Some books have magic. They can take to you another place in another time and let you experience all the ugly and beautiful moments. ‘From Sand & Ash’ is one such book by Amy Harmon, a New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author of ten novels including the Whitney Award winner for ‘The Law of Moses’. You can check it out here. Some of the links here are affiliate links. So if you purchase anything through them we may earn a very small commission as a result.
Amy writes stories that are bound to leave you speechless. Her writing is real, poetic and brilliant. It is unparalleled in terms of depth and purpose. From Sand and Ash is a glorious historical fiction which immerses the reader in the world of the 1940s and the Italian culture. Set against the backdrop of World War II, Amy tells a story of anguish and beauty, all wrapped up in one tale.
The novel is true to historic events, even if it is only a work of fiction. The events of World War II are described from the view of both protectors and those fighting for their lives. The main characters of the novel, Angelo and Eva have a strong connection but life choices have separated them from having a relationship. Yet, the prologue of From Sand & Ash immediately shows the caring nature of Father Angelo Bianco and his willingness to fight for Eva in a country which has turned against Jews.
The opening scene from the novel immediately makes you realize that there is a rich history following both Angelo and Eva. Readers are left craving for more information and want to know how the two friends ended up in such dire straits.
From Sand & Ash By Amy Harmon Review – UPDATED 2019
‘From Sand & Ash’ is the story of Eva and Angelo. They are children raised together in a family living in Italy but not siblings by blood. The strong connection from living under the same roof has made them consider each other to be like family. But as they grow older both Eva and Angelo come to realize there are deeper feelings at play in their relationship. A once innocent friendship evolves into something stronger, but obstacles to true love exist.
Angelo was Catholic and Eva was Jewish. This complicates things during the Second World War, and in their relationship with each other. Angelo knows that he was born to serve God and he becomes a priest, which is heart-breaking to him and Eva.
A decade later, both Eva and Angelo are leading different lives. Angelo is constantly held to higher standards as a Catholic priest but Eva’s Jewish religion is being fervently eradicated by Hitler and the Nazi ideals of purity. The world around the two protagonists is dark and dismal and each must fight their own battles but together they are always stronger.
Their lives were marked and changed forever. People were compelled to make choices and show faith and courage from deep within. Everybody had to do the right thing even if it was against their own well-being. As Italy joins the Axis powers, Eva learns that her religion defines her in a way she never knew. When Angelo starts immersing himself deeper into the faith, he realizes that his love for Eva is harder to bury than he had initially thought.
But The Bond Grows…
Angelo and Eva’s bond becomes even stronger when he decides to protect Eva from the Gestapo by hiding her within the confines of the Convent. This puts Angelo’s priesthood in grave danger. Angelo feels bound to protect Eva not just out of love, but also since he promised Eva’s father. He promised to always protect her no matter what happens during their lives. Eva soon finds out that she is not the only person hiding out in the Convent. In fact, many other Jews are also being protected from the dangers of the world outside.
From Sand & Ash Overview
‘From Sand & Ash’ is a combination of historical romance and fiction. Romance makes a big part of the story and it is quite fundamental to the success of From Sand and Ash. It is the type of romance that everyone enjoys and most readers will find themselves empathizing with the characters.
There are numerous things in the story that are serious as well as conflicting. The author has done a great job at portraying these details with ease and beauty. Readers would feel heartbreak and despair of the situations every now and then.
The only issue is that the historical narratives at times distract from the romance of the novel. Readers may find themselves skimming over texts simply to get back into the juicier parts of the story. This really depends on what type of novels you like and how fond you are of historical information in novels. If you enjoy historical romances then this book will be perfect for you.
The writing manages to depict the good and the evil, love and hatred, giving hope amidst despair. The novel has some violence, crudities and profanities including torture and murder. But this is to be expected, as it describes World War II. The best part of the story is that while hatred and evil rises, the author sprinkles it with kindness, hope and love. Amy shows once again through ‘From Sand & Ash’ that love prevails above all and true humanity still exists.
Favorite Quotes from the Book
Just like any other novel or movie, there are some standout parts in the book. It is the type of statements that have you reaching for a highlighter or which you jot down to remember for a later time. Here are some of the best quotes from the novel. They will have you thinking long after you finished reading the book.
“Music is door, and the soul escapes through melody. Even if it’s only for a few minutes. And everyone who listens is freed. Everyone who listens is elevated.”
“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.”
“Love is the only thing I believe in.”
“Fear is strange. But not the hope.”
“There was no one left to save.”
“With our hands, we reach for things we shouldn’t have and we grasp what isn’t ours. The way I have always reached for you.”
About Amy Harmon
Amy Harmon is the author of some of the best-selling novels like ‘Running Barefoot’, ‘Making Faces’, ‘Infinity + One’ and ‘A Different Blue’. Amy Harmon’s inspirational romances, historical novels and young adult books are being published in more than twelve countries across the world. She has written ten novels the latest of which is ‘From Sand & Ash’. Her recent release ‘The Bird and The Sword’ was released in 2016.
Amy knew in her early childhood that writing was what she wanted to do. She devoted time to writing stories and songs as she grew up. In the middle of wheat fields was what Amy knew to be home, without any means of entertainment, her siblings and books were the only friends during her childhood. This is how she developed a sense of what could make a great story.
‘From Sand & Ash’, as expected from a story by Amy, is full of ups and downs. It has a lot of pain and also love. It is epic and inspirational. The book, even though it describes a hard story, is easy to read and enjoyable. It is a great pick for those who liked Kristin Hannah’s ‘The Nightingale’. At the end of the story, you are sure to have a smile on your face and will be ready to share the novel with other avid book lovers.
You can get “From Sand and Ash” from Amazon here. You can also get the audiobook version there as well.
If you’re looking for something a little lighter, you can get a free copy of one of Virginia Hodgson’s romance novels here. Or, if you’re looking for something a little spicier, you can check out our Instant Gratification by Lauren Blakely Review here.