The Golden Hourby Published 09 Jul 2019
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives and A Certain Age creates a dazzling epic of World War II-era Nassau—a hotbed of spies, traitors, and the most infamous couple of the age, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?
Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love.
Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.
The stories of two unforgettable women thread together in this extraordinary epic of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and human courage, set against a shocking true crime . . . and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple.
The Golden Hour Reviews
I had read and enjoyed a book by this author awhile back and when I saw the gorgeous cover for this one, I immediately put it on my to be read list without even bothering to look at the synopsis. When I started reading this historical fiction book I was excited to learn Wallis Simpson and her husband, the former king of England who gave up the throne, were going to be a characters in the story. I read a biography on her not that long ago and they are both fascinating people although not so much in a good way.
The story is told by using alternating timelines and with different characters. Obviously the more you read, the more you see how everything is tied in to one another. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor live in the Bahamas back in the 1940s as he has been appointed governor of the island. Reporter Leonora “Lulu” Randolph will be covering the couple for an American magazine. Once she is able to get into their social circle, Lulu soon realizes this royal couple are up to no good. In fact there is a whole lot of horrible stuff happening on the island. In the middle of all this, Lulu might have some romantic feelings towards the mysterious Benedict Thorpe. The story will follow Lulu both in the Bahamas and when she arrives in Europe searching for a missing Benedict as well as a woman named Elfriede who is a patient at a Swiss sanatorium in the early 1900s.
Unfortunately, the part of the story I expected to enjoy the most, anything involving the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, was actually the weakest part. The writing for the storyline taking place in the Bahamas felt disjointed at times. Key plot points felt glossed over, almost like it was jumping from point A to point C, with nothing really linking the two things together.
I did however enjoy reading Lulu's storyline after she left the Bahamas. But by far the best parts of the story involved Elfriede. That character and her storyline are what saved the book for me. That's where you really find the heart and soul of the story as there are some good emotional moments.
Even though the book fell a little flat when it came down to some of the historical fiction elements of the story, I still would recommend reading this if you have enjoyed other books by the author.
Wish I could give this a stellar review. I really, honestly do. I simply could not get into this writer's voice, and the way she tried so very hard to be more intimate with the reader than was appropriate for this story. It was just not the book for me. I fell in love with the subject matter, and the cover, but the story bored me. I wish I had better news. I look forward to seeing what others think as they read this book, as it is a new release. Hmmm.
4.5 ☆ This is my third book and favorite so far of Beatriz Williams!! I loved the historical settings of WWl and WWll, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor with their quite interesting and highly decadent lifestyle, and it’s two main characters that alternated between Elfriede during the turn of the 19th century undergoing dark turmoil after giving birth (postpartum depression now); and in the 1940’s there’s Lulu a NYC writer currently living in Nassau to catch the latest gossip on the scandalous Duke and Duchess (the Duke was banished to the Bahamas to serve as it’s governor.) A marriage, a murder, and a disappearance sets Lulu’s story off in a new direction regarding secrets, government spies and a slight nod of deception.
I was engaged from start to finish with its intriguing dual storylines and wasn’t quite ready for it to end. Is a great read for historical fiction readers and fans of BW. I enjoyed it so much I’m adding her Schuyler Sisters book trio to my fall reading line up!
I received a free e-copy of The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams from NetGalley for my honest review.
This is the first book I have ever read by Beatriz Williams, and I was not disappointed.
This book follows two women, decades apart,and then slowly their stories come together. Elfriede is sent to a Swiss clinic because she is struggling with a darkness in her sole after the birth of her child, a/k/a postpartum depression. Back in the 1900's there was no such thing as postpartum depression so no one really knew what to do with her. Wile there she meets an Englishman who is recovering from pneumonia. They immediately connect but the problem is that Elfriede is still married.
The second woman is Lulu in the year 1941. Lulu has just as arrived in the Bahamas. She is there to cover gossip about the the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
Filled with murder, secrets and traitors. Wonderfully written!
Why I love it
by Susan Meissner
It takes a truly gifted novelist to seamlessly weave together what appear to be separate storylines into one fantastic tale, and lucky for me, and you, and book-lovers everywhere, Beatriz Williams is that kind of writer. Her talent for creating dovetailed stories—stories that beckon and badger me to keep reading to see where and how and why the characters will collide—is unparalleled, which is why her newest, The Golden Hour, shimmers like the sun.
I adore a story that brims with deliciously delivered and sensory-rich settings like those in this book—the Bahamas, Germany, England, and Scotland. Plus, the little known details of Wallis Simpson and her abdicated king—whom fans of The Crown will remember—thoroughly intrigued me. Best of all is Williams’s cast of compelling, uniquely voiced characters: Lulu, Benedict, Elfriede, and Wilfred (just to name a few). They will satisfy, surprise, and hold you under their spells from first word to last. You will laugh, you will cry, you will not forget them.
This novel contains all the ingredients for a fascinating work of historical fiction, and it’s penned by a gifted wordsmith. The Golden Hour is a tale of wartime courage, espionage, dashed dreams, renewed hopes, and the tightest bonds of love. My kind of read!
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