The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour

by Beatriz Williams

Hardcover

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062834751
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 07/09/2019
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 10,105
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz Williams spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons, before her career as a writer took off. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore.

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The Golden Hour 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
LibrarianSGP 2 days ago
Spoilers ahead. As a huge fan of Williams’ books, it pains me to have to review this one so poorly. I’m so thankful that this wasn’t the first of her novels I’ve read because it might otherwise have been the last. If you’re reading this review and haven’t read others, please give her another try, perhaps starting with The Summer Wives. Williams is an excellent writer who just needed better editing this time around. Unfortunately, I found The Golden Hour exceedingly difficult to follow, about 100+ pages too long, and very depressing. I was very tempted not to finish it. There was way too much repetition and the story got lost in the overly-descriptive text. Generally, I love time-slip novels, but the choice of using two voices (Lulu telling her own story in an overly-familiar way, as if taking the reader into her confidence, and an unknown narrator telling Elfriede’s), combined with the multiple time periods, was just too confusing. To explain, there was Lulu in Nassau and then later in London and then Elfriede in 3 different time periods (none of them chronological). The choice of using the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was an intriguing one, but the mystery was too heavy on innuendo and too light on solid clues. Even when the story reached its conclusion (the one satisfying part of the book), there were too many unanswered questions. What was in the envelopes Lulu delivered to the Windsors that made her and Thorpe accuse them of treason? When Lulu and Thorpe confess to each other, why does he respond “Christ in heaven, what a miracle”? Who was behind Thorpe’s capture? Why was Freddie framed? Who was Harold Christie and did he kill Sir Harry Oakes and for what reason? Why did Miami police investigate rather than British Intelligence? Was Thorpe in Nassau to spy on the Windsors because there was suspicion that they were Nazi sympathizers or collaborators? Was the entire story built around the public image the Windsors wanted to project (thus why they hired gossip columnist Lulu to write flattering fluff pieces about them), one they would protect at all costs, even murder? In her other books, Williams cleverly connects two parallel stories, but, in this one, the only apparent connection is the genetic one between Lulu’s lover Benedict Thorpe and Elfriede, Thorpe’s mother. As for Elfriede’s relationship with Wilfred Thorpe, the biggest frustration for me was that he chose not to tell her about why he was spending so much time in Paris, even though it would have laid her suspicions of his infidelity to rest. Their tragic love was just all so heart-breaking and, to me, unnecessarily cruel. As I mentioned, it’s only in the last few pages that I was able to take a relaxed breath, but not before I found myself cursing Williams for her choices. Despite this, I still look forward to her next book. I received a complimentary ARC of this book from William Morrow through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed are completely my own.
SunnyCarolinaGirl 8 days ago
This was a fascinating book that alternates between World War I and World War II. It has two strong female characters, Elfriede a German woman in World War I, and Lulu an American journalist in the Bahamas during World War II. Both of these women were interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about them. Elfriede drew me into the story with her determination to overcome whatever life threw at her, and it was a lot. Lulu's story gave me a perspective on the Bahamas, especially during the war that I had not considered before. I was wondering how the stories would tie together and I loved the ending. I received a complimentary copy of this ebook from Harper Collins Publishers through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Anonymous 16 days ago
Barely got through this. Really wasnt about Wallis/Simpson but about two ladies in the past one in 1920's and the other in the 1940's whose somewhat parralel. However, it got confusing at times which one I was reading about and I'm starting to get tired of reading from the future or present (if applicable) to the past again confusing. Two love stories complicated by wartime issues but no real historical value. Predictable and boring.
Anonymous 27 days ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Beatriz Williams just has this magical way of writing so authentically that makes you feel that you are a part of it all. A must read.
ColoradoGirl71 3 months ago
I must say that I had no idea what happened to the former King Edward when he abdicated from the throne to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. Turns out the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were sent to the Bahamas for Edward to serve as Governor with grand hopes of something bigger in their future. This book is a fascinating look at that time in history and I enjoyed this insider’s peek into this world. A main character of the book, Lulu, heads to the Bahamas in the early 1940s in the hopes of gaining traction with the royal couple to share gossip with her US magazine readers. She finds a world full of intrigue, WWII spies, a botched murder investigation, and strained race relations on the island. Of course, there is some romance in the book as she crosses paths with the mysterious Benedict Thorpe. I found their island love story very romantic! There’s another storyline in the book from the early 1900s with Elfriede, a German Baroness who suffers from post-partum depression. I enjoyed her story as well and I was curious how the two storylines would intersect. I thought the author did a masterful job and I had my “aha” moment when I figured it out, but I enjoyed the way it all played out. This was an enjoyable historical fiction read and I am constantly amazed at how many WWII angles there are, and authors find something new to explore. This made a great airplane read for me!
Anonymous 3 months ago
