The Golden Hour
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.

The Golden Hour Details

TitleThe Golden Hour
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJul 9th, 2019
PublisherWilliam Morrow
ISBN-139780062834751
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Golden Hour Review

  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Williams always write solid commercial historical fiction and this is not an exception. It’s a bit slow to start and I became weary of “Believe me” and “Let me tell you” but mercifully those particular repetitions tapered off. Consisting of two timelines, one during WWI and the other during WWII, the period details are rich. I preferred Elfriede’s story to Lulu’s although one hinges upon the other. Be aware that while the Bahamian years of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during WWII are a clever Williams always write solid commercial historical fiction and this is not an exception. It’s a bit slow to start and I became weary of “Believe me” and “Let me tell you” but mercifully those particular repetitions tapered off. Consisting of two timelines, one during WWI and the other during WWII, the period details are rich. I preferred Elfriede’s story to Lulu’s although one hinges upon the other. Be aware that while the Bahamian years of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor during WWII are a clever and glitzy premise, they actually play secondary roles within the novel.
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  • Book of the Month
    January 1, 1970
    Why I love itby Susan MeissnerIt takes a truly gifted novelist to seamlessly weave together what appear to be separate storylines into one fantastic tale, and lucky for me, and you, and book-lovers everywhere, Beatriz Williams is that kind of writer. Her talent for creating dovetailed stories—stories that beckon and badger me to keep reading to see where and how and why the characters will collide—is unparalleled, which is why her newest, The Golden Hour, shimmers like the sun.I adore a story th Why I love itby Susan MeissnerIt takes a truly gifted novelist to seamlessly weave together what appear to be separate storylines into one fantastic tale, and lucky for me, and you, and book-lovers everywhere, Beatriz Williams is that kind of writer. Her talent for creating dovetailed stories—stories that beckon and badger me to keep reading to see where and how and why the characters will collide—is unparalleled, which is why her newest, The Golden Hour, shimmers like the sun.I adore a story that brims with deliciously delivered and sensory-rich settings like those in this book—the Bahamas, Germany, England, and Scotland. Plus, the little known details of Wallis Simpson and her abdicated king—whom fans of The Crown will remember—thoroughly intrigued me. Best of all is Williams’s cast of compelling, uniquely voiced characters: Lulu, Benedict, Elfriede, and Wilfred (just to name a few). They will satisfy, surprise, and hold you under their spells from first word to last. You will laugh, you will cry, you will not forget them.This novel contains all the ingredients for a fascinating work of historical fiction, and it’s penned by a gifted wordsmith. The Golden Hour is a tale of wartime courage, espionage, dashed dreams, renewed hopes, and the tightest bonds of love. My kind of read!Read more at: https://bookofthemonth.com/the-golden...
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  • Literary Soirée
    January 1, 1970
    DID IT AGAIN!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!HOTBED OF SPIES“The New York Times bestsellin DID IT AGAIN!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!HOTBED OF SPIES“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.DUKE AND DUCHESS“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?BENEATH THE GLISTER“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.NOTORIOUS MURDER “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.ESPIONAGE EPIC“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
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  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 starsI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. “Was yours ever hit?”“No. Not a scratch. I suppose even bombs have a sense of irony.”“Not really,” I say. “That's just human illusion. We imagine there's an order to things, because it's too awful to consider the randomness of fate.” The Golden Hour is historical fiction that mainly follows two women decades apart while slowly but surely weaving their 3.5 starsI received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. “Was yours ever hit?”“No. Not a scratch. I suppose even bombs have a sense of irony.”