The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

by Margaret Wurtele

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Overview

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. They pledge their love, and then must fight a real battle against the Nazis who become more desperate and cruel as the Allies close in on them...

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451237088
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 453,425
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Margaret Wurtele and her husband split their time between Minnesota and Napa Valley, where they are the owners of Terra Valentine Winery. This is her first novel.

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The Golden Hour 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
RtBBlog More than 1 year ago
Reviewed By~JoAnne Review Copy Provided By~Publisher This is Wurtele's debut novel and it was a riveting read. The book takes place during World War II in Tuscany, Italy and you felt like you were there with the vivid descriptions of the countryside, vineyards, food, villas, farmland and churches along with the Nazis, partisans, bombings, and tales of the war. It's a story of family, honor, strength and love along with all the fears invoked by the war as well as the horrors of the Jews being rounded up and sent away on trains to the camps. The Bellini family are the main characters and you get to know them intimately. Giovanna finds herself on the outs with her family due to her beliefs and stand against the war and because of the strong feelings she comes to have for Mario, who is Jewish, and who she ultimately falls in love with. The prologue set the stage for the storyline but you nearly forgot about it due to the action that takes place throughout the book. You are reminded of it with the reading of the epilogue which gives nice closure to the story. I enjoyed the journal entries written by Mario while he was hiding from the German army. There was a happily ever after that didn't seem like it would come to bear with a few tears shed along the way. This book was reminiscent to me of The Sound of Music with the daughter thinking she is in love with the Nazi soldier as well as Paris Noire by Francine Thomas Howard that also had black soldiers serving in the war in Europe. This was an enjoyable read which I initially did not think it would be and I look forward to reading other books by Wurtele in the future. Favorite Quote: ...Mother had decided not to ask the Germans' permission, but simply to go ahead and set a table under the huge, spreading linden tree. If challenged, she planned to use my eighteenth birthday as an excuse and hope she could prevail upon their goodwill. I had wanted to include Violetta in the celebration, but Mother worried that even one more guest might ad to the noise and make it riskier.
bongie More than 1 year ago
I couldn't put this book down and found it well written from beginning to end. Set in Italy the author makes a great picture of the area and I was thrown into the book and the characters, It reminded me alittle of the Soldier's Wife.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
Giovanna Bellini is a very young 17 year old at the opening of this story occurring in 1944 Tuscany, Italy. The Germans have taken over Italy and confiscated the bottom floor of the Bellini home as residence for German soldiers. Giovanni really hasn't absorbed the horrors that the Nazis have perpetrated across Europe and are continuing to do so in her native land. But she is unfortunately about to learn, the hard way! First, she falls into an infatuation love affair with a German soldier and stops just short of sleeping with him when she is caught by the nuns who have taught her up to now. Then her role in the war truly begins when her partisan brother, Giorgio, talks her into collecting food and supplies for him and his colleagues secretly working against the Nazis. Her relationship with her parents begins to erode because they continue to treat her like the child she has always been. Giovanni's real taste of war begins on encountering wounded Italian soldiers, including a Jewish Italian soldier with whom she truly falls in love. She must steal and lie to complete her mission of healing and helping, learning whom she can trust to help her project and whom she must avoid. Despite one event in which her former German love mercifully lets her go after realizing who she is hiding and why, Giovanna learns of the treatment of the Jews. Her break with her parents widens on her 18th birthday in which she confronts her father with his former role in supporting the Fascists and their treatment of Jewish businessmen, as well as his unrelenting attitude to her new love and commitment to marry that man. The Golden Hour is a page turner one won't soon forget. While Giovanna appears to be quite naive for a 17 year old, one can understand her unintelligent mistakes in the vein of being a sheltered child whose parents live in an elite world that is gone forever! She grows up quickly, becoming a courageous, compassionate person who contributes much to the war effort. Finely told, Ms. Wuertele!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am using this book for one of my school projects and im very happy that i did love it i would say anyone from 6-9 grade
GreenEyedReader More than 1 year ago
INTERESTING READ WW2 reptrospect from the point of view of a daughter spendidng the last few days with her dying father and her memory of what they went through during WW2 in Italy. The Italian aspect was interesting for me having read many from other points of view usually the German.
