The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

A Novel

Book - 2019
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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.

Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperColllinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780062834751
Branch Call Number: WILLIAMS
Characteristics: 468 pages ; 24 cm


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Aug 07, 2019

OOPS! I meant to give this book 2 1/2 stars and after it posted, I realized I accidentally only gave it 1 1/2 stars! Sorry about that. You know, the wonderful thing about comments is when somebody rates a book with lots of stars and somebody else doesn't give it very many! You just gotta read the comments and decide for yourself....right? I thought about giving this book 3 stars, but in the end, I gave it 2 1/2. For me what saved this book was the last 1/3, or maybe the last 1/4. I was really bored during the first 2/3 or 3/4 of this book. Almost didn't finish it. I have to be honest....I really dislike books that jump around in time. And this one jumped around with 3 different time/year segments. I was doing pretty well until I went on to read one segment and discovered IT had jumped forward by 5 years itself! The book was kind of interesting, with references to the Bahamas being "governed" by their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Except, everyone knew that she was NOT a Royal Highness...her official title was Her Grace the Duchess of Windsor. BUT if you wanted to stay in "good" with them, you called her Your Royal Highness and/or never corrected it when someone else called her that. Anyway, I'm not going to reveal the ending, but as I said above, the last part of the book was the best for me. Almost made me give it 3 stars....but nope. I decided on 2 1/2 instead. Read it for yourself and you decide.

Jul 21, 2019

A thoroughly enjoyable book that kept me up late at night and convinced me to ignore all of the other things I should have been doing instead of reading. A unique setting, at least in my reading experience, in the Bahamas during the governorship of the Duke of Windsor is one of the key points of historical interest.

The strength of this book lies in the likability of the primary fictional characters and its ability to make you care about what is happening to them. I’m personally tired of what I consider to be an over used device in current literature of alternating between two stories taking place in different times and places. This is yet another book that follows that pattern and makes you jump back and forth from 1900 to 1941-43 each time you start a new chapter. You get caught up in one storyline and then the flow is disrupted and you are jerked into the other story. I forgive it here, in large part, because I was drawn into both stories. In the end, of course they were tied together. I must say, however, that the ending felt rushed and a complicated situation was resolved with scant detail. That situation could have been a fascinating book all on its own.

Telling two stories in one book meant the primary story in Nassau was not as fully developed as it could have been. I wish we could have spent more time there and would have enjoyed delving more deeply into the events in 1941-43 as well as into the secondary characters.

There are a few jarring bits of dialogue that seem to be lifted from a 1940s Humphrey Bogart movie, but I will trust the author was being authentic. It just felt almost like a caricature when I read these snippets.

I recommend this book as a satisfying work of historical fiction which includes some suspense, mystery and romance.

Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jun 27, 2019

Beatriz Williams is generally a safe bet for me, as far as authors go, and this book was no exception; I loved the wartime Bahamas setting, as well as the chapters interspersed that were set around the turn of the century. Her portrayal of postpartum depression, at a time when people didn’t have a word for this condition and the woman was blamed for it, was especially emotionally powerful, and, as always, I closed this book eager to pick up whatever she writes next.


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