The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

A Novel

Book - 2019 | First edition.
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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 HarperCollins Publishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2019
ISBN: 9780062834751
Branch Call Number: WILLI
Characteristics: 468 pages ; 24 cm


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Dec 30, 2020

This book was so frustrating. It skipped back and forth between 1900 and 1941 which usually doesn't both me, but I felt lost. I liked the main characters and wanted to know what happened to them. I kept reading, thinking I would figure it out.

Dec 21, 2020

This is an author I have unabashedly loved since I discovered her. Her last couple of books I have struggled with however. She has gotten excessively wordy. Once I get caught up in the story I remember why I read her, but I do confess I sometimes scan passages. She is very gifted at description, but it's becoming detrimental to the story.........

Jun 11, 2020

Intensely personal tale. Excellent story of one internally strong heroine who goes after the best of what she's offered and one who makes the best of what she’s given.

Jan 02, 2020

If you are interested in this "historical" novel because of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor - Wallace Simpson and the former King Edward VIII - skip it . They appear in less than 5% of the content. The advertising for the book is misleading. Information about the couple is so superficial, you can skip hours and hours of reading and go to Wikipedia. The murder of Harry Oakes might have been the basis of an interesting novel, but again it gets short shrift. Instead we become involved in a totally fictional family from approximately 1901 to 1944. I don't necessarily hate flashbacks, but when said jumps in time are not consecutive within the story lines, the result is confusion and disappointment. Another source of consternation is how our heroine seemed to be able to move from the Bahamas to Scotland to Switzerland and back and forth during WWII. Of course since the history was not sequential, she may not have many trips as you are led to believe. Then we have the extraction of a prisoner from Colditz. This, again could have been interesting since escapes from the famous German prison have formed the basis for several books. But, no, it is explained with a sentence. I regret that I spent so many hours on this novel. Kristi & Abby Tabby

Oct 19, 2019

There is something to please almost any reader in this beautiful novel: mystery, romance, espionage, history, setting. I am certain that this author has a very devoted fan base. Lucky for me "The Golden Hour" was my first book by Williams. I will keep reading her works, for sure. The beautiful cover illustration initially caught my eye. (The author has an interesting, pleasing website.) I found the story sweeping in its coverage of different time periods, historical setting in both time and place and interesting characters real and imagined. Highly recommended.

Sep 19, 2019

Found this book v. interesting, historically speaking. I do not like it when authors go back and forth between people and time periods, it just is too distracting to me so I read one persons story and then read the other person's story. So sad that women were blamed for postpartum depression but then in some cases they still are or they blame themselves. At least now it is more recognizable and treatable.

Sep 09, 2019

Waited in line a long time for this book. After one-third of the way through, nothing makes me want to pick it up and continue. It flips storylines and timeframes so often I am having trouble getting involved or keeping up with the characters. I hate giving a rating if I don’t read it through. I just don’t want to. That has to be worth something.

ArapahoeKati Sep 05, 2019

I don't think that this was Beatriz's strongest novel but her writing is so compelling and her settings are so vivid that you get completely swept away. I wasn't quite prepared for three storylines, so keep that in mind when reading. But I'll always read a Beatriz novel for the writing, the romance and the character twists.

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.

Cdm325 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.

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