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The Hours Count

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  2,546 ratings  ·  453 reviews
A spellbinding historical novel about a woman who befriends Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and is drawn into their world of intrigue, from the author of Margot.

On June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to commit espionage. The day Ethel was first arrested in 1950, she left her two young sons with a neighbor, and she never came home to them aga
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published October 20th 2015 by Riverhead Books
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S.L. Berry Yes for the reasons stated by Jan August but also for the parallels to the therapists that Ethel Rosenberg and Michael Rosenberg were seeing at the sa…moreYes for the reasons stated by Jan August but also for the parallels to the therapists that Ethel Rosenberg and Michael Rosenberg were seeing at the same time.(less)

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Elyse  Walters
I wasn't a fan of 'Margot'... (The Holocaust story about Anne Frank's sister)....with the famous Cardigan Sweater.

Yet "The Hours Count" is 'pleasing-as-can-be' to listen to. The audiobook was terrific!
I really enjoyed the voices....which enhanced the storytelling with their accents and their range of emotions portrayed.

Millie Stein has many redeeming qualities... easy to relate to and emphasize with. Her husband,
Ed, a Russian immigrant, pays no attention to her or their "slow-to-develop" son
Diane S ☔
Jul 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I first heard about the Rosenberg in a history class long ago. The only two supposed Russian collaborators put to death by electric chair. At that time I was to young to have an opinion nor to question the accuracy of a textbook.

Using an imagined neighbor woman, Mille whose husband was also Russian the author takes is back to a time when our fear of the Russians, Communists and atomic bombs was at an all time high. When McCarthyism, a modern day witch hunt seemed to call out new, prominent names
Oct 27, 2015 rated it liked it
The idea of learning more about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, two Americans executed for espionage during the 1950's, was quite intriguing. Author Jillian Cantor based this novel on the true story of their lives and the years preceding their executions as told from the point of view of a fictional neighbor, Millie Stein. As a result of this first person narrative, we glean more about Millie's life and what it was like to live as a stay at home mother during this time period. Millie is raising a so ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
"What surprises me the most is the way the days sometimes feel so long and yet the years so short. It's all the hours between that count."

I knew basic history about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only civilians in the United States executed for "conspiracy to commit espionage." They were parents of two small children, and many believe(d) they were innocent of the charges. As I read the book, the tension and suspense kept building because I knew what ultimately would happen but not the events su
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*

The Hours Count is a historical, fiction novel about another viewpoint into Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Instead of being told through their points of view, it's told through an outsider's head, the neighbor and friend Millie Stein.

Millie is likeable enough, even if her intelligence wouldn't win any awards. She's with a horrible husband I'd end up murdering in my sleep, has a sweet child who would be considered autistic today, and kind of goes through life trying to find herself. Her one friend,
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
What I enjoyed about this novel was its accuracy of the life of a housewife in the early 1950’s. To me, the Rosenberg’s were an excuse to write about that particular time. The United States was on edge. The whole country was paranoid that the Russians were going to bomb the USA. Primary school children were shown movies at school, telling them to hide under their desk in the event of a nuclear explosion. Paranoia was rampant.

Jillian Cantor bases her novel on the early 1950’s and the lives of the
Melissa Crytzer Fry
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Cantor’s second historical fiction novel is a quiet but impactful story about the only two civilians (the married couple Julius and Ethel Rosenberg) who were executed in the U.S. for conspiring to commit espionage. The story will resonate, particularly I think, with mothers. In fact, in the author’s notes, she indicates that her intention in writing this story was to “reimagine Ethel as a person, a woman, the mother whom I pictured her to be.”

Through Cantor’s skillful weaving of fact and fiction
Mary Kubica
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved MARGOT, and was so excited to get my hands on an ARC of THE HOURS COUNT. Jillian has a magical ability to tell stories that are hauntingly beautiful and suck me right in, and that's exactly what this book did. I loved the story and the characters (especially the relationship of Millie Stein and her young son, David), and, although rooted in fiction, I learned quite a lot about the real lives of Julius and Ethel through this novel, forcing me to question what I knew - or though ...more
Sep 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I Knew nothing about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and found this book and their story very interesting. The book is told through the eyes of Millie Stein who lives on the same floor as the Rosenbergs and is introduced to them by her husband. She has a son, David, who doesn't speak and she meets Dr. Jake Gold who says he will help her get David to talk. Things heat up and she soon finds out Jake is FBI. I found Millie a little naive and innocent. She could only see the good in people and wouldn't b ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an intriguing fictional account of a young mother who befriends Ethel Rosenberg. I felt it to be quite an original way of portraying Ethel as a loving wife and mother and gave a new insight into the lives of both Ethel and her husband, Julius. The neighbor, Millie, and her family are completely fictitious but the author does weave the story around true facts.

