Beatriz Williams, The New York Times Bestselling Author Of The Summer Wives, Is Back With Another Hot Summer Read A Dazzling Epic Of World War II In Which A Beautiful Young Society Reporter Is Sent To The Bahamas, A Haven Of Spies, Traitors, And The Infamous Duke And Duchess Of Windsor The Bahamas, Newly Widowed Leonora Lulu Randolph Arrives In The Bahamas 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 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 LoveThen 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 StolenThe 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 Williams always writes solid commercial historical fiction and this is not an exception It s a bit slow to start and I became weary of Believe me and Let me tell you but mercifully those particular repetitions tapered off Consisting of two timelines, one during WWI and the other during WWII, the period details are rich I preferred Elfriede s story to Lulu s although one hinges upon the other Be aware that while the Bahamian years of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during WWII are a clever and glitzy premise, they actually play secondary roles within the novel. 3.5 starsI 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 you read, the 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. I will admit to being drawn to this book for its cover Plus, a historical fiction about The Duke and Duchess of Windsor sounded just the ticket for escapism This is an extremely fast read Lulu Randolph comes to Nassau, where the Duke has been sent to get him out of England and Europe, to do a cover story for Metropolitan Magazine She quickly becomes part of their inner circle In truth, she makes a deal with the devil, so to speak She is granted access in exchange for positive reporting While there, she falls in love and marries Thorpe Here s one of my problems with this book I went into it expecting one storyline, the one about the Windsors, but it was just one of several and not even the main one We also get the story of Thorpe s mother which runs from 1905 through WWI We also hear Lulu s story when she goes to England after her husband s disappearance.My second problem is that none of these characters rang true They felt two dimensional to me Williams peppers the book with true events, like the murder of Harry Oakes But it all just seemed like glossy fiction Don t go into this if you re expecting in depth historical fiction It s soap opera quality It did fit the bill as far as escapism goes, but don t go into this expecting quality historical fiction. 4.5 Stars The Golden Hour is my first Beatriz Williams read and it will not be my last I ve always been interested in her books, but for some reason or another I never took the plunge until now The draw for me was the Duke and Duchess of Windsor being cast, along with the setting of the Bahamas during WWII I m hesitant to pick up a traditional WWII book these days I ve read so many and this took the topic that I love, but gave it a new spin I couldn t wait to pick it back up again and that s always the sign of a good one I will not trouble you with regurgitating the summary, but if you like a good love story and some mystery and intrigue all wrapped up into one with the setting of WWI WWII , then this book is absolutely for you I will readily admit that this may seem slow to start for some, but it worked perfectly for me As others have mentioned, the Duke and Duchess only appear peripherally, but I was so enthralled with what would happen to Elfriede and Lulu that I didn t even care I thought the ending was clever and done just right With a less experienced author, a book of this scale could have been 600 pages long, but the book was paced and plotted perfectly leaving just enough left to think about long after I ll be sure to recommend this for years to come.Thanks to the Buffalo Library for providing a copy to loan They always come through for me when I m declined for an e arc Review Date 7 28 19Publication Date 7 9 19 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 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 stars Leonora Lulu Randolph, a newly widowed and newly minted reporter for an American magazine, arrives in June 1941 to Nassau to write about the latest gossip of the Bahamian governor and his wife, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor On the plane she meets a mysterious Englishman, Benedict Thorpe She ingratiates herself into Wallis and Edward s social circle and enters into a mutual arrangement with the Duchess and her New York publisher to write the Lady of Nassau column Clever and observant she learns who are the players in Nassau from the rich and infamous from the watering holes, the Windsor s functions, and to the Red Cross events Thoroughly researched, I felt as if I was in the Bahamas in the 1940s and traveling along with Lulu as she biked, volunteered, and bantered with the locals However, all is not golden in this sunshine paradise Nassau is filled with swindlers, spies, racists, traitors, and the power hungry culminating in treason and murder Memory, it turns out, is unreliable All on its own, your memory gathers up helpful details that match your recollection of an event, whether or not those details actually existed at the time But does it matter In 1900, Baroness Elfriede von Kleist, who has been confined for a couple of years to a Swiss clinic after suffering from depression after the birth of her son, meets Wilfred Thorpe, who is recovering from an illness When asked if she minded if Wilfred smoked, N no Elfriede thinks she should probably have said yes, because tobacco smoke is possibly the last substance on earth that should fill the passages of Mr Thorpe s ravaged lungs at the moment, short of poisoned gas But his pleasure, his anticipation is so obvious, she doesn t have the heart to deny him A pattern that will shape all the days they spend together In December 1943, Lulu is in London determined to find her missing husband, who was arrested by the Germans as a spy.Alternating, among these lives and times, we learn of love, sorrow, betrayal, affairs, wars, and a family s history Ms Williams thoroughly captured the atmosphere of the 1900s to 1916 and the 1940s in London, Switzerland, Scotland, the Bahamas, and Florida She expanded my vocabulary with mountebank, devoirs, burgher, soporific been a while since I had heard this one , and obbroprium I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel. Why I love itby Susan MeissnerIt 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 Read at DID IT AGAIN Oh how I adore this author, her