The Sound of the Hours

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

An amazing book which does not hold back on the real horrors of war. Set in Italy it  is the story of a young Italian girl and an Afro American soldier and their developing love story. It deals with the prejudice that these American soldiers had to deal with from their own country men and the resident population they went to free.
This book deals with the realities of war and at times  found it difficult to read however I really enjoyed it as it did not glamorise this period of history.
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Trigger Warnings: Racism
2.5 stars

One of my favourite genres is historical fiction so when I saw this on netgalley I knew I had to request it however I was left disappointed. Unfortunately I found this to be quite slow moving, it took me a while to get into it and I felt bored most of the time. The plot was interesting but took a while to get to the point and I could tell that the author had spent a lot of time researching what happened in Italy during the war. There were a few gripping plot twists that I didn’t see coming.

The book if told from two POV’s Vita’s and Frank’s. Sadly I couldn’t connect with Vita’s character and most of the time I found her chapters to be boring – especially in the beginning so I skimmed them, I also wish that we got more of her backstory. I enjoyed Frank’s character more than Vita’s and I felt so bad for him during the book as he faced a lot of racism, it was fascinating to see his experience throughout the book in the American army at that time and how he was treated. 

Overall I was disappointed with the pacing and characters however I enjoyed the author’s writing style.
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An epic tale which gives a new angle on a war time love story. The hero is a black American and this story tells of the prejudice that he faces from his own countrymen. It was a well told tale but sometimes I found the use of Italian and Scottish words just a bit confusing and that interrupted my enjoyment of the story.
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I think I wrote a while ago that this book would have me reaching for the tissues, and I was not wrong. This book is a lot of things: a story about a country at war, an inter-racial relationship at a time when that was frowned upon; the story of a family struggling to survive. Taken together, I was hooked.

Though The Sound of the Hours does take a while to properly 'get into', Karen Campbell's slow and measured writing style gradually draws you into the Italian countryside during the 1940s, as sisters Vittoria and Francesca learn just how terrible war really is, and what they're willing to do to survive it- just like Frank, the American Buffalo soldier fighting his way up through Italy to liberate the country. I think the true triumph in Campbell's writing is really making you feel like you're there, and living these things at the same time as the characters.

Not a lot of books have been written about wartime Italy, but this is fantastic: a love story and a war story, all wrapped up in one. Plus, look at that cover!
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I have been reading this book over several weeks.  Reason being is that I found I needed to take a breather from the subject matter.  The book is well written.  I found myself a little bit distracted when the story changes from one story line to another.  For example to begin with you get more of a feel for Vittoria Guidi (Vita) and the setting in Barga.  Vita wants to be a teacher.  Her father supports her in this but her mother doesn't, particularly given the current situation (i.e. war and the effect on the locals, particularly since most boys have been sent off). Vita goes to work for the village priest.

Then we have Frank Chapel who is a young black American soldier.  We meet Frank in America, as he goes off to do his training.  He is portrayed as a highly intelligent individual.

So the book proceeds with it flitting between the story lines.  It packs an emotional punch given the time and place that it is set in.
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Wonderful love story set in the Second World War in Italy. The characters and the plot were totally believable. The descriptions of the war in Italy made me feel as though I was there. A page turner which I thoroughly recommend.
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I interviewed Karen on my radio show, Booked on Pulse, about this terrific novel. Not only was I gripped by the personal stories of the characters, I learned so much about how WWII affected the country. Wonderfully researched and beautifully written.
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Having been to Bargo twice on holiday, I particularly enjoyed the setting.  The book is mainly a love story, during the war in Barga, but the development of Vitta's character is magnificent.  Towards the end I found some of the battle scenes too long, so have only awarded the book 4 stars.  The descriptions of scenery and people are excellent.
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Great historical detail and obviously very well researched. The writing style took me a little while to get to grips with but that didn't stop me being riveted. I haven't read any other books around the same theme so it was pretty unique and very engrossing.
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Campbell's novel is engrossing; set in Italy during the latter years of the war, "The Sound of the Hours" is an absolute page-turner, with likeable characters and extreme detail and accuracy in depicting the historical period it takes place in.
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💕 Thank you to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for an advanced copy of 'The Sound of the Hours' by Karen Campbell in return for an honest review
When I first started to read this book, I found the rhythm of the author's writing quite difficult to follow. Having persevered with it, I am pleased that I found her voice.  This has to be the best and most well researched book based around Italy during the Second World War that I have ever read. I am very impressed with the accuracy and the detail given and I have learned so much more about this period in Italy from reading it. 
The story follows Vita's journey into adulthood during the turbulent war years, where she learns that there are many aspects to a person's personality, and not all of them are endearing, teaching her that no-one is whom they initially seem. She questions her own beliefs and the morals of others, not least those within her own family. Vita's country is divided as is her family. 
Vita forges her own way forward, to a brave new beginning when she meets a young, black American soldier Frank, a man who fights for a country who refused him a vote. Can Vita and Frank fight prejudice and build a life together against all the odds? 

