Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men
Rachel Justice’s mother is dying of tuberculosis, but she can be saved by special treatments if Rachel can find her father in Italy and ask him for the money to save her mother’s life. Her mother once had artistic dreams, which were shattered when she became pregnant with Rachel and fled Italy and her former lover. So Rachel signs up as a photojournalist with the American army, which is in the last stages of pushing the Germans out of Italy at the end of WWII.
As adventurous as she is, Rachel is determined not to fall in love for her own logical reasons, but she obviously didn’t plan on meeting another soldier also from Philadelphia, Lieutenant Scott Lindstrom. Scott’s a monument man, a soldier who has fully embraced the job of saving Italian art that the Germans haven’t stolen or totally destroyed. Scott’s got his own reasons for being cautious with women. Yet Rachel and Scott are gradually drawn together and yet still fulfill their mission as the German soldiers are destroying Italy before they escape.
At first the reader suspects that Rachel is misguided in searching for someone whose name she doesn’t even know, but the face of war at every turn is riveting reading and moves the reader to respect her for the ways she copes with intolerable conditions within Italy. The end is romantically lovely, spiritually significant but not without surprising sacrifices that remind us that war is indeed hell! It’s obvious this is a well-researched novel that makes its blend of mystery, war, blossoming respect and love, and artistic passion all the more endearing to the reader. Shadowed by Grace is spiritual historical fiction that is sweet and inspiring but also a very realistic read.