cover image The Sound of the Hours

The Sound of the Hours

Karen Campbell. Bloomsbury, $29 (464p) ISBN 978-1-4088-5737-3

Campbell (Rise) vividly depicts the consequences of war as a young Italian woman tries to survive when her village becomes a battleground during WWII. In 1943 Cartagnana, Italy, 18-year-old Vita Guidi puts aside her plans to become a teacher to work as a housekeeper for the local priest. She and her family face the dangers of wartime as German soldiers occupy the town, and her father is arrested. Vita’s cousin Joe, a partisan fighter, is frequently absent, and Vita wonders whether they will marry as her family expects. When Vita and her sister, Cesca, leave their home to stay with their grandmother in Lucca, Vita meets Frank Chapel, a black soldier in the U.S. Army, as the Allies advance. Frank and Vita are drawn to one another as he continues to serve in a segregated Army and faces discrimination from Italians and fellow soldiers. As their friendship blossoms into love, Vita and Frank share stolen moments and live in constant peril from the bombs falling around them. They continue to hope for a future together that would transcend the prejudices against their relationship and the dangers of war. Campbell writes with lyricism and emotion in portraying her characters’ thoughts and emotions, and her story is expertly plotted. Fans of rich historicals will be totally immersed. [em]Agent: Jo Unwin, Jo Unwin Literary Agency. (Sept.) [/em]