“Not really,” I say. “That's just human illusion. We imagine there's an order to things, because it's too awful to consider the randomness of fate.” The Golden Hour is historical fiction that mainly follows two women decades apart while slowly but surely weaving their stories together. We first meet Elfriede in a Swiss clinic where she was sent after she can't feel anything for her newborn and talks about a darkness that dwells in her. Today we would call it postpartum depression but in the early 1900s, no one quite knows what to do with her. There she meets an Englishman recouping from pneumonia and they have a soulmates connection but with Elfriede still married, they can't really act on anything.The other woman we follow is Lulu in 1941 just as she is arriving in the Bahamas to cover gossip about the scandalous Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Edward and Wallis Simpson. There she gets caught up in possible treasonous acts and meets Benedict Thorpe, a man she thinks is more than he is letting on. It's so easy and so safe to fall in love when the universe is against you. While Elfriede's story is relayed from the beginning, chronologically, we start more towards the end with Lulu's story and are constantly backtracking and shooting forward to gain information on how she ends up in London with Benedict's sister, which is where we first meet her and the mysterious government agent, Mr. B. The pov changes also include first person and third person different narratives; it works to keep the two women drivers of their own stories but I can see how this could affect the flow of the story for some.While Lulu and Elfriede are fictional characters, they are surrounded by real events and real historical figures of their times. World War I plays a part in Elfriede's story, affecting her life's course and World War II obviously plays a big part in Lulu's story. For the most part though, the gravitas of the Wars are kept to the outside, Pearl Harbor is discussed but being in the Bahamas during the time and lack of Internet keeps the news to feeling surreal. The focus is more microcosm and how the Wars are personally affecting these two women and how it will connect them.I thought it was intriguing how the author made the Windsors, somewhat, central and key, along with the real murder mystery of Henry Oakes; little moments in history that aren't completely solved are fun to read different takes on. “Life is made up of these little crossroads, after all,” he said. “A million daily forks in the road.” The slow weaving of Elfriede and Lulu may feel meandering for a while, I thought the latter half started to drag a bit but it was still curiously interesting to see how the author ultimately ended up placing all the characters to culminate in the ending. The ending was rushed and key emotional moments were crammed, taking away from the reader from getting time to digest and deliver a bigger impact on key moments. However, if looking to disappear for a few hours, The Golden Hour will keep you intrigued about how all these characters touch and impact each other's lives and how it could feel so helpless and hopeful all at the same time during World War I and II.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 ☆ This is my third book and favorite so far of Beatriz Williams!! I loved the historical settings of WWl and WWll, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor with their quite interesting and highly decadent lifestyle, and it’s two main characters that alternated between Elfriede during the turn of the 19th century undergoing dark turmoil after giving birth (postpartum depression now); and in the 1940’s there’s Lulu a NYC writer currently living in Nassau to catch the latest gossip on the scan 4.5 ☆ This is my third book and favorite so far of Beatriz Williams!! I loved the historical settings of WWl and WWll, including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor with their quite interesting and highly decadent lifestyle, and it’s two main characters that alternated between Elfriede during the turn of the 19th century undergoing dark turmoil after giving birth (postpartum depression now); and in the 1940’s there’s Lulu a NYC writer currently living in Nassau to catch the latest gossip on the scandalous Duke and Duchess (the Duke was banished to the Bahamas to serve as it’s governor.) A marriage, a murder, and a disappearance sets Lulu’s story off in a new direction regarding secrets, government spies and a slight nod of deception. I was engaged from start to finish with its intriguing dual storylines and wasn’t quite ready for it to end. Is a great read for historical fiction readers and fans of BW. I enjoyed it so much I’m adding her Schuyler Sisters book trio to my fall reading line up!
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  • Stephanie (Stephanie's Novel Fiction)
    January 1, 1970
    The Golden Hour is the first book I’ve read that’s written just by Beatriz Williams although I’ve read her books co-authored with Karen White and Lauren Willig and loved them, which is one of the reasons I really wanted to read this one. The other reason is because I’m fascinated with anything to do with the very intriguing Duchess of Windsor, less so the Duke, and they are minor characters in the novel, with one of the main narratives of the story weaving around their lives.Williams is an incre The Golden Hour is the first book I’ve read that’s written just by Beatriz Williams although I’ve read her books co-authored with Karen White and Lauren Willig and loved them, which is one of the reasons I really wanted to read this one. The other reason is because I’m fascinated with anything to do with the very intriguing Duchess of Windsor, less so the Duke, and they are minor characters in the novel, with one of the main narratives of the story weaving around their lives.Williams is an incredible storyteller and I was so delighted to discover what an excellent historical fiction novelist she is as I fell under her spell. There are two fascinating narratives at play. One beginning in 1900 tells the story of Elfriede von Kleist, a young wife and mother who has been sent to a mental clinic in Switzerland because of severe postpartum depression. The other storyline is set in 1941 tells of Lulu Randolph Thorpe, a journalist