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The Golden Hour Paperback – February 7, 2012


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Editorial Reviews

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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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 Original edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451237080
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451237088
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,048 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Margaret Wurtele is the author of a novel, The Golden Hour (NAL/Penguin 2012). She has also
published two memoirs: Touching the Edge (John Wiley & Sons, 2003) and Taking Root (St Mary's Press, 2000)
She and her husband divide their time between Minneapolis and California's Napa Valley, where they grow
grapes and own Terra Valentine Winery.

Customer Reviews

Really, too many good points for me to bring up.
Tara
The historical backdrop of World War II, the occupation of Italy, the partisans, and the Buffalo soldiers were all very interesting and moved the story along.
Michael P. Lefand
Finished it just because I hate not finishing books...
Emily G.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Tara VINE VOICE on December 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Wow. This is one of those books with one of those endings that just left me with my mouth hanging open.

It takes place in Italy during WWII. Italy has been taken over by Nazis. The heroine, Giovanna, is spending her teen years under German rule and has even had to give up most of her home to German soldiers. Her brother has failed to report for duty with Italian/German army and has run off to be a resistance fighter/partisan. Her father is angry as he is a devoted Fascist. (Actually, he's on the winning side whoever they may be.)

In the beginning, Gia (I'm shortening it as that's quite a bit to type over and over) is a normal teenage girl with feelings of desire. She's left with nothing but Nazis to focus her new found feelings on and she develops a crush on Hans. He's married, but that doesn't stop her...but before it goes too far, Gia realizes she's in the wrong. This botched affair leads to so many things...Gia begins to change for one thing.

She begins aiding the resistance, providing supplies, medical care, starts to ask questions. She goes from being a naive school girl ogling older, married men to a young woman with a mind of her own that believes in doing all she can to help her country and the Jews within it.

There were times I thought Gia was disappointing and stupid, but her narrative, all first person POV, was so brutally honest.. it was as though she was admitting to her own flaws. I felt as though she was speaking to me, saying, "Look what I did. Yes, I did that. Can you believe how stupid I was?" Somehow, it worked, it drew me in, and it made the heroine "real."

The ending. Wow. I didn't see that coming... to live with that knowledge the rest of one's life. Yikes.
Read more ›
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Michael P. Lefand VINE VOICE on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The "Golden Hour" by Margaret Wurtele takes place in present day Italy on an estate, Villa Farfalla, which was owned by Giovanna's family for over four hundred years. The story is told by the main character, Giovanna. She reminisces back to a time 50 years prior during World War II in Italy.

Giovanna was seventeen in 1943 when the novel begins and growing up in the midst of World War II after the Germans became an occupying force of Italy taking control of its infrastructure with the signing of the Italian armistice with the Allies. Giovanna makes numerous immature and unwise decisions along the way and becomes involved romantically with Klaus, a married German soldier. She smuggles food to the Partisans, and hides wounded Jewish fighters and falls in love all in an unbelievable short period of time.

The historical backdrop of World War II, the occupation of Italy, the partisans, and the Buffalo soldiers were all very interesting and moved the story along.

Golden hour is defined in photography terms as the first and last hour of daylight. It is also known as the magic hour. Another source defines golden hour as the first minutes to several hours after a traumatic injury. Author, Margaret Wurtele made sure her novel covered both meanings. Early on in the story when Klaus proclaimed his love for Giovanna, he says "You will bring sunshine into my life, just when the sun is getting low." A fine example of the first and later in the book the traumatic meaning occurred.

The Golden Hour, a debut novel for Margaret Wurtele is quite readable and entertaining. I give it four stars.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Boyd on April 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I love this time period and read everything I can taking place during it. But this lackluster novel of a young girl coming of age during a crucial period of world history left everything to be desired. Lacking the heart of "Summer of My German Soldier" or the brilliance of "The Book Thief", this book looks at what happens to someone who has been raised as a spoiled, pampered brat during the years before the war. If you have a yearning for a story about the war, look to Pam Jenoff or Lisbeth Eng's "In the Arms of the Enemy". This is one to be missed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anonymous on July 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
I was very anxious to read this novel. Since I am German and am very pleased that my family had left prior to Hitler taking control, this time period is very important to me. It appalls me to read what was actually done to others during the war. I enjoyed this book because it tells how a young lady comes of age and supports the war in her own way. It describes how Italy was impacted and provides a glimpse into an Italian family during a horrific time of war. A very good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. B. on August 25, 2012
Format: Paperback
Set in 1943 in Tuscany, Italy, The Golden Hour is basically a story of how a young woman grows in stature and wisdom when the German forces move in to Italy during WWII. At first Giovanna Bellini, raised in affluence, doesn't quite "get" the seriousness of the war. The Germans have confiscated their lovely big home for their use, although allowing Giovanna, her mother, and father to occupy a few rooms in back. But it doesn't bother her much. Givoanna's brother has joined the freedom fighters, a resistance group trying to repel the German army. Giovanna works in Catholic run school for children and is pretty bored with the whole deal. A Nazi officer has an office in a part of the school and Giovanna is drawn to the man even though she knows he has a wife and baby at home. Then her brother asks for her help in smuggling food for his resistance army and suddenly she's no longer bored. When one of her brother's group, a young Jew, is wounded and the brother asks Giovanna to hide him. As the days pass Giovanna begins to gain some understanding of the in justices and evils of war.
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