I recently read and reviewed "A Place We Knew Well" and like that book, "The Hours Count" brought me back to that time in history w
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love it when books live up to the high expectations I place on them. My library doesn't have a copy of The Hours Count, and I'd never read Jillian Cantor before, but I decided to ask for it for Christmas even though it was kind of an unknown quantity. It just sounded so good! A fictionalized story about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, told from the perspective of their neighbor lady? I ask you, how could I pass that up?

It was everything I hoped it would be and more. It's been a while since I was a
Jenny Belk
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was fortunate to receive an ARC of this book. It was recommended to me by a good friend. It is a novel but reads like it's the true story of the Rosenbergs.
Meet Millie Stein, neighbor of Ethel & Julius Rosenberg. She lives in a loveless marriage and she has a son who does not speak. Her naivete' leads her into a period of strange behaviors both from her neighbors and her husband. The story takes place in late 40's early 50's when Communism was feared and espionage was the topic of conversatio
Pam Jenoff
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The story of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, the husband and wife put to death for spying during the Cold War, as told from the point of view of their neighbor. Wonderful illumination of a unique and troubling moment in 20th century
Victoria (RedsCat)
Aug 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
The Hours Count by Author Jillian Cantor, is a re-imagining of the last years in the lives of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Told from the first-person point of view of (fictional) neighbor Millie Stein, the story captures the era perfectly.

I adore good historical fiction and this novel doesn't disappoint: well-researched and well-written, it captures the ominous oppression of the McCarthy era. My heart went out to over-burdened and exhausted Ethel.

Not only did this novel earn a solid five-star r
Belinda Carvalho
Sep 30, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2015
(I received this as a free Net Galley advance copy in exchqange for a review) Let's start with the good...this is a good portrait of Cold War era New York from the view of a stay at home wife, Millie, coping with a disabled son. The domestic role of women during this time is well examined through Millie, her female relatives and through her friendship with Ethel Rosenberg who lives in an apartment down the corridor from her. We get a glimpse of Millie's Jewish culture, her background, her marria ...more
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Millie Kauffman, getting older and not wishing to be a spinster, marries Ed Stein, a Russian immigrant. Theirs is not a marriage based on love, more so of convenience. Ed ignores their son, David, when it becomes apparent that David is different and does not speak. Millie loves David deeply, but is lonely for companionship. A move to a better apartment has them living down the hall from Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. Circumstances and close proximity draw the two families together, and a friendship ...more
A fictionalized account of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's last few years as seen through the eyes of a fictionalized neighbor, Millie Stein.

Millie is married to a Russian immigrant, Ed, 15 years her senior.

They have a son David, who is three and does not talk yet. Ed spurns David because of this oddity/sickness.

Ethel, too, has children: John and Richie. John is a handful. Ethel and Millie bond over their shared motherhood woes.

"Sure, other children had problems. Other mothers got worn down. I saw
Melanie Coombes
Jul 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This is a historical novel about a neighbor named Millie who befriends Ethel Rosenberg, the wife of Julius Rosenberg. Both Ethel and Julius became the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War in the 1950s.

I knew little of the Rosenberg story, only that they were guilty and executed. I never gave any thought to if they actually were really guilty. This book made me wonder.

