The Golden Hour

“If we’re lucky to survive the measles and the tree climbing, the wars and the childbirth, disease and famine and Hitler and Tito and the crosstown bus barreling down Fifty-Ninth Street, we come right back to the beginning before heading west into the unknown, to meet our Maker just as we let him, helpless.”

I extend my sincere thanks to WilliamMorrow publishing for gifting me my copy of The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams. 

The Bahamas, 1941; Newly widowed Lulu Randolph arrives in Nassau to investigate the new 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, that infamous couple posted to this colonial backwater during World War II after their marriage nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees. What more completing setting for magazine feature than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a playground for kingpins and ill-gotten empires?

Or so Lulu imagines. But, as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful call that controls the islands political financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies a complex— and even treasonous— reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau roils with spies, financial swindles and racial tension, and in the middle stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of magnetic 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 cover-up reeks off royal privilege. Benedict disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London to unpick his complicated family history; a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a German mother, the Baroness Elfriede von Kleist, from whom all joy is stolen. 

The stories of Lulu and Elfriede thread together in this remarkable tour de force of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and courage, set against a shocking true crime…. and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple. 

This synopsis like a lot, right? How can so much be packed inside a 468-page book? Those were my thoughts when I first discovered Beatriz Williams newest book. I loved reading the Summer Wives last year; really falling in love with Williams writing style. I knew that I had to get my hands on her newest book but was, honestly, in awe of what might be inside the pages. It seemed overwhelming at first. But, nevertheless, I sat down and started reading…

This novel is one of a kind. Not only was I transported back to 1941 in the Bahamas but I was also taken back to the year 1900 and followed Elfriede throughout the early days of her life. I truly felt like I was walking right alongside Lulu in Nassau.

The Golden Hour is not meant to be rushed through. It is mean to be savored. Like a cleverly mixed cocktail that has a sweet taste but leaves your body feeling warmth and comfort. You want to drink it all in at once but you know that you have to sip it slowly and savor every flavor.

I have always been a lover of classic literature; Gone with the Wind, The Great Gatsby, and All the Kings Men. To me, this book was a masterfully woven tale that reminded me of these books. It had the lyrical beauty of Gone with the Wind; the lavish and exuberant parties of The Great Gatsby; and, the political magnetism of All the Kings Men. But, it also has something else to it, something more modern— it gave me hints of Kate Quinn’s The Alice Network. All of the fabulous novels rolled up into one. To me, this book screamed that it will be a classic. 

“You can’t second-guess yourself, I’ve found. You don’t know what lies in that parallel dimension, you don’t know what fate is contained inside those infinite hypothetical worlds in which you made other choices. Anyways, what can you do about them? They’re like the past itself, they’re gone.”

Beatriz Williams has really outdone herself with this novel. I am a huge fan of hers now and am anxious to read whatever masterful piece she comes up with the next. 

Thank you, again, to WilliamMorrow for the advanced copy; and, thank you to Beatriz Williams for mesmerizing me. 

The Golden Hour was chosen for Book of the Month’s June pick. It has an official release date of June 9, 2019. If you haven’t already, pre-order this book now!

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