Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

Title: The Golden Hour
Author: Beatriz Williams
Published: July 2019, William Morrow
Format: Hard Cover, 480 pages
Source: Publisher

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 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.

My thoughts: It's no big secret that I am a huge fan of Beatriz Williams' books. I love nothing more than getting lost in her stories. There is just something about her books - they are the perfect blend of historical fiction, compelling characters and fantastic writing that bring me back time and again. I just can't get enough of this perfect combination!!!

I was ecstatic to learn that this latest book brought into the fray the Duke and Duchess of Windsor...I am such a fan of the British Royalty and have to admit that I do not know much about this couple other than what I learned from watching The Crown, yet I am so curious about them. I will say, though, that unfortunately, they really only appear peripherally, yet you still get a sense of them, so all was not for nothing.

As with all of Beatriz's books, there is a dual narrative and I was equally invested in both time lines. It follows two women decades apart, ultimately weaving their stories together. I love trying to figure out just how these stories might be tied together - to me that is always such a fun mystery to work out as I am reading. All the characters we meet are so compelling and written in such a way that they are unforgettable, as I find is often the case with Beatriz's books.

This book is about family, war, courage, ruthlessness, hope, and love. It effortlessly blends historical events with fiction to create such a memorable read. Reading books set during the wars are always a draw to me because we get different perspectives, and this one is certainly a unique one. And the setting is exceptional - I don't think I have read a book set in the Bahamas during the war which made this book that much more appealing. And Beatriz certainly has a knack for capturing a sense of place for sure.

This is definitely a book to savior, not one to rush through. Yes, it's a bit of a chunkster, coming in at close to 500 pages, but once you start reading it, you will get caught up in the story and the characters. It's a book that you will be thinking about while you are reading it and one that you will be thinking about long after you finish reading it.

Beatriz Williams is definitely a must-read author for me...I've read just about every book she's written - I still need to read Overseas, which I have sitting on my shelf. I always know I am in for a treat when I pick up her books. Do you have an author like that - that you must-read?


  1. I am hoping that my library gets a copy of this one soon, I want to read it so badly. Great review!

  2. Oh I need this one! I've read several Beatriz Williams and really enjoyed them but have taken a break from her books this year. This one sounds like it needs to be top of my TBR list.

  3. I'm excited that she's put out a longer book! I feel like I fly through them too fast.


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