for an American magazine sent to the Bahamas to gather as much gossip as she can on Wallis Simpson and the Duke of Windsor (avoiding all talks of politics in her column, that is).What Elfriede and Lulu have in common are two different men named Thorpe, but it is how they are connected that intertwines the story together, and Williams seamlessly goes back and forth in time to tell the stories of these two very different women. Both women are unique; I could vividly picture each of them in my mind while reading the book. As someone who suffered from postpartum depression three times, I appreciated that element of the story since I think it’s not touched on often enough, and I related to Elfriede. All the characters are compelling and unforgettable, which is something that I love when reading a book. The Golden Hour is a wonderful work of historical fiction; it blends many historical events with fiction to create a lovely read. It’s about family, war, courage, ruthlessness, hope, and love. I love unique WWII story since so many retell the same story and that, to me anyway is just an oversaturation in the subgenre, so I was delighted to read a fresh story. I’m looking forward to reading my next book by Williams and definitely recommend this one to historical fiction lovers.**Thank you, Edelweiss and William Morrow for the ARC copy. All opinions are my own.**
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    One of my favorite books by Beatriz Williams is ALONG THE INFINITE SEA. Now, I have to admit that I love plenty of her books, but that one just rocked my world as I listened to the audio version. One thing one has to know is that William's books often are connected in some way or another. You can even visit Beatriz Williams' home page to get the Schuyler family tree and the books they each appear in. Anyhow the reason I mention all this is that THE GOLDEN HOUR has connections to ALONG THE INFINI One of my favorite books by Beatriz Williams is ALONG THE INFINITE SEA. Now, I have to admit that I love plenty of her books, but that one just rocked my world as I listened to the audio version. One thing one has to know is that William's books often are connected in some way or another. You can even visit Beatriz Williams' home page to get the Schuyler family tree and the books they each appear in. Anyhow the reason I mention all this is that THE GOLDEN HOUR has connections to ALONG THE INFINITE SEA. I actually had a jaw-dropping moment when I realized towards the end of the book the connection. But, enough about that. What about the story you may wonder?READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
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  • Camille Maio
    January 1, 1970
    Beatriz Williams is always a go-to favorite of mine and this one did not disappoint! Spanning several eras of a family, I found each narrative equally intriguing. I'll be eagerly awaiting her next one!
  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    This is actually 2 separate books, IMHO. And the "eyes" of both time periods, earliest years of the 1900's and 1941-43 primarily (those two) are from two different female protagonists. It has character development to a full 4 star, but plot lines pulled the whole rating down. With that length for minutia detail and locale setting copy- this just didn't, IMHO- equate to a 400 plus page book that held together as one unit. It would have been better as a series of two books. Which it was. And the t This is actually 2 separate books, IMHO. And the "eyes" of both time periods, earliest years of the 1900's and 1941-43 primarily (those two) are from two different female protagonists. It has character development to a full 4 star, but plot lines pulled the whole rating down. With that length for minutia detail and locale setting copy- this just didn't, IMHO- equate to a 400 plus page book that held together as one unit. It would have been better as a series of two books. Which it was. And the tense changes, flashbacks, missing information for the times between told in piecemeal asides- all of that didn't help. In fact, I think it made the tension dissolve almost completely. What kept me reading was the Nassau ambiance and setting. This is something and a "whole piece" feel that I had never encountered for WWII wartime period. Not at all. And it's probably the core of what kept me reading. This author can write conversational nuance and placements well. And her prose flows without being jumpy, considering the onus of such differing story lines. Which, btw, I did not think became connected without using a "trick" of occluding and immense melodrama. Which at points, for me, made this a 2 star read. People do not keep secrets like that- no human does. They can lie about circumstances, even dying or abandonment, but not on this wide scale, with so many people of 30 or 40 years of water under the bridge knowing all the "parts". Not even under war and missing records conditions can occlude for these many various tangents of dozens of people. People are just not that stupid. But swallowing all of that (fiction indeed), the book itself, its author's "eyes" to how she created these two women leads! It was pure, pure chick lit. And this is not historical fiction for me whatsoever. Not even within the crux of the Windsors. This author LOVED her own CALLING OUT skill to be judgmental and disdain/ denigrate the Windsors for their choices. I got the feeling that at times she is a huge hater. Not only of Wallis, the