A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Of Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon- Feature and Review


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.


From Sand and AshFrom Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon is a 2016 Lake Union publication.

Gritty, heart wrenching, tragic, but so very beautiful and passionate-

I’ve been meaning to read this book for several years- yes- years. It’s been languishing on my Kindle as first one obstacle, then another got in the way of my reading it. I knew it was a book I’d want to digest slowly and take my time with, so despite the delay, I think this was the best time to absorb such a rich, engrossing tale.

“My father told me once that we are on earth to learn. God wants us to receive everything that life was meant to teach Then we take what we’ve learned, and it becomes our offering to God, and to mankind. But, we have to live in order to learn. And sometimes we have to fight in order to live."

Angelo is sent from the United States to Italy, where he is taken in by the Rosselli family. He and Eva grew up together like siblings, but Eva has known in her heart, right from the start that her love for Angelo goes much deeper, is much stronger. However, Angelo has been prepped and pressured from a young age to enter the priesthood, which means a romantic relationship with Eva is off the table, even though his feelings match hers.

But, with the outbreak of World War Two, when fascism take hold and then reigns, as Jews, Eva and her family become targets and are placed in extreme danger. Angelo makes it is life’s mission to keep Eva alive, despite the danger and obvious risks.

“They can take our homes, our possessions. Our families. Our lives.… 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.”

But, Eva refuses to allow herself to be hidden away, allowing Angelo to bear the brunt of everything, while her family and so many others are being persecuted. Together, they face obstacles and endure heartbreak, amid the joy of ecstasy, with the power of their faith and love as the driving force that gives them the strength, the will, and the hope to make it out alive.

“Life is a long note; it persists without variance, without wavering. There is no cessation in sound or pause in tempo. It continues on, and we must master it, or it will master us.”

This story took my breath away. So much death, heartbreak, and grief, danger, intrigue and suspense, so many moral dilemmas and personal crisis of faith, so much sacrifice, so much yearning. This story was painful to read in many ways, very intense and at times emotionally draining.

But, there is nothing, but nothing, better than an epic love story- nothing makes my heart swell quite like 'love conquering all', and in the end, it certainly did do that, propelled, no doubt, by hope. (No naysayers- please! Never underestimate the power of love, faith, hope, forgiveness and redemption!!)

This author did an incredible amount of research, from the dialogue, the historical details, all while creating a taut atmosphere, right along with all the gut punching emotions, making the reader feel as though they are living events right along side Eva and Angelo.

In my mind this is one of those books that everyone should read. I learned a lot of historical detail I was unaware of, and are topics I rarely hear discussed about the second world war. But, it is also a book that examines the human spirit in the face of unfathomable adversity. It’s about keeping your own value system while acknowledging and accepting someone else’s beliefs, loving them for who and what they are, unconditionally.

I can’t say enough about this story. It is everything I had been told it was and much more besides!! This story reminds me and should be a reminder to all – while believing in hope may seem false and futile- never give up, never stop fighting, because there really is and always will be- hope!!

Fantastic story!!

I’m on a roll this summer! I can’t remember a time when I’ve handed out so many five -star reviews in a row!! But, I hope the streak continues for a long time!! 5 +++ stars!!





Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at www.authoramyharmon.com.

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