The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
July 9, 2019
ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook
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, 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 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.
“Good night, then – sleep to gather strength for the morning. For the morning will come. Brightly will it shine on the brave and true, kindly on all who suffer for the cause, glorious upon the tombs of heroes. Thus will shine the dawn.” – to the people of France – October 21, 1940
The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is a story of strong female emotion and choices that spans the time from before WW1 through the end of WW2. Beatriz Williams has crafted two strong female protagonists whose lives become intertwined through the choices they make, and the men they inevitably fall for.
There are some types of historical fiction where the prose is as romantic as the plot. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind of historical fiction where the narrator has a passive voice, and the setting is described almost in more detail than the characters and the actual plot. Beatriz Williams is not that kind of author. She is a craftsman of historical fiction. Her characters have some of the strongest voices I’ve come across. They command the page, and demand your attention. Not only are her characters forth coming with their voice, but the scenes unfold with a purpose, and the mystery that is woven between the two main characters is as alluring as the characters themselves.
The Golden Hour follows two women: Lenora “Lulu” Randolph, and Elfriede. Just before the US enters WW2, Lulu has found herself in the Bahamas tasked with finding the juiciest gossip about the Duke and Duchess of Windsor for a column in a New York publication. In order to gain the information needed for her column, Lulu insinuates herself with the outcast royals. However, all is not fine in Nassau and soon Lulu finds herself amidst a multinational spy plot, as well as newly in love with a mysterious Brit.
Elfriede is the surprise to the book. Not mentioned in the blurb, but utterly essential to Lulu’s story, Elfriede is pivotal to understanding the heart and soul of The Golden Hour: how choices in the past can have an impact to someone’s future.
Beautifully crafted, emotional, and utterly gripping, The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is the female-centric WW2 spy novel that historical fiction lovers all need and deserve.
Published over the summer, this is available now! Go one-click your next binge read!
Jes is a self-proclaimed bookworm, who recently moved from the PNW back to the Midwest. When her nose isn’t in a book, she’s spending time with her husband, two kids, and her three fur babies, or exploring the globe. She also firmly believes that you should start the day with coffee, and end the day in bed with a good book.