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Extended Audio Sample A Thread of Grace Audiobook, by Mary Doria Russell Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.26 out of 54.26 out of 54.26 out of 54.26 out of 54.26 out of 5 4.26 (31 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mary Doria Russell Narrator: Jay Gregory Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2005 ISBN: 9780739318577
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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. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Mary Doria Russell’s fans (and aren’t we all?) will rejoice to see her new novel on the shelves. A Thread of Grace is as ambitious, beautiful, tense, and transforming as any of us could have hoped. Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
  • Fans of Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow and Children of God will be thrilled by her masterful new novel. A Thread of Grace is a rich, multi-layered narrative that offers fresh insight into a devastating time in world affairs. A story of love and war, it speaks to the resilience and beauty of the human spirit in the midst of unimaginable horror. It is, unquestionably, a literary triumph. David Morrell, author of The Brotherhood of the Rose and First Blood
  • Essential reading for people who love Italy. You will lose yourself completely in this ecumenical epic of Italians working together to save Jewish refugees during the German Occupation of 1943-1944. Russell has a deep empathy for her characters and writes with genius about the horrors of guerrilla war. This wholly absorbing historical novel ends with perhaps the most moving coda in fictional history. Susan Cahill, author/editor of Desiring Italy and The Smiles of Rome

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Erinbarbour | 2/20/2014

    " 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. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gail Mchugh | 2/20/2014

    " I thought this was an excellent read. Ms. Russell brought the war home to me. I did not realize what the Italian people faced during the Second World War. I cried for the Jewish population. I cried for the Italian Jews. I cried for the partisans. I cried for all the people who tried to help. I wept for those who died innocently. Thank you Ms. Russell for helping me see a group of heroes I would never have imagined. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chandra | 2/7/2014

    " sad topic but draws you in "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jen Deboskey | 2/7/2014

    " It will take a while to get into because of all the separate characters and plotlines but it is well worth the effort! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Donna | 1/31/2014

    " 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 Jane Niemeyer | 1/24/2014

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

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vicki | 1/24/2014

    " Extreme views of Nazi occupied Italy, those of the disturbed (nazi's), and those of the innocents (Jews and those harboring them). Worth the read, gives a different story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Christina | 1/13/2014

    " I got about 30 pages into this book and then never really wanted to finish it. So, that's how I feel about it. Distinctly meh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mom | 1/10/2014

    " Excellent WWII story set in Northern Itlay "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie White | 1/9/2014

    " Loved this WWII book! Sometimes difficult to follow who is who because they change their names when they go underground but worth the struggle. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kristine | 1/5/2014

    " I think this is one of the best books I've ever read. I loved the character development. I really felt like I knew each and every person in the novel. And the story was incredible. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth Zeolla | 12/24/2013

    " This book is my go-to recommend for everyone looking for a wonderful story. Actually, I want to option it for a mini-series or movie. Any producers out there? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tara Trostel | 12/20/2013

    " The mind wandered. I probably would not have finished it if I weren't seeing Mary Doria Russell this week at the Mercantile Library. She's a beautiful writer and the characters were well drawn. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeana | 10/30/2013

    " A book set in Italy during World War II. Haunting and inspiring. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Guy | 5/19/2013

    " Riveting characterizations of European Jews, partisans, Nazi's, nihilists and spritualists, uplifting and brutal combined, good history of the complexities and tragedy of WWII in Italy. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy | 3/26/2013

    " great history, enough of a story to keep me interested. typical russell style. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kara Lewis | 12/24/2012

    " This was written by Mary Doria Russell, who wrote my favorite book of all time, but I really didn't like this one. Took me about 300 pages to care about any of the characters or be able to keep any of them straight, and by that time, it was too late to save the book for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tina | 11/30/2012

    " This book was confusing because it had too many characters and even with the glossary in the front it was hard to follow. I liked many of the storylines, characters and the subject matter. I just wish the story was more concise. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sonja | 9/30/2012

    " Very sad story about WWII in Italy and how the people there saved many Jews who were fleeing Germany. It was hard to read because of all the suffering. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Todd | 9/18/2012

    " As far as historical fiction goes, this may be at the top of my list. I learned a lot about Italy during WWII and Russell proves again to be a great writer. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 1/15/2012

    " A crammy wordhole of a heartfelt read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sandy | 8/3/2011

    " 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 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

Jay Gregory is a veteran New York actor of stage, film, and television. He can be heard in a number of informational narrations on the Discovery Channel, TLC, and PBS and has a wide range of audiobooks to his credit.