From Sand and Ash – Review

from-sandAmy Harmon is unstoppable! Yet again, I am blown away by her talents for storytelling.  I love WWII-era Historical Fiction to begin with, so I already knew Amy Harmon + the 1940s would = complete magic.

From Sand and Ash begins in the 1930s with young Eva and Angelo.  Angelo is forced by his father to move from New Jersey to Italy with his family.  There his grandparents work for a Jewish family who takes Angelo in like a son. Angelo’s path is aligned to become a Catholic priest and to ease his burden on society. However, when he connects with Eva, the daughter of his grandparents’ Jewish boss, though their mutual grief of losing their mothers, he finds himself at a crossroads. When war comes to Italy, Angelo is faced with the question of how to best protect Eva, while simultaneously being torn with his love and commitment to God. After all, can a human serve two masters?

This novel is nothing short of a beautiful work of art, full of suspense, love, life, music, and purpose.  Amy Harmon shows readers how love will always win, despite the harshest of circumstances.  And beyond religion and race, we are ultimately all human.

I was deeply moved and frequently found myself tearing up while reading this book.  I was easily transported back in time to war-torn Europe, amidst the struggles of all people- Jewish or not.  I was impressed with the amount of research that went into this novel and the amount of time this level of accuracy must have taken, while still allowing readers to feel personally connected to the characters on the pages. I could hear Eva’s music. I could smell Florence, Italy.

“We are at war.  War has a way of stripping us of perspective.  War is about life and death, and it paints everything in shades of now or never.  We do things we otherwise wouldn’t because never is so frightening and now, so comforting. ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may die.’”

I encourage everyone to give this novel a chance, even if History “isn’t your thing”.  You may learn something while being captivated by the human spirit of these characters. This is one of the most emotional and romantic books I have ever read.  It has moved to the top of my list for not only Historical Fiction but as one of my favorite books of all time.  As a Christian, I appreciate Amy’s ability to add a touch of Faith to her novels without discriminating or coming across as preachy.  Amy embodies the verse, 1 Peter 3:15, “But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope you have.  But do this with gentleness and respect.”

Amy Harmon can write anything! From Fantasy with The Bird and the Sword, to high school with A Different Blue, and now to World War II-era Italy. The story within captivates no matter the genre.

Purchase on Amazon!


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