person- but of an entire set of structures which enabled and permitted. It was as distasteful as were the Windsor's decisions. It was to me. And how about that hypocritical relationship that Lulu demonstrated to Wallis for SO LONG and so entirely the opposite of any sincerity. And she wants the Duchess to be "honest" in return?? Double standard on all counts, this Lulu. Not speaking of the fact that she was willing to blackmail on top of it. Duplicitous of ALL loyalties but to her own druthers.The earlier story line was not one that would have kept me reading. But the Bahamas "feel" and the Lulu (she was a 1960 plus "eyes" put into an earlier "reality") character with her completely double standard morality- made me laugh. I know she was not supposed to be funny. But she was to me considering her own actions. These women were made to suffer the ills that would be social warrior fodder right now. If this were written 20 or even 15 years ago- their outcomes and their justifications would have not had that "righteousness" pokers of superiority stuck in the readers's face, so often. This book goes over long on all those exact effusions whenever it is able or a situation requires that possible option. Times two with the rich, traditional, or even with the stoic. Those were particularly framed as dissing and derision worthy or just "lesser" core for causing that crying or loneliness, or whatever illness or trouble for our two heroines.This kind of writing is extremely commercial. She'll make a bundle out of the women with sob stories from other eras that would be revenge copy worthy now. The chick lit buyers will snap them up like candy. They thrive on the self-righteousness of emancipated women's "progress". And always love when the 18th or 19th or 20th century woman has a 21st century moral and value scale. Just like this book turns up with in plot "surprises" (usually about an "oops" in the past) about 5 or 6 times. She can tell a tale and make the "bad" person, just despicable. Most of the women readers will like the earlier period and woman better. She was gorgeous and wronged and flawed. And her sexual proclivity or not- just the kind of topic the present woman likes to read about this 100 plus years past who had little respite for her difficulties. Myself, I don't get it. That interest in the sad journey of former incompatibilities.
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  • ABookwormWithWine
    January 1, 1970
    ⭐⭐⭐⭐ / 5The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is one of those books that takes a long time to read, but one that you want to savor forever.What it's about: I recommend reading the synopsis because it is too hard for me to explain this book in just a few sentences! The Golden Hour took me ages to read (almost 7.5 hours) and is the type of book that you definitely want to take your time with. So if you are looking for a quick read, this isn't it. But if you are looking for a book that you can really ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams is one of those books that takes a long time to read, but one that you want to savor forever.What it's about: I recommend reading the synopsis because it is too hard for me to explain this book in just a few sentences! The Golden Hour took me ages to read (almost 7.5 hours) and is the type of book that you definitely want to take your time with. So if you are looking for a quick read, this isn't it. But if you are looking for a book that you can really sink your teeth into and take your time with - this is the book for you! It's also a bit of a beast at 462 pages. This was my first time reading a book by Beatriz and I can definitely tell why people love her writing. It is very eloquent and detailed, and it really helps you picture what you are reading. The book mostly switches between Lulu in the early to mid-1940s and a woman named Elfriede in the early 1900s. In both time periods I really got a sense for the landscape and what these women were seeing and going through. I will admit that The Golden Hour wasn't exactly what I was looking for at this time, so that may have influenced my rating a bit. I am just coming off a bunch of very speedy reads and wasn't entirely in the mood for a long book. However, I didn't want that to take away from my whole experience which is why it's still getting a 4 from me. It really is a beautiful, heartbreaking story even if I wasn't really able to connect to any of the characters.Song/s the book brought to mind: We Shall Be Free by Garth BrooksFinal Thought: The Golden Hour was giving me pretty major The Clockmaker's Daughter vibes, just with fewer characters, and that is something I loved. I also loved how Beatriz tied everything up at the end. There were many points in this book where it brought tears to my eyes so be warned this is a very emotional tale, but it was also so funny and surprising. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author and will recommend this to lovers of historical fiction! I received an Advance Review Copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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  • Toni
    January 1, 1970