Elegant and thought provoking writing
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Thank You To Netgalley & Publishers For Granting My Request To Review This Book.

Once I Started, I Struggled To Put This Down And Hated That Life Got In The Way.
I Must Admit, This Book Made Me Feel Ignorant - I Haven’t Read WWII Fiction Set In Italy Before So Hadn’t Considered The Situation There At The Time & I Also Never Thought Of Segregation Within The US Army. I Didn’t Like Some Of The Use Of Language When Describing Frank And His Fellow Soldiers But I Understand It Was Needed To Really Set The Scene.

I Loved The Character Of Vita - A Very Headstrong Young Woman, Brave & Patriotic And How She Was Always Putting Others Before Herself. We Need More Females Who’ll Stand Up For What They Believe In, Even If It Is In Fiction.

Frank Was A Very Interesting Character - Well Educated And Artistic, Having To Manoeuvre His Way Through A Life That Wasn’t What Had Been Promised To Him Whilst Staying True To His Values. I Could Feel The Intensity Of His Feelings For Vita As Well As When He Was Fighting.

I Felt The Story Flowed Really Well, Helped By The Yearly Sections And Also Helped To Set The Scenes. I Loved How The Author Used Andromeda The Donkey To Move The Story Along And Bring It Full Circle. That Has To Be One Of My Favourite Parts Of This Story. 

I Wondered How The Author Was Going To Wrap The Book And I Thought The Last Chapter Was A Great Twist/Touch. I’ll Admit, I Had To Read It Twice To Make Sure I’d Gotten It Right, With The Introduction Of New Characters But That Chapter Has Left A Lasting Impression And I Felt, Really Rounded Off The Story Well.
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Fascinating ,sweeping story of conflict and love in the Italian mountains of Tuscany during the latter part of World War Two Not a part of history that I was familiar with it was an enjoyable if at times challenging read.
Told from the viewpoints of Vittoria Guidi ,an Italian with Scottish ancestory , and Frank Chapel an American “ Buffalo Soldier “ sent to fight in Italy, it covers the horror of  war from civilian and military standpoints . The soldiers are a black unit and face prejudice not only from their commanders but also those they have come to liberate. The Italians are split into Fascists supporting the Nazis  and those who support the allies ( the mainly Scottish Italians who speak a strange version of Scots English) .  
This is a well researched story of love, loss  romance and conflict at a devastating moment in Italy’s history. It explores the conflicts between family and  that between villagers .It also manages to be a story of love and hope ,I was moved to tears at times .
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The Sound of the Hours is set in Italy during the latter years of the war. It is told from the viewpoint of Italian Vita and American soldier Frank. I really enjoyed this book. I found the story very unique and kept me enthralled from start to finish. The characters were likeable and I was eager to see what would happen to them. I had not been aware of what the situation was like in Italy during the war and I found that aspect very enjoyable. It is clear that book is well researched and thought out.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC
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Telling the story of the Italian town of Barga during the Second World War, The Sound of the Hours immerses the reader in the sounds, smells and tastes of the period. Many people from Barga emigrated to Scotland and Karen Campbell has skilfully woven their tales through her latest novel. There is love, fear, war ,human frailty and, ultimately, redemption laid bare for our consideration,. This is a wonderful tale which sweeps you along to the bitter-sweet end. Very enjoyable.
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I love how a book like this can bring history to life. The characters in this book seem so real and their story is beautifully told. This is a story of heartbreak, love and family during World War 2. I read this book in an afternoon. I did not want to put it down until I knew how it ended. There is a lot of history packed into this book. I would definitely recommend it. 

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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