Wednesday 8 February 2012

Review: The Golden Hour - Margaret Wurtele

Genre: Historical Fiction (or where did that line go now again)
Pages. 329
Published: Feb 7th, 2012
Publisher: New American Library
Source: For review
In this stunning debut set in the summer of 1944 in Tuscany, Giovanna Bellini, the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and vineyard owner, has just turned seventeen and is on the cusp of adulthood. War bears down on her peaceful little village after the Italians sign a separate peace with the Allies-transforming the Germans into an occupying army.

But when her brother joins the Resistance, he asks Giovanna to hide a badly wounded fighter who is Jewish. As she nurses him back to health, she falls helplessly in love with the brave and humble Marco, who comes from as ancient and noble an Italian family as she does. 

My thoughts:
There was just something in her voice that pulled me in and kept me interested, all while I had my heart in my throat. Because even if this was somewhat lighter, and dealing with the war from another point, it was still a time where she and the ones she loved could die at any moment. And I was scared.

I liked Giovanna's innocent because it was believable. She lived in a sheltered world, her mother was an aristocrat,and her father had worked his way to the top. She was rich, and perhaps a bit spoiled. The war had not really come to their door, she did not know about the horrible things going on. And there is where we meet her, the Germans come to town, and they are sure handsome in their uniforms. Which led me to my first oh no! moment. Which I shall not talk about any longer. But the war slowly comes into her life. Her brother fights with the resistance, and she learns, and she wants to help. To help takes courage in a time where anything can kill you. Especially when her brother asks her to hide a wounded fighter who is Jewish. Another thing that got me worried since I knew what would happen if anyone found him or her.

There is a light over this book that never makes it too violent. Everyone experiences war in different ways, depending on where you are and what you are. I liked the story here from Giovanna's point of view, because it was another POV from what I am used too. There is also romance in the book and a young's woman's struggle to grow up, and get out from under her parents' thumb.

I really liked this book. Romance, war and life. I'd like to read more books by her, and as it seems to be her first fiction book I hope she writes more.



  1. I love historical fiction especially when it has a really good character story at the center!

    Excellent review!

  2. Oh, how delightful to discover a new and skillful author!

  3. I always have trouble with war stories because I get scared for everyone too. I'm always a bundle of nerves while reading, but this sounds like it might be worth all the stress:)

  4. I would like to read this book as well! It made me think of that famous movie Life Is Beautiful (Italian: La vita è bella) directed by Benigni - also a war story but full of optimism and well...light. :)

  5. Sounds good. Good review ;)

  6. I love historical fiction and this one sounds wonderful. Thank you for the great review, I am looking forward to reading it!

  7. This sounds like a total winner! And, as an aside, I love the name Giovana!

  8. This sounds really good. And it's set in Italy! And I should read more WWII related books :)

  9. The fact that you want more from this author says a lot!

  10. I don't read stories that take place during wars. Even if they're light romances that cloud still hangs over them.

  11. Felicia
    I do love that too and this was a heroine I could root for :)

    That is just the best feeling ever

    It was stressful, but that is war. I kept thinking that this and that might happen and that I would get sad

    I have actually never seen that one, just his Oscar speech ;) Cos yes sad, and yet cheery

    It was :)

  12. Anne
    I do hope you read it and that you enjoy it as much as I did

    The name sounds so familiar..I think a friend of a friend is called just that

    Vivienne :D

    I do love Italy, awww Italia, I would love to visit

    Yup, always a good sign

  13. Carol
    That is true, and everything is not a dance on roses, bad things do happen in this book

  14. Oooooh, sounds very good -- plus, pretty cover!

  15. Oh you make her writing sound so delightful! I am going to add this one to my historical romance wants. The war will bring good tension with it for me.

  16. Glad to hear this was good. I've got a copy of this one myself.
    Nice review ;)

  17. I have this, and I really need to find time to read it now!

  18. I love a good historical fiction now and then so I'm adding this one to my TBR list. Sadly, I didn't read any last year but I plan on changing that this year. Great review!

  19. I like reading about historical events from a different angle, and The Golden Hour sounds lovely. Thanks for bringing this author into the spotlight :)

  20. Audra
    I love the cover, so...serene

    It was a lovely book and the war sure brought tension that had me worrying about them all. One never know how it all will go

    I do hope like it too

    I hope you find the time to read it :)

    Not a single one!? Then you truly need to remedy that this year and read a few and hopeully wou will enjoy them all

    Especially since they were all at the "same side" even if they did not all want to.

  21. This book sounds really good, for those days when I want something a bit different.
    Nice review.

  22. BookCat
    For that it's good, I do like different sorts of books

  23. Nice review Blodeuedd, I am glad you liked the book so much. But for me, too much real life, I don't like reading about the war.

  24. You wouldn't normally thing stories about war and romance would work together, but seems like this author got it just right.

  25. War stories always make me cry since they are always emotional even if this is a lighter one.

  26. Sounds like a lovely story of love and courage. I like to read books from different POV...especially war novels, because everyone does experience war differently. great review! I'll have to check this one out. =) I need a good WWII novel...I haven't read one in quite some time.

  27. Missie
    No, it's nothing that really should go together, but it sure does this time.

    There is sadness, among all this golden light. So yes :/

    I do like all different views on the war. And I can't really recall reading lots about Italy for that matter either, so that was nice too

  28. Oh this sounds like a lovely historical fiction novel! I'll have to check this one out for sure now.

  29. Well you know how much I like historical fiction and this one sounds great!

  30. Darlene
    I am sure you would enjoy it too :D

  31. I just finished another glowing review of this title and I really think that at some point I will read this one.

  32. I always like an author with a compelling "voice"... this author seems like one :)

  33. Staci
    It was really good, and i liked that it was a bit light

    She sure does :) And I hope she writes more

  34. This was a lighthearted book with all the tension of the war muted but always there. I agree that her innocence was believable.



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