    The perfect blend of fact and fiction sprinkled with intrigue, espionage and royalty make Beatriz Williams the ‘Queen of Historical Fiction.’ Her latest novel, ‘The Golden Hour,’ drips with all the aforementioned qualities plus sensational characters, real and imagined. We, the innocent bystander, aka reader, are paralyzed into flipping pages until we discover the truth, or what’s left of it, or what’s masquerading as the truth.Two women, so different on the outside, but so deeply intense on the The perfect blend of fact and fiction sprinkled with intrigue, espionage and royalty make Beatriz Williams the ‘Queen of Historical Fiction.’ Her latest novel, ‘The Golden Hour,’ drips with all the aforementioned qualities plus sensational characters, real and imagined. We, the innocent bystander, aka reader, are paralyzed into flipping pages until we discover the truth, or what’s left of it, or what’s masquerading as the truth.Two women, so different on the outside, but so deeply intense on the inside, tell their tales in alternating timelines. Lulu in 1941, and Elfriede, a generation before in 1904. I’m intentionally introducing them by their first names only, so you can discover everything about them by the surnames they collect and add and/or subtract to their names. These women are related in some way, not by blood, but by a long family saga Lulu will eventually uncover. Stay alert my friends. Part of their lives involve politics, war, betrayal and even a murder, none of which either woman sought or was intimately entangled with. The events happened around them and would have happened without them, in most cases.Lulu came to the Bahamas as a journalist for an American magazine, all of 25 years old, to primarily report on the goings on of the extremely popular Duke and Duchess of Windsor, recently “banished” to the islands, still a British colony, to serve as its Governor, after he abdicated the throne as King of England. It was still a Royal post, but they were ‘out of the public eye,’ as such. Meaning, of course, they weren’t in London or England, for that matter. The Royal Family could breathe a little easier. Lulu soon discovered information about the Bahamas and the Royal couple that was far from an island paradise.Forty years early Elfriede is living in Switzerland, in a former mountain top monastery turned sanatorium, recovering from what we know is post-partum depression. During the early 1900’s however, her doctors had no idea this ailment existed, so Elfriede was there for two years when we meet her. There she meets a ginger-haired Englishman recovering from pneumonia and from the moment they first speak they know, somehow, they will remain in each other’s lives as the decades move on.The remarkable story of the lives of these two women, their families, and the countless people they helped or reported on during WWII is something you must read. Just the dealings going on in the Bahamas during the war was all new to me. I knew the Duke and Duchess were thought to be Nazi sympathizers, but other realities, such as the murder of Harry Oakes, gold mine owner, actually took place. To this day they have not proved who the murderer was. The racial tension, corrupt politics and financial swindles that took place on the island during the war can fill many books.I highly recommend this book!Thank you to NetGalley, Harper Collins, and Beatriz WilliamsI apologize that this review is past the publication date; it could not be prevented. Thanks.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    4 .5 Stars!The Golden Hour is my first Beatriz Williams read and it will not be my last. I've always been interested in her books, but for some reason or another I never took the plunge until now. The draw for me was the Duke and Duchess of Windsor being cast, along with the setting of the Bahamas during WWII. I'm hesitant to pick up a traditional WWII book these days (I've read so many) and this took the topic that I love, but gave it a new spin. I couldn't wait to pick it back up again (and th 4 .5 Stars!The Golden Hour is my first Beatriz Williams read and it will not be my last. I've always been interested in her books, but for some reason or another I never took the plunge until now. The draw for me was the Duke and Duchess of Windsor being cast, along with the setting of the Bahamas during WWII. I'm hesitant to pick up a traditional WWII book these days (I've read so many) and this took the topic that I love, but gave it a new spin. I couldn't wait to pick it back up again (and that's always the sign of a good one)!I will not trouble you with regurgitating the summary, but if you like a good love story and some mystery and intrigue all wrapped up into one (with the setting of WWI & WWII), then this book is absolutely for you. I will readily admit that this may seem slow to start for some, but it worked perfectly for me. As others have mentioned, the Duke and Duchess only appear peripherally, but I was so enthralled with what would happen to Elfriede and Lulu that I didn't even care. I thought the ending was clever and done just right. With a less experienced author, a book of this scale could have been 600+ pages long, but the book was paced and plotted perfectly - leaving just enough left to think about long after. I'll be sure to recommend this for years to come.Thanks to the Buffalo Library for providing a copy to loan. They always come through for me when I'm declined for an e-arc. :)Review Date: 7/28/19Publication Date: 7/9/19
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  • DeAnn
    January 1, 1970
