Attorney, wife and mom Cara C. Putman has managed to do it
again—release a thought-provoking, historical romance novel that will transport
you to another time and place. Her latest novel is called
Shadowed by Grace: A Story of Monuments Men (B&H Books).
subtitle for this novel is A Story of Monuments Men. Some people have probably
never heard of the Monuments Men–can you tell us who they were?
Monuments Men were an elite group of men from the United States, Britain and
Canada who were tasked with saving Western Civilization. They were art museum
curators, architects, sculptors and the future founder of the NYC Ballet. Most
weren’t soldiers, but had to go through basic training before being shipped to
Europe to go toe to toe with officers on what needed to be protected, shoring
up damaged cathedrals and other landmarks, and also locating artwork that had
disappeared or been damaged in the war.
it was the first war to have widespread aerial bombing, the art community in
Europe and the United States quickly recognized the need for a plan to save the
thousands of years of culture and art located across Europe.
you get the initial idea for this story?
Robert Edsel’s nonfiction book about the Monuments Men and was immediately
captivated. I’ve long loved World War II history, and this was an aspect of it
I’d never been exposed to. Everyone I mentioned it to was equally fascinated so
I started working through characters and plot for a story that would focus on
these unique and committed men.
written contemporary romances and historical ones–which one do you prefer?
enjoy both, I have a passion for the World War II novels. I love finding those
unique, unknown stories and making them approachable to readers who would never
pick up a non-fiction book. My hope is that we wouldn’t lose the stories of the
Greatest Generation, and I want to be a part of capturing them.
of research went into crafting this novel?
amazing amount. Not only did I have to research the battles which are a
backdrop, I had to research the Monuments Men, women war correspondents and
photojournalists. Then there was researching the war from the Italian
perspective and researching Italy itself. Scenes were set in Naples, Rome, the
Vatican and Florence plus a gorgeous castle in Tuscany. Each element required
its own research. Because I’m retelling real events with my characters, I
strive to get the details as accurate as possible and that requires research.
this book in gorgeous Italy. Have you ever been to Italy and if so, what is
your favorite part of the country?
I haven’t had the good fortune to travel to Italy
yet. We spent the summer of 2012 in Germany while I taught a graduate class in
Hannover, and I longed to get down there but it didn’t work out. I keep telling
my husband that it would be the perfect 20th anniversary trip in a couple
years. I’ve always wanted to see Italy, now it’s a deep longing. And I want to
spend the night at Montegufoni where Rachel and Scott are headquartered for
part of the book.