DotDC More than 1 year ago
What a lovely love story. It was interesting to see how the people lived when the Germans occupied a small area in Italy.
RtB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by JoAnneReview copy provided by New American LibraryThis is Wurtele's debut novel and it was a riveting read. The book takes place during World War II in Tuscany, Italy and you felt like you were there with the vivid descriptions of the countryside, vineyards, food, villas, farmland and churches along with the Nazis, partisans, bombings, and tales of the war. It's a story of family, honor, strength and love along with all the fears invoked by the war as well as the horrors of the Jews being rounded up and sent away on trains to the camps. The Bellini family are the main characters and you get to know them intimately. Giovanna finds herself on the outs with her family due to her beliefs and stand against the war and because of the strong feelings she comes to have for Mario, who is Jewish, and who she ultimately falls in love with. The prologue set the stage for the storyline but you nearly forgot about it due to the action that takes place throughout the book. You are reminded of it with the reading of the epilogue which gives nice closure to the story. I enjoyed the journal entries written by Mario while he was hiding from the German army. There was a happily ever after that didn't seem like it would come to bear with a few tears shed along the way. This book was reminiscent to me of The Sound of Music with the daughter thinking she is in love with the Nazi soldier as well as Paris Noire by Francine Thomas Howard that also had black soldiers serving in the war in Europe. This was an enjoyable read which I initially did not think it would be and I look forward to reading other books by Wurtele in the future. Favorite Quote: ...Mother had decided not to ask the Germans' permission, but simply to go ahead and set a table under the huge, spreading linden tree. If challenged, she planned to use my eighteenth birthday as an excuse and hope she could prevail upon their goodwill. I had wanted to include Violetta in the celebration, but Mother worried that even one more guest might ad to the noise and make it riskier.
momgee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I call this one WWII lite - There are no gut-wrenching, heartbreaking concentration camp scenes, no in-your-face heinous acts of senseless cruelty but the presence of war is the backdrop for the main story - the coming of age and eventual love story of Giovanna Bellini. At seventeen years of age, I found Giovanna to be very naive and protected. At first, when the Germans occupied her little town, Giovanna thought they looked dashing in their uniforms. When Giovanna was caught in a budding flirtation with a German officer by her mentor, Sister Graziella, she was forced to do something else with her time other than work at the school where they shared space with the occupying Germans. It was a little hard to believe Giovanna was so oblivious to the plight of the Jews. In short order, Giovanna had to grow up quickly, leaving behind foolish romantic notions with the enemy as the brutality of war shows it's ugly face.She does decide she wants to do something to help the war effort and when her brother Giorgio seeks her help in feeding his little group of partisans, Giovanna does not hesitate to do what it takes to comply. Under cover of working for a local clinic and at great risk to her personal safety, Giovanna becomes very involved in helping the group. It's here that she meets Mario, a wounded partisan. In tending to him, Giovanna is forced to make some very difficult decisions. Of course, the two start to fall for each other." I sat still for a long time, watching Mario breathe. Who was this man for whom I had possibly just sacrifed a life, maybe two? I couldn't explain the urgency I had felt, the compulsion to rush to his aid, the magnetism that drew me then and that kept me now at his side, hanging on his every breath as if my own depended on it." Even though, this was predictable, Wurtele did a great job in developing their relationship and all the characters in general. They were very well fleshed out and managed to evoke numerous emotions in me. I was proud of Giovanna when she stood up to her father whose ideals differed greatly from her own. I couldn't stand her whiny, self-centered father. Her mother just made me want to shake her out of her apathy and tunnel vision. Wurtele also excelled at description; I felt I had been transported to Italy and set down in the midst of the action. I think this would make a good book club selection as there are numerous issues that could make for some interesting discussions. A reader's guide is included at the end. Even though this was a little different in tone and location from the WWII books I have read, I enjoyed it very much.
AnnKY More than 1 year ago
I felt like I visited Tuscany while reading this novel. The prose is rich and the story a delight.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story seemed promising but the main character is unlikable.  We never learn what happened to the nuns after the war.  The ending is predictable and there is little tension.  I thought it was boring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Book was just okay. If you want a quick read, you might enjoy.