Once Upon A Book Club Box: February
Hello, brilliant readers!
I have to admit that it took me a little while to get to the February box because the book at the center of the experience is "From Sand and Ash," which is set during World War II, and I've read more WWII centric books in the past nine months than I have in my entire life thus far. And while I've enjoyed some more than others, recently they all seem to hit a little too close to home, reminding me of the kinds of hatred and xenophobia that is all too rampant today.
Personal worries aside, this was, as always, a beautiful experience with Once Upon A Book Club Box. The story came from a unique point of view, sharing the world of Jews and Catholics in Italy during the war. I'm much more used to stories set in Poland, Germany, England, and France, so a lot of the information was new to me. I appreciated that Amy Harmon included in her notes at the end just how much of the story was based in fact. For a longer review check out my Goodreads review.
From Sand and Ash, Amy Harmon
Italy, 1943—Germany occupies much of the country, placing the Jewish population in grave danger during World War II.
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.
Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.
But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.
Having read the book I'm hard pressed to say if there is a specific "most difficult decision of all," it feels more like a catchy bit of copy than an indicator of what to expect. Rather each character is determined to live, to try and do more survive, and to what drives each of them is connected, but unique. I don't want to share more and potentially spoil this wonderful book for you!
The first gift is inspired by Eva and the moment when she has to pull her fake documents out of her bag for German officers. This bag is a lovely slice of sunshine and it will serve as the perfect accessory for some many summer outfits.
The next gift comes with an infuriating and heartbreaking movement when Eva discovers that gold items taken from Jewish locals that were just sitting in a barrel in an unused room, treated like useless trash. In the hoard of gold items she finds her cousin's wedding ring and takes it to return to her.
Once again beauty meets heartache in the unwrapping of this gift. At this point in the story is character who has been creating false documents to help keep Jews save is killed, but Eva manages to still get the identification papers from the body.
I love the texture and color of this small clutch/pouch.
The last gift is a candle covered in music notes. I don't want to share too much about what inspired this gift in case someone hasn't read the book yet and would like to, because this gift is opened on the last page of the story, just before the epilogue.
This month's box was the perfect blend of immersion in the story, and lovely gifts that can be frequently used in the months to come.
If adult fiction isn't your thing, then don't forget that a limited amount of orders will open up for the Young Adult box starting on March 15!
The YA boxes will be shipped in April. Stay tuned on here/Instagram for special deals as we get closer to debut date.