I also thought the story would be mainly centered on Ethel and Julius, however, the book is told from the
Oct 15, 2015 rated it liked it
I found that the book blurb for this novel to be quite misleading. I was expecting to read a story about the Rosenberg's, the only American civilians ever executed for treason during the Cold War. Instead we get a novel that is focused on the fictional neighbor Millie, and her personal struggles as well as her possible connections to the spy ring. The Rosenberg's are an afterthought for most of the novel and I kept wondering when the author was going to get to them. However, the book was well wr ...more
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Whatever else you know about Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, one thing is true: they were the parents of two young sons. Julius had already been arrested when Ethel was called to testify before the Grand Jury on 11 August 1950. She was not given so much as a minute to make arrangements for the care of their two young sons when she was arrested immediately after testifying. One minute, she was a proper Jewish housewife and mother, wearing white gloves. The next minute, she was in custody, charged wit ...more
Book Club Mom
Mar 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
When Millie Stein agrees to watch Ethel Rosenberg’s two young boys one summer morning, she has no idea that her neighbor and good friend will not return; and she cannot imagine how her own life will change or understand the decisions she will have to make. Millie is the fictional neighbor of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who in 1950, during the height of the Red Scare, were arrested for conspiring to commit espionage against the United States. The Rosenbergs were executed in 1953, the only civilia ...more
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This would be a great book to read on a winter’s day wrapped up in a blanket, just letting yourself travel inside the pages of this novel. The story began with a single letter and it developed into a full-blown novel, leading me down paths that I wasn’t prepared for. It wasn’t a jaunting journey; it was a journey of two families, of mothers who loved their children, of husbands who had other ties and of knowing where your heart belongs. Millie suffers from mother guilt. I felt for her, for the d ...more
RoseMary Achey
Jun 22, 2015 rated it really liked it

Michael and Robert Rosenberg-the most famous orphans of the Cold War

In 1953 a husband and wife, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, were executed for delivering Atomic secrets to the Russians. This fictionalized account is told from the perspective of a woman living the same New York apartment building.

The Rosenbergs serve as the backdrop to the story of Millie Stein. Millie is the mother of an autistic boy named David. Autism was not understood or diagnosed in 1947 when this story opens. Millie is str
Amanda Mae
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating look at the ordeal of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, told from the point of view of a fictionalized neighbor who befriends Ethel as everything unfolds. Millie is a housewife with a Russian immigrant husband and a son who displays behaviors that would now be considered autism. We follow Millie as she struggles with raising her son, with her strained relationship with her husband, and her friendship with the Rosenbergs, her neighbors down the hall. My heart broke for this woman as she t ...more
Aug 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaway
This book was provided to me free from the publisher.

Anyone familiar with American history knows who Julian and Ethel Rosenberg are. They're the scapegoats of the Red Scare, when America was scared to death of communists. This fictional account of Millie, a friend of Ethel Rosenberg provided a great insight to this historical event, even if it wasn't true. While I found the story boring at times, it was still fairly interesting and I would recommend it to history buffs.
Martha Anne Toll
Here's a piece I published about this book and the time period. ...more
Maureen DeLuca
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was pretty good for a historical fiction. xx
Nov 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Mildred Stein may seem a simple, typical housewife of the late 1940's but she finds herself in the middle of a maelstrom of espionage. Millie who picks up her weekly brisket from the kosher butcher every Friday. Millie who is thrilled to live in a small, one bedroom apartment - with heat! - in Knickerbocker Village. Millie who takes care of her two year old son David who has not said a word, ever. Her husband Ed is a Russian immigrant, he is an accountant. The neighbors are Ethel and Julius Rose ...more
Jennifer S. Brown
I'm sure it helped that I know next to nothing about the Rosenbergs, so I don't know if there were any historical inconsistencies, but I found this story of Ethel Rosenberg's neighbor, Millie, to be fascinating. The story is about Millie, not the Rosenbergs, though their story line features heavily in the novel. Millie herself is married to a man who may or may not be a Russian spy and throughout, we the readers are kept slightly off-balance, just as Millie herself felt. While at times, her husb ...more
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Jillian Cantor has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of eleven novels for teens and adults, which have been chosen for LibraryReads, Indie Next, Amazon Best of the Month, and have been translated into 13 languages. Jillian’s next historical novel for adults, HALF LIFE, will be out in Mar ...more

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“The hours count. The minutes count. Do not let this crime against humanity take place. -- Pablo Picasso, on the Rosenbergs, L'Humanité, May 1951” 0 likes
“Always remember that we were innocent and could not wrong our conscience. -- Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, in their last letter to their sons, June 19, 1953.” 0 likes
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