    4 fascinating historical fiction starsI 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 e 4 fascinating historical fiction starsI 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!Thank you to Beatriz Williams, NetGalley, and Harper Collins (especially Tavia Kowalchuk) for an early copy of the book to read.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. It took me well over 150 pages to get into this story. That being said I did enjoy this book. Because of the dual timelines, though, I really needed to focus and not let my mind wander. The story is about love and war and the struggle to go on against all odds. The two main characters, Lulu and Elfriede, were complicated women with complicated lives. I enjoyed Elfriede’s story more. Beatriz Williams is a beautiful writer who gave me a history lesson on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor 3.5 stars. It took me well over 150 pages to get into this story. That being said I did enjoy this book. Because of the dual timelines, though, I really needed to focus and not let my mind wander. The story is about love and war and the struggle to go on against all odds. The two main characters, Lulu and Elfriede, were complicated women with complicated lives. I enjoyed Elfriede’s story more. Beatriz Williams is a beautiful writer who gave me a history lesson on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and an unsolved murder. I may boost this book up to 4 stars.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I received and ARC of The Golden Hour from Goodreads.Okay, 2.5 stars. This book was really, really slow to start. In fact, I would say I didn’t actually become interested in all of the storylines until 3/4s the way through. The only thing that kept me going was Elfriede’s story. My other complaints are that Williams would change tenses depending on the storyline and year. I get that this was to make you feel certain things were happening at that moment and others happened in the past, but it was I received and ARC of The Golden Hour from Goodreads.Okay, 2.5 stars. This book was really, really slow to start. In fact, I would say I didn’t actually become interested in all of the storylines until 3/4s the way through. The only thing that kept me going was Elfriede’s story. My other complaints are that Williams would change tenses depending on the storyline and year. I get that this was to make you feel certain things were happening at that moment and others happened in the past, but it was really discombobulating.Also, I really didn’t like Lulu’s speech patterns. It didn’t work for me. This was my first novel by Beatriz WILLIAMS and I’m not sure I’d give her another chance.
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  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    January 1, 1970
    Lulu, a young widow, is on the gorgeous island of the Bahamas working for an American magazine. The British Royal family is all the rage in the 1940s, especially Edward VIII and the woman he left the crown for--Wallis Simpson. Lulu infiltrates their social circle one socialite at a time all while dealing with spies, politics, the ongoing war, and of course, a budding romance. The story jumps back to Switzerland and slowly shares the tale of Elfriede von Kleist who is stuck in a health clinic due Lulu, a young widow, is on the gorgeous island of the Bahamas working for an American magazine. The British Royal family is all the rage in the 1940s, especially Edward VIII and the woman he left the crown for--Wallis Simpson. Lulu infiltrates their social circle one socialite at a time all while dealing with spies, politics, the ongoing war, and of course, a budding romance. The story jumps back to Switzerland and slowly shares the tale of Elfriede von Kleist who is stuck in a health clinic due to her postpartum depression. Her husband, a Baron, has put her in this clinic indefinitely due to events that are slowly shared. While there, Elfriede hits it off with Wilfred Thorpe, a solider recovering from an illness. After their time together, they can't forget one another, but Elfriede is still married despite the fact that she never sees her husband or her young son. At first, Elfriede and Lulu's story seem worlds apart. It's almost as if the stories will never collide, but Beatriz Williams slowly and surely weaves them together expertly like a tapestry whose picture slowly comes to fruition. If you love war time stories featuring romance, a breathtaking tropical setting, espionage, and politics, you must read The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams this summer. Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
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  • Linda Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    No one weaves historical fiction with threads of truth like Beatriz Williams and The Golden Hour is another fine example of this. Set mostly in Nassau, Bahamas during World War 2 this story is chock full of intrigue, espionage, questions of loyalty and the very real Duke and Duchess of Windsor who were governor and First Lady during those years. Included as a counterpoint is the story of one man and woman, one generation back, caught up in love and their own wartime hardships leading up to and i No one weaves historical fiction with threads of truth like Beatriz Williams and The Golden Hour is another fine example of this. Set mostly in Nassau, Bahamas during World War 2 this story is chock full of intrigue, espionage, questions of loyalty and the very real Duke and Duchess of Windsor who were governor and First Lady during those years. Included as a counterpoint is the story of one man and woman, one generation back, caught up in love and their own wartime hardships leading up to and including World War 1.
