Amy Harmon is an extraordinary writer, in my opinion. From Sand and Ash is the type of narrative that readers emotionally invest in, so you carry the impressions and imagery for quite some time. Yes, the impact level is high! Amy's well-crafted way with words takes you to another place entirely, in the same way music or poetry can. It's simply beautiful, but it's also engrossing and has 'edge of your seat' suspense. The scenario is deeply painful, complex and confronting, but it's also a story of happiness, love, hope, self-sacrifice and core beliefs. The historical background and references have been well-researched and are accurate (including the networks that smuggled Jews to safety and away from certain death.) The book also has elements of Romeo and Juliet...star-crossed lovers. Angelo was only a boy of twelve when he arrived in Italy from America to live with his grandparents who work for a Jewish family, the Rossellis. Eight-year old Eva Rosselli was an open-hearted, strong willed child who looked to Angelo to be her 'brother' and friend. Time passed and they both grew older. Their relationship altered somewhat, but their destinies were mapped out for them. He was to become a Catholic Priest and she was a gifted violinist. However, in 1938, politics was about to devestate Europe completely and utterly. Eva and Angelo would need to endure horrors and life-changing events and their personal feelings would grow and morph into more than just sweet love. Amazon only allows 5 stars and I usually press 5 for any book that leaves a strong impression or impacts on me, no matter what the genre. On the odd occasion, I really want to press more than 5 stars...this is one of those occasions. Amy Harmon, your talent is amazing. Thanks for a heartbreaking and moving read that ticked all the boxes for 'a keeper' in my elibrary. Really, I'm struggling to express how good this book is!
“I love you. I have always loved you, and I will always love you.” When I had read that Amy Harmon was writing and historical romance set in Florence during WW2, I was extremely excited and couldn't wait to read it, and I was not disappointed. Amy has become one of my favourite authors and her ability to write such beautiful stories is simple amazing! In this book From Sand and Ash we follow the lives of two young lovers Angelo and Eva and their struggles and ability to always come back to each other through this terrible time in history. This book showed how the human spirit can be strong and endure the most horrible things but still hold on to hope, love and courage! Bravo Amy for writing a story that was simply Epic!!!
From Sand and Ash is set in Italy, during the horrific time of World War II. The amount of research the author has done for this book is evident with every chapter. A fictional couple in a story based on true events that will have you holding your breath at every turn.
“I would do anything for you, Eva. Anything.” He thought of what Camillo had said about not only blessing lives, but saving Jewish lives, and it gave him the strength to continue. “But I can’t have you and the church. I need the church, Eva. I need the church, and I believe the church needs me.”
I loved the forbidden romance between our two main characters, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco. A Jewish girl and a Catholic boy who become friends as children, when Angelo moves from America to live with Eva's family. Angelo grows up to become a priest, despite his feelings toward Eva and her own for him. Eva and Angelo are two well developed characters, whose spirits shine through with each trial and tribulation encountered. In the beginning I was hooked by the struggle and angst with these two characters. Then I quickly found myself utterly immersed into their world when chaos ensued and life as they knew it started to irrevocably change. With death and danger lurking around every corner, following their every step, doubt sets in, and priorities and commitments may change. Even though I'd call this book a historical romance, the time period it's set in makes it so much more than that.
“The only thing that matters to me, the only thing in this whole world that truly scares me, is something happening to you. Do you know that? I think I could face anything, endure anything, if I knew for sure you were safe and well. I cannot serve the way I need to serve, I can’t be the kind of priest I need to be, and be full of fear. My faith is being drowned by my fear for you.”
Told in third person, Amy Harmon gifts us with a dual POV. I think this helped the story flow more smoothly for me, as I can sometimes struggle with third person when the characters perspectives aren't very clear. The writing carries Amy's signature style, fluently elegant and simply mesmerising. The fear, suspense and sorrow gripped my heart the whole way through this story. The imagery and feelings evoked so intense that I felt as though I was watching it all play out in front of me whilst reading. The events that take place are truly heart breaking to read about, but within the cracks of heartbreak, faith and love find a way to seep in. Amy Harmon has done a wonderful job portraying this. I finished this story feeling both heavy and light hearted at the same time. A powerful, deeply touching and profound love story that walks a dangerous line somewhere between fear and hope.
Set in Italy in WWII, From Sand and Ash tells of the forbidden love between a Jewish woman and a priest when the country is occupied by the Germans. They must put their love aside to help the Jews to hide or escape from the Gestapo. It is a story of survival against all odds.
This book completely took me captive. It was a nail-biting, emotional roller-coaster ride, and I found a few times that I had to put the book down to calm my emotions and gather my thoughts. I found some parts confronting, especially as some of the events are factual. However, From Sand and Ash also showed the strength, bravery and faith of others.
I know that an author has succeeded with her writing when I am still thinking about the book days/weeks later and discussing points/characters/events with family and friends
If you love a beautifully written book that has fleshed out, unforgettable characters in a riveting, brutal, emotional story, then you must read this book.
"From Sand and Ash" is a profoundly moving book which is well researched and beautifully written. Amy Harmon has brought the horrors of the WW2 to the light of today in the hope that we do not commit the same mistakes. Thoroughly recommended.
I have never read a book thar brought such emotions in me, it is a must read for the younger generation as well ,to show how a whole population suffered at the hands of the Nazi and the utter brutality instigated by that madman Adolf Hitler. I congratulate the author on her great effort
Amy Harmon's From Sand and Ash is a book I enjoyed immensely. Not only is it well-written, it is easy to read and caught my interest from the very first chapter, not letting go of it all the way to the last chapter. The style is reminiscent of The Girl on the Trail. Nothing beats a great story that is so true to life. My kudos.