The Hours Count: A Novel

  • From the Publisher
May 19, 2015

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 nev­er came home to them again. Bril­liant­ly meld­ing fact and fic­tion, Jil­lian Can­tor reimag­ines the life of that neigh­bor and the lives of Ethel and Julius, an ordi­nary-seem­ing Jew­ish cou­ple who became the only Amer­i­cans put to death for spy­ing dur­ing the Cold War.

In 1947, Mil­lie Stein moves with her hus­band, Ed, and their tod­dler, David, into an apart­ment in New York’s Low­er East Side, where the Rosen­bergs are her new neigh­bors. Strug­gling to care for David, who does­n’t speak, and iso­lat­ed from oth­er nor­mal” fam­i­lies, Mil­lie meets Jake, a psy­chol­o­gist who says he can help David, and befriends Ethel — also a young moth­er. Mil­lie and Ethel’s lives as friends, wives, moth­ers, and neigh­bors entwine even as chaos begins to swirl around the Rosen­bergs and the FBI clos­es in. Mil­lie begins to ques­tion her own hus­band’s polit­i­cal loy­al­ty and her mar­riage, and whether she can trust Jake and the deep con­nec­tion they have forged as they secret­ly work with David. Caught between these two men and des­per­ate to help her friends, Mil­lie will find her­self drawn into the dra­mat­ic course of his­to­ry. As Mil­lie – trust­ing and naive – is thrown into a world of lies, intrigue, and espi­onage, she real­izes she must fight for what she believes, who she loves, and what is right.

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