I discovered this "little" book in a box of my grandpa's things after he passed away. I was ten, and I read it in two days. This is the book that gave me both a love of reading, and of the wounded hero.
This classic gem found me exactly when I needed it most. It revived my faith and gave me hope. I read it cover to cover in a single day, and reread it every few years.
This novel laid a foundation for my love of historical fiction. It is one of the few novels I own in hardback and won't lend out.
This novel brought my best friend and writing partner into my life. It spawned the name of my fur child, Eric T. when he showed up on my porch all feet and ribs in a "who rescued who" situation.
This novel gutted me as reader in the best possible way. It also introduced me to Amy Harmon's work, and after a brief moment of telling myself I'll never write anything this good, why am I even trying (this is a thing) I got right back to work.
My brother called me to tell me I had to read this. He is never wrong about me or great novels, and I loved everything about this novel. EVERYTHING. It is all that is good about anti-hero protagonists, book lovers, and the absolute truth behind the adage "If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans."
4 years of college had destroyed my love of reading. This is also "a thing" and sadly not everyone recovers. When my social media kept putting this book, its characters, and its rabid readers in my face, I decided to check it out. The rest is history, and this novel and subsequent ones in the series revived my love of reading.
I wanted my brother to read the Twilight books so in exchange I had to agree to read the Harry Potter books. These were rising to cultural phenomena while I had been in college so I was late to the party. But again, my brother is never wrong about these things and I am so glad!
This novel is everything, EVERYTHING that is great about historical fiction. Listening to the preface, I was in tears at its end, having been an author contemplating suicide and asking God for a way out that would come in the form of a great story, Mark and I had that in common. This novel is so incredibly well written and I learned so much about the "forgotten frontier" of Italy during World War II, humanity, and fiction craft from this novel. My brother read it and felt the same, and we are eagerly anticipating the film starring Tom Holland as Pino.
In support of the #ownvoices author movement and expand my perspective during Black History month in 2017, this was recommended by an author friend of color in her suggested reading list. This novel is not only well written, but brought home to me in a way no documentary ever could, the reality of the slave experience from an enslaved person, not from the white savior perspective most prevalent in traditionally published fiction. I highly encourage anyone who loves reading to learn about Madam C.J. Walker and her incredible history, especially for fans of Mary Kay Ash.