Friday, January 17, 2014

Book Report & Giveaway: Shadowed by Grace, by Cara Putman

Happy sigh. Happy contented sigh. Do you now what it's like when you read a book and you just...sigh in delight? Satisfied. That's how I feel. I've read Cara Putman's books before but this one? It's her best.

This is a story of Monuments Men -- the men of World War II who protected the ancient arts from the Nazi war machine. And of a young photo journalist whose drive to find her father is the only path to saving her mother's life. And it's in Italy. I will go back to Italy any way I can. If I can't sit in that little cafe sipping espresso in Tuscany, then I'll do it through a book. And duck, as planes zoom overhead and a handsome G.I. with an insatiable quench for the arts shields me with his protective arms.

Yeah. I think I got a little too emotionally involved.

Get this quote, straight from the book. "Out of the destruction the church seemed to whisper there was still hope. She longed to believe it. That hope waited to be grasped with both hands and yanked to her heart".

Happy sigh.

Crazy stuff went on in protecting priceless works of art during World War II. Cara's characters, Scott and Rachel are layered, deep, and take the reader into the intrigue of the war. The spiriting away of inanimate objects that captivated the soul of a nation. Hiding them, shielding them. In the same way, Rachel experiences her own story of a nation that claims half of her blood and shields its own secrets of her birth.

Here's the back cover:

She found peace in a time of war.
Desperate to save her dying mother, an American woman accepts her newspaper’s assignment to travel to Italy where she takes photographs dangerously close to the front lines during World War II. But Rachel’s real motive in this journey is to find the father she never knew, an artist she hopes can offer the comfort and support both she and her mother need to survive at such a desperate time.
In her quest, Rachel becomes involved with the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

You will go crazy over this one and of course we're giving away a copy. BUT! Here's something a little extra, Cara is joining us for COFFEE on Monday at my Facebook page from 10am-Noon CST. Like the page if you haven't already. Then, come visit! Cara will be responding to your posts LIVE! and we'll be giving away Tuscan soap, Coffee and other items. Not to mention, everyone who joins the coffee chat will get an entry into the drawing and the winner will be announced here on the blog next Friday.

So tell us ... what is YOUR favorite part about World War II history OR what monument would you weep if it had been lost from us forever?


Jaime Wright - 

Spirited and gritty turn-of-the-century romance stained with suspense. Youth leader. Professional Coffee Drinker. Works in HR and specializes in sarcasm :) - Represented by: Books & Such Literary Agency

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  1. As I mentioned previously my father-in- law served in World War II so I've gotten first hand accounts from his perspective. Everyday we're losing more and more veterans from that war, the greatest generation! One story he told us that stuck in my mind was he got shore leave in New York City but hadn't received his pay, he had very little money but he was hungry. The only thing he could afford was some raw oysters. He didn't like them but managed to get them down by dousing them with ketchup!

    1. ketchup covered raw oysters??? :( :( :(

    2. What a story, Gail. I don't think I could choke them down even with ketchup!

  2. My favorite part of World War II is that my grandpa was stationed in Northern Ireland during that time. That's where he met my grandma and married her. A great love story !
    Campbellamyd at gmail dot com

    1. Now THAT is a story I'd like to hear more of!

    2. There are so many sweet stories like that from the war!

  3. I can't wait to read Cara's story!! Isn't there a movie coming out about Monument Men? How timely! I'd love to join you on Monday! WWII is a favorite of mine. My grandfather was a tank driver in Germany and thankfully, he lived to tell of his experiences. Great review, Jaime. :)

    1. I know. I love WWII as well. I have all my Grampa's letters, ARMY trunk, things he brought home (Japanese flag, etc). I'd love to write WWII but somehow, I just enjoy reading it more... YES! Monuments Men comes out on film in February. Crazy timing, huh? :)

    2. Gabrielle, the Monuments Men movie releases February 7th. I think you know where I'll be that night :-)

  4. Fav part? that I got 2 lovely English aunts b/c of my uncles having been in England during wartime! yep. LuV that!
    I can't believe all the WWII books out there. LM Montgomery's book 'Rilla' is my fave as she wrote it at the time about the war efforts of the women and girls left at home and the relational impact of their men being gone.. fantastic book from an amazingly unique perspective.
    Def looking forward to Cara's look back at this particular segment and will do my best to be there Monday :)) Thanks for creating the opps to meet and greet!

    1. Oh can I say, if "Cherrytea" is your surname I'm completely jealous? And RILLA is my FAVORITE LM Montgomery book too. Please stick around our blog, it'd be fun to get to know you more :)

    2. I'd forgotten that was part of Rilla's story. I'll have to reread it!

  5. Oh goodness, I wouldn't know where to start. My first pick is art - the Mona Lisa. I know, silly, but that picture is inspiring with it's mystery. Oh and Van Gogh's Starry Night is amazing too. Hmmm, how about the liberty bell or Declaration of Independence. :) The book sounds amazing!

  6. Great review, Jaime!

    You would have sold me on Shadowed By Grace - if I wasn't already! I love the story line, and have wanted to read the book since the first review I read. Had never heard of the Monument Men, and interested in learning more about them.

    I enjoy war novels - the stories of WWII have always, to me, painted a picture of a united nation, more so than later wars - to my thinking! I would hate to think of losing any of our national treasures - the Statute of Liberty, the relics of Philadephia, the monuments in D.C., etc.!!


    1. Bonnie, I agree. The thought of losing our national treasures as was threatened during the war of 1812 is heart-breaking. I think that's why this time and this group of men inspired a novel!

  7. Hi Jaime!
    I just thought I'd add my own two cents worth. :)
    I don't think getting emotionally involved in a book is necessarily a bad thing - it just means that the writing was excellent and that the story drew you in. I believe it's the mark of a wonderful storyteller, when they write a book that touches your heart and sticks with you for days to come.
    There's a favorite part of WWII? Sorry, I'm joking. It just sounds wrong in my mind, asking what someone's favorite part of a war is. Hmm, I think my favorite part of the history is how most people rallied around those fighting, around the allied nations who were battling Germany. The U.S. didn't say, "clean up your own mess," instead, we jumped into the fight and made it our own. The people stateside also did their part. Conserving needed materials and working hard to make up for those that were overseas fighting. I love reading books set during WWII (Sarah Sundin's are excellent)! They often show a different time in our nation's history. A time when everyone rallied around the oppressed and said they wouldn't allow it any longer. It was a time of bravery and being willing to help a neighbor. Most of those characteristics are hidden now. People turn a blind eye to what's happening all around them, because they simply don't want to or they are afraid to get involved.
    Sorry, I'll get off my soapbox now. I was reading a book that talked a lot about that and I still haven't settled down, yet.

  8. Sarah, I love WWII novels for the same reason. There was such a coming together. I often wonder if we would do the same if called upon to make similar sacrifices. I hope so!


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