A captivating read Historical Fiction and Historical Romance are two of my favorites book genres - I got more than few- but lately it have been difficult to find a Historical Fiction story that kept me interested and engaged from the first to the last page. Well, folks , I found that book, my search is over . The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is that book. Beatriz Williams weaves a captivating tale of interesting characters , drama and mystery . As the settings are based in real places, circumstances and people ; I kept researching as I read. The Windsors were a fascinating couple , as well as that period of our history. I enjoyed how rich and visually descriptive is this tale. Ms. Williams is a phenomenal storyteller. At my request HarperCollins Publishers through Netgalley provided me with a copy of The Golden Hour for my reading pleasure; am leaving my voluntary and honest review.
CharJones2525 3 months ago
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! “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 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.” 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
AngelaJ17 3 months ago
This book follows 3 timelines. Two of these are the same woman, Lulu Randolph. First, Lulu in 1943. WWII is well underway and Lulu is in London trying to find her husband. And then, we head back to 1941 when Lulu is just now stepping foot in the Bahamas to cover the lives of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor... Yea, you know them. The scandal that rocked the British monarchy. King Edward VIII abdicated his throne to marry his true love, Wallis Simpson, a twice-divorced American socialite. Naturally the world is still buzzing over this five years later while the former king now reigns as Duke of Windsor in Nassau. Lulu gets caught up in both the Windsors and their politics and these two timelines eventually catch up so we're finally in the loop. Lulu's story alone is enough to completely capture your attention. A journalist forced into recording trivial events, like a debutante's introduction to society or the Duchess's Red Cross charity event, Lulu really wants to tell her readers about things like the race riot she stumbled upon in Nassau. She wants to acknowledge the unrest and unfair treatment of the locals in Nassau and the entitled, white rich people who settled here and promptly took over. But is routinely put back into her neat little packaged box by her editor. But maybe meeting Benedict Thorpe will add something more to her life. As if that wasn't enough intrigue, the third timeline introduces us to Elfriede Von Kliest. It's 1900 and she's been living in a hospital for two years now, sent away by her husband. It's obvious to the modern reader that Elfriede has postpartum depression. And personally, as a mother, it was awful to read about the mistreatment and misunderstanding about what Mrs. Von Kliest was going through. She didn't see her son for two years. That is an enormous amount of time and growth, especially for a child. Think of all the firsts she missed. His first words and his first steps. Not getting to hear her toddler son say "I love you, mama?" Enough to break my heart right there in the first few chapters. Elfriede encounters enough tragedy and trying situations in her life to deserve her own story. As drama after drama unfolds, you begin to wonder when Elfriede will get a reprieve. Having heard of Wallis Simpson and the former King Edward VIII vaguely, this was an interesting way to learn more about them. From an outsider's point of view and never through their own eyes. I really admired how Beatriz Williams wove fact and reality into her story. For example, Miss Drewes, the Duchess's secretary, is an actual person and in fact, she has her own biography about her time with the Windsors published (if you're looking for some extra reading material). This is historical fiction at it's finest. I loved that the story wasn't entirely focused on this infamous couple, but rather that they were in the peripheral and we go to know Elfriede and Lulu more intimately instead.
Zach_B 3 months ago
With each book, Beatriz Williams just gets better and better! And The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is probably the best yet! Told from the perspectives of Elfriede, who we first meet as a broken, young mother, and Lulu, the feisty social reporters enter in Nassau, this is a story ultimately about the power of love, and love in all its forms. This is historical fiction and women’s fiction wrapped in one breathtaking package. Set before and after both World Wars, examining the effect of the wars on those who lived through them, and mixed in with that is the abdicated Duke of Windsorsnd his wife, Wallis Simpson, now Governor of Nassau, along with the racial history of Nassau during the early 20th century. Ms. Williams is a master storyteller, weaving a tapestry of a tale, a kind of magic carpet ride through history and into characters lives who become beloved as the reader gets to know them throughout the book. I truly did not want this book to end and I miss Elfriede, Lulu, Johann, Margaret, Benedict, Wilfred, Jack, and Maggie already. But here’s hoping with such a large cast that there are many more wonderful stories to come!
teachlz 3 months ago
Linda Zagon's review Jul 05, 2019 · edit it was amazing Linda's Book Obsession Reviews "The Golden Hour" by Beatriz Williams, William Morrow, July 2019 WOW! Beatriz Williams, Author of "The Golden Hour" has beautifully written and vividly described this intriguing, captivating, intense, riveting, suspenseful and page-turning novel. The Genres for this novel are Fiction and Historical Fiction. There are basically two timelines in this story that do connect. One is in Switzerland in 1900, and the other is in 1941 in the Bahamas. Both do involve a ginger-haired Mr. Thorpe. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated. In this amazing novel, there are twists and turns, loyalty and betrayal, good and evil, danger and murder. When Leonora "Lulu" Randolph, who has some secrets of her own, arrives in the Bahamas in 1941, she is determined to get all the information that she can on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. As a journalist, it appears that American Readers love to see the Royal family and their life. To get this information, it appears that "Lulu" will have to become part of the social group and circle. This is during World War Two, and there are spies, diversity in the classes, and possible treason. When there is a murder, there are all sorts of speculation. As Lulu investigates, there is more danger and suspense. I would highly recommend this intriguing and intense novel for readers who enjoy historical fiction.