gorgeous writing, compulsively readable plots, stunning covers, and I wondered, Can she do it again Indeed she can and she did with THE GOLDEN HOUR, set inventively in Nassau, WWII intrigue swirling round the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, multilayered plot lines also weaving in the War to End All Wars Plus this stunning publisher s note, best I ve ever read, whose writer must write his or her own novel HOTBED OF SPIES 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.DUKE AND DUCHESS The Bahamas, 1941 Newly widowed Leonora Lulu Randolph arrives in the Bahamas 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 intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill gotten empires BENEATH THE GLISTER 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.NOTORIOUS MURDER 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.ESPIONAGE EPIC 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 5 5 for the entrancing book and the pub note Pub Date 09 Jul 2019.Thanks to the author, HarperCollins Publishers and NetGalley for the review copy Opinions are mine TheGoldenHour NetGalley The Golden Hour is our favourite novel from Beatriz and one of our most favourite read of the Year, she is really professional and an amazing writer, the way that she crafts the different times is fascinating and the topics elaborated within the book will keep you in suspense throughout the story Beatriz is really the present Queen of Historical Fiction, she can merge such a mindful plot with intriguing characters and bring us masterpieces, I ve loved all of the books I ve read from her and I m so excited for the new ones.War, betrayals, family drama and politics are very difficult to be written within a book without a lot of researches so Williams has managed to bring us a very rich and powerful novel that will make you tear lots of times The main character of the book is Lulu, who heads to the Bahamas in the early 1940s Royalty, murder investigation, romance is so well crafted in the Lulu parts of the book These moments are really suspenseful and in the meantime romantic.Also another main character was Elfriede a German Baroness who suffers from depression The connections between the two characters is a really amazing mystery to be solved and I can say that the book is merged into different genres which will blow your mind Williams has written very complexed concepts within the book, lots of shocks and lots of drama going in which you ll love it so much.Reading books set in WW2 is always fascinating because you can see always different perspectives from great characters, the feelings and the moments are really interesting to read so THE GOLDEN HOUR is a must read The lyrical style of the writings was so profound to read, very edgy and so amazing.The Bahamian background was really rare and beautiful, the first pages are a bit slow but by the ending you ll understand every page of the book which will delight every suspense moment, you will get to know every character who they are, and the ending will totally be unforgettable for every reader This is a 10 5 book for me, TGH is definitely my new book recommendation for all of my friends and I can t wait to hear what you think of this masterpiece 3.5 starsI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review Was yours ever hit No Not a scratch I suppose even bombs have a sense of irony Not really, I say That s just human illusion We imagine there s an order to things, because it s too awful to consider the randomness of fate The Golden Hour is historical fiction that mainly follows two women decades apart while slowly but surely weaving their stories together We first meet Elfriede in a Swiss clinic where she was sent after she can t feel anything for her newborn and talks about a darkness that dwells in her Today we would call it postpartum depression but in the early 1900s, no one quite knows what to do with her There she meets an Englishman recouping from pneumonia and they have a soulmates connection but with Elfriede still married, they can t really act on anything.The other woman we follow is Lulu in 1941 just as she is arriving in the Bahamas to cover gossip about the scandalous Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward and Wallis Simpson There she gets caught up in possible treasonous acts and meets Benedict Thorpe, a man she thinks is than he is letting on It s so easy and so safe to fall in love when the universe is against you. While Elfriede s story is relayed from the beginning, chronologically, we start towards the end with Lulu s story and are constantly backtracking and shooting forward to gain information on how she ends up in London with Benedict s sister, which is where we first meet her and the mysterious government agent, Mr B The pov changes also include first person and third person different narratives it works to keep the two women drivers of their own stories but I can see how this could affect the flow of the story for some.While Lulu and Elfriede are fictional characters, they are surrounded by real events and real historical figures of their times World War I plays a part in Elfriede s story, affecting her life s course and World War II obviously plays a big part in Lulu s story For the most part though, the gravitas of the Wars are kept to the outside, Pearl Harbor is discussed but being in the Bahamas during the time and lack of Internet keeps the news to feeling surreal The focus is microcosm and how the Wars are personally affecting these two women and how it will connect them.I thought it was intriguing how the author made the Windsors, somewhat, central and key, along with the real murder mystery of Henry Oakes little moments in history that aren t completely solved are fun to read different takes on Life is made up of these little crossroads, after all, he said A million daily forks in the road The slow weaving of Elfriede and Lulu may feel meandering for a while, I thought the latter half started to drag a bit but it was still curiously interesting to see how the author ultimately ended up placing all the characters to culminate in the ending The ending was rushed and key emotional moments were crammed, taking away from the reader from getting time to digest and deliver a bigger impact on key moments However, if looking to disappear for a few hours, The Golden Hour will keep you intrigued about how all these characters touch and impact each other s lives and how it could feel so helpless and hopeful all at the same time during World War I and II.
- 480 pages
- The Golden Hour
- Beatriz Williams
- 21 June 2019 Beatriz Williams