Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men by Cara Putman Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: B&H Books Publication Date: January 1, 2014
Rachel Justice has one thing on her mind: saving her mother from a life threatening illness. Unfortunately, there are not many options for a single young woman during WWII. In fact, the only thing that she can truly consider is taking a dangerous assignment to the front lines in Europe as a photojournalist. With no one but her mother as family, there’s no one but Rachel to help her mother. There’s also no one to stop her from accepting this assignment. So young Rachel steps into the middle of a war with only her camera and her determination.
Where’s Rachel’s father? That’s one of the big questions that’s driving Rachel. A mystery her whole life, the question of her parentage has haunted her. Assuming from the numerous clues that he is an artist, the only thing she knows for sure is that he is an Italian. Armed with a sketchbook and some initials, she hopes that her new job will get her to an area where she can ask questions and find out who he is. Her hope is that maybe he’ll have the money to help her mother with treatments that could save her life.
When she arrives in Italy, she’s placed under the supervision and care of Scott Lindstrom. Scott’s mission also involves art in the war torn country, except he’s there to track it down and rescue it from the Germans. Scott is one of the Monuments Men. As an art historian, he studied in Italy, making him perfect for this job.
Set in war ravaged Italy, Shadowed by Grace is a stunning piece of historical fiction. As the characters weave their way back and forth over the front lines, we get pieces of history, fact, and art that make it a far richer experience than the typical historical novel. The story was jam packed with a good amount of mystery and adventure that kept me interested throughout. I loved the characters and the way that Putman switched between POV to keep it fresh. Even though there was a part of the plot that I’d guessed before the end, it still kept me engaged and surprised me at the way it turned out.
I enjoyed this book. As I was reading, I was reminded at times of the Gates of Zion by Brock and Bodie Thoene. For anyone who knows me, this is high praise as these are the books that made me want to spend my life crafting stories.
If you love historicals, you’ll love this one. Don’t miss it!