Thursday, January 30, 2014

Shadowed by Grace by Cara Putman (Blog Tour & Review)

Shadowed by Grace
by Cara Putman
Christian Fiction / Historical
Available January 2014
B&H Books
352 pages



About the Book
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 what will become the Monuments Men effort to save great monuments and works of art from the Third Reich. Soon enough she will find more than she ever imagined—in war, in love, and in God.

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My Thoughts
Cara Putman's Shadowed by Grace gives readers a unique glimpse into a part of World War II that I would guess most readers are not familiar with. This novel follows the journey of Scott, a lieutenant in the US Army whose mission is to track down and protect priceless works of art in Europe. We also get to meet Rachel, who is sent to Italy to photograph the war (a bit unusual for a female during this time) and is searching for the father she has never met. So it's quite a different perspective on World War II, and I was looking forward to seeing how it played out!

The book moved at a slower pace, building slowly rather than being packed full of action. As the story gradually built, I became engaged. While the story interested me, I felt that it wasn't always developed as fully as I would have liked. I felt this problem across the board, with character development, plotting, setting development, etc. Rachel had some issues that were introduced early on, but I never felt like things were fully explained or that we got to see her full character. Additionally, with her search for her father, that story line seemed to be a major one to the book but wrapped up very quickly in the last few pages. As far as the story itself, there were times when I wasn't fully caught up in it. It seemed the author was telling me what was happening more than drawing me in. I wanted to fully engage, but I just couldn't. I also felt that the story was a little "modern." Without the specific references to WWII, this could have been just about any wartime setting. There were several times when I just wanted ... more. One last "complaint" would be that the romance seemed a bit unlikely at times. There were several instances of great danger/trauma followed immediately by a passionate kiss. I just wasn't sure how probable that would have been in the midst of war and in the 40s.

Despite these things, I still enjoyed the book. I enjoyed my "visit" to Italy (who wouldn't?!) and thought the art history details were neatly woven into the story. I felt that these tidbits enhanced rather than detracted from the story, and now I'm itching to go check out some of this art for myself! I'm also very intrigued to learn more about the Monuments Men and will definitely be seeing the movie that releases next month. Readers who enjoy WWII novels, art, and/or sweet romance will enjoy Shadowed by Grace. [3.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from B&H Books through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
Cara C. Putman graduated high school at 16, college at 20, and completed her law degree at 27. The best-selling author of more than a dozen books, Cara is active in women's ministry at her church, teaches graduate courses at Purdue University, practices law, and is a homeschooling mom. She lives with her husband and 4 children in Indiana.

Cara Putman Online
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