characters up, close, and personal. But their stories are tangled together, intertwined. And the narrative structure isn't always the easiest to follow.

The good news is that when it's good, it's really, really good. When you're able to connect with the story, with the characters, then everything is great. The bad news is that when you're not able to connect, when you're more confused than anything else, it can be a chore to read. I haven't decided why I would feel such a connection with some of these characters, and yet feel so disconnected from others.

Was it worth it?....for me? Yes! The parts I enjoyed, I really enjoyed. There was so much to love in this one. Fascinating, flawed humans living during a very difficult time in history. I cared about the fate of these rebels, those in the Resistance fighting against the Nazis, and I really cared about the Jewish families trying to survive and hide. The book was harsh and brutal in places. Don't expect everything to be happy-happy-happy, because it's not going to happen. This is not that kind of book. Because it was authentic to the times, I think. It wasn't always an easy novel to read--emotionally speaking. I was surprised at the depth of some of these characters. One in particular, but I don't want to spoil things for you!

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5 comments:

She 12:46 PM  

I've been seeing a lot of WWII books lately! I wonder why!

I feel as though when I read books like this, those that keep you intermittently connected, I skip over the parts that I don't particularly like which is probably very counterproductive.

UGH.

fictionfanatic 10:54 PM  

This one is in my TBR queue and I'm glad I read your review! Good to hear that even though parts of it aren't as compelling as others, it's still a really good read.

I love historical fiction but I realized I'm always reading books that taken place centuries in the past so I thought this might be a nice change.

After reading this I'll probably pair it with a nice, fun read like a Sookie Stackhouse book!

fictionfanatic 10:54 PM  

This one is in my TBR queue and I'm glad I read your review! Good to hear that even though parts of it aren't as compelling as others, it's still a really good read.

I love historical fiction but I realized I'm always reading books that taken place centuries in the past so I thought this might be a nice change.

After reading this I'll probably pair it with a nice, fun read like a Sookie Stackhouse book!

Anna 7:44 PM  

Thanks for the honest review. I've been wanting to read this one for a while, and I probably still will at some point, but it's nice to know that there's a lot going on in the book. I'll get this on War Through the Generations as soon as I can. I'm a bit behind in posting there (sorry!).

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP