Reading guide for A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Thread of Grace

A Novel

by Mary Doria Russell

A Thread of Grace
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 448 pages
    Nov 2005, 464 pages

  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Renzo and Schramm have both committed crimes against civilians during war, but the priest Don Osvaldo feels there is some essential difference between the two men's actions. Is the difference merely a matter of scale, or is there an ethical difference? Does your emotional response to each character color your opinion?

  2. Renzo attempts to remain apolitical during the Nazi occupation. Was that a moral position or should he have fought the Nazis from the beginning? Is moderation or neutrality possible or even desirable during war?

  3. We are accustomed to admiring the partisan resistance to German occupation during World War II. In today's world there are many places where armed resistance to occupying forces is called “terrorism.” What makes a resistance legitimate? Does the motive of the occupying force make any difference?

  4. Claudette's children never understand her, and she dies a mystery to them. Have you been affected by the war experiences of a family member? Were you aware of how their experiences deformed them?

  5. Was Iacopo Soncini a bad husband or a good rabbi? How does having a family change the responsibilities of the clergy?

  6. Imagine that you heard Schramm's confession at the beginning of the book. If you were Don Osvaldo, what would you have told Schramm? Are there unforgivable sins?

  7. Was Schramm's remorse genuine at the end of the book? Why did he put his uniform back on when he was ordered to by the German officer at the hospital?

  8. How would you feel about a moral universe where Schramm went to heaven and Renzo went to hell?

  9. People who didn't live through World War II often believe they'd have hidden someone like Anne Frank or helped refugees from Nazi Germany the way the Italian peasants did. What would be an analogous risk today?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Ballantine Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member
and discover your next great read!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Crossing the Horizon
    Crossing the Horizon
    by Laurie Notaro
    In Crossing the Horizon, Laurie Notaro takes us back to a time when flying was a rare and risky ...
  • Book Jacket
    Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions
    by Mario Giordano
    Munich matron and self-described worldly sophisticate, Isolde Oberreiter, has decided to retire to a...
  • Book Jacket: Of Arms and Artists
    Of Arms and Artists
    by Paul Staiti
    In the late eighteenth-century, the United States of America was still an emerging country, ...
Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Bone Tree
by Greg Iles

An epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Les Parisiennes
    by Anne Sebba

    How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died under Nazi occupation.

    Read Member Reviews

Win this book!
Win The World of Poldark

Win the book & DVD

Enter to win The World of Poldark and the full first series on DVD.


Word Play

Solve this clue:

One S D N M A S

and be entered to win..

Books that     

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.


Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!

Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.