Book Review: From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

 

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon is a beautiful story about Angelo Bianco, a young priest, and his childhood friend, a violinist named Eva Rosselli.

Set in Italy during the German Occupation, this is a tale of a passionate and forbidden love in a time where things were so uncertain, and full of obstacles.

The kind of novel that I had never thought that would make me feel so emotional while reading it. Seriously, it was that engrossing and heartbreaking to read.

Furthermore, the author of this inspiring story had captured its readers by giving them a glimpse on how these people from all the countries that were invaded by the Germans lived during those times. So as a reader, I was painfully hit hard of the idea on how arduous it is for them to live a life in fear, but at the same time, trying to be brave and strong as they cling to the hope that one day, they will be able to see the light of a newer and brighter world. A world in which everyone would live in peace and harmony – without any judgment or discrimination just because they have a different race or religion. And that it also doesn’t matter who they are because what matters most is the sense of respect, kindness, and love for one another.

For sure, every reader who have already read the book, knew that the story of Angelo and Eva is something that they will never ever forget. Not just because of their love story, but more on how this couple have been such an inspiration, and despite the fact that Angelo is a Catholic (and a priest), and Eva being a Jewish. Such obstacles have really been a test on how strong is their love for one another. Using that love not just for themselves, but also offering it all to God; asking for the strength and courage to guide them in helping the Jews in their community. Risking their lives because they want to fight for justice because of all the inhumane and cruel things that they’ve witnessed from the German soldiers and officials.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

So before I wrap it up this blog of mine, I would like to share that before I’ve finished reading the novel, I already knew that this one have definitely made it at the top of list as one of the best books that I’ve ever read. For it was so heartbreakingly beautiful, and I still haven’t recovered from it. And just thinking about it every now and then gives me that emotional feeling that I just couldn’t entirely explain.

Well yes, it’s a fiction, but all the details about the invasion that were described in the story were true. A reminder, especially after so many decades had passed, that one should always hope and pray that something like that should never happen again, and to keep the faith that the good will always triumph over evil.

Plus, even if I’m a person who doesn’t entirely practice her religion, but I faithfully believe in God. That I believe, not in its traditions, but in humanity’s faith to do good things.

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And as a bonus, below are the following quotes that I’ve highlighted while reading the book.

“They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives. They can drive us out, like they’ve driven us out before. They can humiliate us and dehumanize us. But they cannot take our thoughts. They cannot take our talents. They cannot take our knowledge, or our memories, or our minds. In music there is no bondage. Music is a door, and the soul escapes through the melody.”

“Love had not made them poor. Love had made them wealthy. In that moment, they were royalty, a king of fortune and a queen of destiny, embracing a tiny prince of peace.”

“God makes me strong. He gives me courage. He gives me peace. He gives me purpose.”

“Sand and ash. The ingredients of glass. Such beauty created from nothing. It had been something Babbo had marveled about and something she’d never understood. From sand and ash, rebirth. From sand and ash, new life. With every song and with every prayer, with every small rebellion, Eva felt reborn, renewed, and she vowed to press on. She vowed to push back, to make glass from the ashes, and that courage was a victory in itself. Eva”

“Does it matter how we pray, if our devotion is pure, if our love for him leads us to love and serve and forgive and be better?”

“But we have to live in order to learn. And sometimes we have to fight in order to live.”

By the way, if you want a copy of this book. You can buy it online with a free shipping worldwide at Book Depository.

Well that’s it for now and till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon

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The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (Book Review)

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GOODREADS REVIEW:

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

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MY BOOK REVIEW:

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is a heartwarming and delightful novel to read. The kind of book that you will certainly recommend to every readers out there, and would love to read all over again.

The thing is that I’ am so not into historical fictions (especially when you’re talking about the “German Occupation”). But unexpectedly, I really enjoyed my time getting into the world of Juliet Ashton and the residents of Guernsey. A story that I was looking out into my Goodreads account from time to time – including its ratings and reviews. However, it really took me awhile to give this one a try (years actually). So a few weeks ago, I’ve decided to buy a second hand copy of the 1st edition on eBay for a very good price, and I’m just glad that I took the risk of buying the novel because it was totally worth it.

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For the story wasn’t just unforgettable, but also a very well written historical and epistolary novel. Plus, the way the book was written by its two authors, Mary Ann Shafer and Annie, Barrows, was somewhat easy on the eye, and affable to its readers. Making them feel like they were being transported in a different era of bookworms and writers. A world in which the simple pleasures of reading gives comfort and solace to those people who were unfortunate to experience such hard and difficult times.

And I must say, as a reader of this wonderful tale of a young authoress who’ve found such new friends, family, and home in a small island, I find the story entirely charming, witty, smart, and sweet. Honestly, there a lot of words to describe it. Well apart from that, I would also like to point out that it was a very insightful one to read because it gave me an idea on how each individual (including its society) were changed during and after the war. Moreover, some knowledge of the famous books and authors in the early 1900’s. Hmm, I guess every generation has its own taste of books and genre.
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Then another thing that made me so happy about the book is that the film adaptation is officially on its way starring Lily James (Downton Abbey), Michiel Huisman (Game of Thrones), Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey), and Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey). For more updates on the upcoming movie you can just check it out on IMDb.com, and at present the current status is filming.

So the excitement was really there when I’ve first heard the news, and I just hope that it’s going to be a well-made film adaptation.

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Well, that’s it for now. Till my next book review.

Thank you so much for reading.