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 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. Williams always write 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. 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 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. 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 The Golden Hour is the first book I ve read that s written just by Beatriz Williams although I ve read her books co authored with Karen White and Lauren Willig and loved them, which is one of the reasons I really wanted to read this one The other reason is because I m fascinated with anything to do with the very intriguing Duchess of Windsor, less so the Duke, and they are minor characters in the novel, with one of the main narratives of the story weaving around their lives.Williams is an incredible storyteller and I was so delighted to discover what an excellent historical fiction novelist she is as I fell under her spell There are two fascinating narratives at play One beginning in 1900 tells the story of Elfriede von Kleist, a young wife and mother who has been sent to a mental clinic in Switzerland because of severe postpartum depression The other storyline is set in 1941 tells of Lulu Randolph Thorpe, a journalist for an American magazine sent to the Bahamas to gather as much gossip as she can on Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor avoiding all talks of politics in her column, that is.What Elfriede and Lulu have in common are two different men named Thorpe, but it is how they are connected that intertwines the story together, and Williams seamlessly goes back and forth in time to tell the stories of these two very different women Both women are unique I could vividly picture each of them in my mind while reading the book As someone who suffered from postpartum depression three times, I appreciated that element of the story since I think it s not touched on often enough, and I related to Elfriede All the characters are compelling and unforgettable, which is something that I love when reading a book The Golden Hour is a wonderful work of historical fiction it blends many historical events with fiction to create a lovely read It s about family, war, courage, ruthlessness, hope, and love I love unique WWII story since so many retell the same story and that, to me anyway is just an oversaturation in the subgenre, so I was delighted to read a fresh story I m looking forward to reading my next book by Williams and definitely recommend this one to historical fiction lovers Thank you, Edelweiss and William Morrow for the ARC copy All opinions are my own. One of my favorite books by Beatriz Williams is ALONG THE INFINITE SEA Now, I have to admit that I love plenty of her books, but that one just rocked my world as I listened to the audio version One thing one has to know is that William s books often are connected in some way or another You can even visit Beatriz Williams home page to get the Schuyler family tree and the books they each appear in Anyhow the reason I mention all this is that THE GOLDEN HOUR has connections to ALONG THE INFINITE SEA I actually had a jaw dropping moment when I realized towards the end of the book the connection But, enough about that What about the story you may wonder READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION Beatriz Williams is always a go to favorite of mine and this one did not disappoint Spanning several eras of a family, I found each narrative equally intriguing I ll be eagerly awaiting her next one 5The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is one of those books that takes a long time to read, but one that you want to savor forever.What it s about I recommend reading the synopsis because it is too hard for me to explain this book in just a few sentences The Golden Hour took me ages to read almost 7.5 hours and is the type of book that you definitely want to take your time with So if you are looking for a quick read, this isn t it But if you are looking for a book that you can really sink your teeth into and take your time with this is the book for you It s also a bit of a beast at 462 pages This was my first time reading a book by Beatriz and I can definitely tell why people love her writing It is very eloquent and detailed, and it really helps you picture what you are reading The book mostly switches between Lulu in the early to mid 1940s and a woman named Elfriede in the early 1900s In both time periods I really got a sense for the landscape and what these women were seeing and going through I will admit that The Golden Hour wasn t exactly what I was looking for at this time, so that may have influenced my rating a bit I am just coming off a bunch of very speedy reads and wasn t entirely in the mood for a long book However, I didn t want that to take away from my whole experience which is why it s still getting a 4 from me It really is a beautiful, heartbreaking story even if I wasn t really able to connect to any of the characters.Song s the book brought to mind We Shall Be Free by Garth BrooksFinal Thought The Golden Hour was giving me pretty major The Clockmaker s Daughter vibes, just with fewer characters, and that is something I loved I also loved how Beatriz tied everything up at the end There were many points in this book where it brought tears to my eyes so be warned this is a very emotional tale, but it was also so funny and surprising I am definitely looking forward to reading from this author and will recommend this to lovers of historical fiction I received an Advance Review Copy of this book All opinions are my own. This is actually 2 separate books, IMHO And the eyes of both time periods, earliest years of the 1900 s and 1941 43 primarily those two are from two different female protagonists It has character development to a full 4 star, but plot lines pulled the whole rating down With that length for minutia detail and locale setting copy this just didn t, IMHO equate to a 400 plus page book that held together as one unit It would have been better as a series of two books Which it was And the tense changes, flashbacks, missing information for the times between told in piecemeal asides all of that didn t help In fact, I think it made the tension dissolve almost completely What kept me reading was the Nassau ambiance and setting This is something and a whole piece feel that I had never encountered for WWII wartime period Not at all And it s probably the core of what kept me reading This author can write conversational nuance and placements well And her prose flows without being jumpy, considering the onus of such differing story lines Which, btw, I did not think became connected without using a trick of occluding and immense melodrama Which at points, for me, made this a 2 star read People do not keep secrets like that no human does They can lie about circumstances, even dying or abandonment, but not on this wide scale, with so many people of 30 or 40 years of water under the bridge knowing all the parts Not even under war and missing records conditions can occlude for these many various tangents of dozens of people People are just not that stupid But swallowing all of that fiction indeed , the book itself, its author s eyes to how she created these two women leads It was pure, pure chick lit And this is not historical fiction for me whatsoever Not even within the crux of the Windsors This author LOVED her own CALLING OUT skill to be judgmental and disdain denigrate the Windsors for their choices I got the feeling that at times she is a huge hater Not only of Wallis, the person but of an entire set of structures which enabled and permitted It was as distasteful as were the Windsor s decisions It was to me And how about that hypocritical relationship that Lulu demonstrated to Wallis for SO LONG and so entirely the opposite of any sincerity And she wants the Duchess to be honest in return Double standard on all counts, this Lulu Not speaking of the fact that she was willing to blackmail on top of it Duplicitous of ALL loyalties but to her own druthers.The earlier story line was not one that would have kept me reading But the Bahamas feel and the Lulu she was a 1960 plus eyes put into an earlier reality character with her completely double standard morality made me laugh I know she was not supposed to be funny But she was to me considering her own actions These women were made to suffer the ills that would be social warrior fodder right now If this were written 20 or even 15 years ago their outcomes and their justifications would have not had that righteousness pokers of superiority stuck in the readers s face, so often This book goes over long on all those exact effusions whenever it is able or a situation requires that possible option Times two with the rich, traditional, or even with the stoic Those were particularly framed as dissing and derision worthy or just lesser core for causing that crying or loneliness, or whatever illness or trouble for our two heroines.This kind of writing is extremely commercial She ll make a bundle out of the women with sob stories from other eras that would be revenge copy worthy now The chick lit buyers will snap them up like candy They thrive on the self righteousness of emancipated women s progress And always love when the 18th or 19th or 20th century woman has a 21st century moral and value scale Just like this book turns up with in plot surprises usually about an oops in the past about 5 or 6 times She can tell a tale and make the bad person, just despicable Most of the women readers will like the earlier period and woman better She was gorgeous and wronged and flawed And her sexual proclivity or not just the kind of topic the present woman likes to read about this 100 plus years past who had little respite for her difficulties Myself, I don t get it That interest in the sad journey of former incompatibilities.
- 480 pages
- The Golden Hour
- Beatriz Williams
- 19 October 2018 Beatriz Williams