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Extended Audio Sample A Thread of Grace Audiobook, by Mary Doria Russell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (5,810 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Doria Russell Narrator: Cassandra Campbell Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2005 ISBN: 9781415922989
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Set in Italy during the dramatic finale of World War II, this new novel is the first in seven years by the bestselling author of The Sparrow and Children of God.

It is September 8, 1943, and fourteen-year-old Claudette Blum is learning Italian with a suitcase in her hand. She and her father are among the thousands of Jewish refugees scrambling over the Alps toward Italy, where they hope to be safe at last, now that the Italians have broken with Germany and made a separate peace with the Allies. The Blums will soon discover that Italy is anything but peaceful, as it becomes overnight an open battleground among the Nazis, the Allies, resistance fighters, Jews in hiding, and ordinary Italian civilians trying to survive.

Mary Doria Russell sets her first historical novel against this dramatic background, tracing the lives of a handful of fascinating characters. Through them, she tells the little-known but true story of the network of Italian citizens who saved the lives of forty-three thousand Jews during the war’s final phase. The result of five years of meticulous research, A Thread of Grace is an ambitious, engrossing novel of ideas, history, and marvelous characters that will please Russell’s many fans and earn her even more.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Busy, noisy and heartfelt…The intensity and intimacy of Russell’s storytelling, her sharp character writing and fierce sense of humor bring fresh immediacy to this riveting WWII saga.” 

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Edward | 2/20/2014

    " Interesting time in history and a compelling story but not her best "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gina | 2/17/2014

    " So informative. Heartbreaking and heroric at the same time. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katherine | 2/9/2014

    " I loved this book. The characters are complicated and real, the setting is interesting, and the issues raised are pertinent today. This is my favorite of Russell's books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gabriel | 2/4/2014

    " Northwest Italy during WWII & its Jewish population "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Colleen | 1/31/2014

    " Historical fiction about a little known event in WWII - the saving of over 50,000 Jews by Italians in Northwest villages. Great characterizations. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 1/7/2014

    " Excellent book on unknown latter part of WW II in northern Italy and how local farmers and townspeople dealt with German and later Allied occupation... how the locals and Jews survived the chaotic last years of the war. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Vicki L. | 12/22/2013

    " Wonderful historical fiction, WWII in France and Italy. Beautifully written, some humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amie | 12/21/2013

    " fascinating historical fiction about WW2 Italians hiding Italian and Austrian Jews in the mountains. There were multiple times were I had to gasp and reread a certain turn of phrase -- she has such an evocative way with words. I loved her 2 first-contact sci-fi books and Doc as well, but this is my new favorite. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Janet | 12/17/2013

    " Elegance and brutality in an era of genocide. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erinn | 10/14/2013

    " Beautifully written, but could not get into yet another WWII novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Suzy Prybell | 9/25/2013

    " I thought it was a really good book, until I read the end. I really disliked the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 5/9/2013

    " An inciteful depiction of the end of WWII. What life was like for millions of Italian Jews and many people across the countryside. How the war affected and dramtically changed many lives. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ruth | 2/4/2013

    " This was a wonderful book to listen to (and presumably to read). It gives an interesting view of life in Italy late in WWII and I found the characters people I would like to have met. Well worth reading. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Hillary | 11/3/2012

    " This was a very good Holocaust book set in Italy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 10/16/2012

    " I really loved this book. The characters were well drawn and how the war in that part of the world played out an unknown. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sissel | 9/3/2012

    " One of my top three favorite books! The writing, the character development was amazing. The characters stayed with me for days after finishing the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Anndee | 7/23/2012

    " Set in 1943-1945 in German occupied Italy, this book was amazingly well written. The author really has a knack for making you feel like you are there. Very powerful. Definitely not light reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anita Cox | 6/19/2011

    " I loved this book! Beautiful story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary Anne | 5/18/2011

    " Sci-Fi which I never read, but this was a book club pick and it was a GREAT book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shereekjohnson | 5/14/2011

    " This book made me want to visit Italy--and made me love the Italian people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Scott | 4/27/2011

    " Russell is a very good writer. As the flyer says, it will rip your heart out, but it is a great read. I like her other books as well. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Therese | 4/17/2011

    " So well written, suspenseful, interesting. Surprised to learn that the Italians ran an underground railroad system which saved over 43,000 Jews during WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Betty | 4/7/2011

    " Beautifully written, incredible characters, page-turner of a plot. Ought to be a movie. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gloria | 4/4/2011

    " It is a very complex story line but even when I could not read the book every day I could pick up the story and keep going. I do hope this is made into a good film, though I know that often does not happen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tasha | 3/29/2011

    " Loved this one too. It is fascinating about Italian resistance to the Nazi regime during WW2. Great characters, great story, great heroes and a little romance. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 3/20/2011

    " This book will both break your heart and make you fall in love with more than one character "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erinbarbour | 2/24/2011

    " Excellent book - could not put it down and stayed up too late because of that. Interesting to read about how much the Italian peasants assisted and harbored Jews during World War II and the sacrifices that were made. Fictional but based on interviews the author did in Italy. "

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About the Author
Author Mary Doria Russell

Mary Doria Russell is the author of several books, including The Sparrow, Children of God, A Thread of Grace, and Dreamers of the Day. Her novels have won national and international literary awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the James Tiptree Award, and the American Library Association Readers Choice Award. The Sparrow was selected as one of Entertainment Weekly’s ten best books of the year, and A Thread of Grace was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

About the Narrator

Cassandra Campbell, Audie Award–nominated narrator and winner of thirty-nine Earphones Awards, has performed in regional theaters across the country and in several off-Broadway shows at the Public Theater and the Mint Theater. In addition to narrating audiobooks, acting, and directing, she is a commercial and documentary voice-over artist.