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  • BookGypsy
    January 1, 1970
    Another historical drama to treasure. The Bahamas 1941, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Spies, espionage,traitors, murder and secrets. As a fan of BW this wasn't my favorite from her. This was a slow read but in the end a great story and I enjoyed it. A good book club book.Dawnny-BookGypsyNovels N Latte Book ClubHudson Valley NY
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  • Eden Church | The Required Reading List
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars!WOW! The Golden Hour is not a read you're going to want to miss. I found that the book started a bit slow and disorienting, but by the time I reached the end I was flipping back wishing it had more pages. This book continues all of the things that we fans love from Beatriz Williams, but it has a fresh edge to it, a spark that sets her writing on fire. *thank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Nicole R
    January 1, 1970
    This is my favorite Beatriz Williams book in a while, but I still have my one same, lingering complaint. But, first, the good stuff. Lulu arrives in Nassau in 1942. She is a writer and aspires to write about important events around the world, but for now she is writing a gossip column about the endlessly fascinating Duke and Duchess of Windsor who have been banished to The Bahamas to serve as governor of this remote territory. Lulu quickly integrates herself with Wallis Simpson through the Red C This is my favorite Beatriz Williams book in a while, but I still have my one same, lingering complaint. But, first, the good stuff. Lulu arrives in Nassau in 1942. She is a writer and aspires to write about important events around the world, but for now she is writing a gossip column about the endlessly fascinating Duke and Duchess of Windsor who have been banished to The Bahamas to serve as governor of this remote territory. Lulu quickly integrates herself with Wallis Simpson through the Red Cross and strikes a bargain with her to write flattering pieces in exchange for Wallis's cooperation and insight.Flash forward a few years we pick up Lulu's story in London after a pivotal event (which is not a secret): her British secret agent husband has been captured by the Germans and is being held in a prisoner of war camp. Desperate to find him, she tracks down his older sister that she has never met which leads them both on a path of discovery into their family's past. But, I am not done with the storylines! At the turn of the 19th century, Elfriede is in Switzerland at a home for the insane. She clearly suffers from depression, most likely postpartum, in a time where her husband's solution was to pack her off to the clear mountain air to hopefully get better. The home is also a convalescent home for people with tuberculosis. And, because of this, she meets Wilfred. A charming, if very sick man, who she instantly connects with. So, here we are, with these three different storylines and in the midst we have government intrigue, spies, true love, fate, and betrayal. It really is quite the story! And, while it started a bit slow, it hit a nice pace for the majority of the book before the break-neck pace of the last 100 pages that had me staying up way to late to finish! Some of the storylines were a little too convenient. Some of the coincidences a little too coincidental. But, in general, I can overlook those things. I loved the setting of The Bahamas. This world that Williams tapped into that had race relations on the verge of breaking, the rich and famous strolling around on holiday, and oppressive heat that was enough to drive anyone mad. No one was quite who they seemed.Which leads me to my oft-recurring complaint with Williams. I feel like she writes books that are interesting and right on the edge of what is happening, but that all of the action takes place off page. She takes the viewpoint of the passive spectator--in this case Lulu. Lulu was in the midst of the frivolity, but she didn't actually have a clue as to what the action was that was going on right under her nose. It can leave the reader frustrated as the meat of what they really want is just out of reach. And, this review is already super long, but a few more points:-- This book involved some of the crossover characters from Along the Infinite Sea. I do love how Williams has created this universe of characters that tie all her books together!--Whatever happened to Jack!?! (view spoiler)[Was he also a spy?!? (hide spoiler)]--Also, who the freak was Mr. B—?!?!? Did I just miss it?Overall, a great installment by Williams and I particularly loved the Bahamian setting and the central figures of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (I blame The Crown for my obsession), not to mention the real life events that anchored this book and made it even more interesting!Thank you to William Morrow for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    This might be my favorite of Beatriz Williams' novels. I loved all of the characters and was so absorbed in the plot. Some of it is told out of time order, and I am usually skeptical of that. If the story isn't interesting when told in time order, I think the storyteller is using a crutch to tell a weak story. I think this story would be just as engaging if told in time order. I love it!
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  • Em
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this will be tough. It’s a great story, but I struggled to finish it. The POV changes, the flashbacks, the large cast of characters, the historical detail...the insane amount of cigarettes smoked...AAR review to come.
  • Cait
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.This was perhaps not my favourite of Beatriz Williams' books. For one, I think too much of the plot threads came together at the end (like, from 87% on the kindle edition, with not enough foreplanning), and for another... I don't know that this book fully matches the blurb? One thing I love about Williams' writing is the sort of detached, lyrical style, but my experience of this book was that it kept me quite seperate from the story. The blurb of the book suggests that the treason/Nazi 3.5 stars.This was perhaps not my favourite of Beatriz Williams' books. For one, I think too much of the plot threads came together at the end (like, from 87% on the kindle edition, with not enough foreplanning), and for another... I don't know that this book fully matches the blurb? One thing I love about Williams' writing is the sort of detached, lyrical style, but my experience of this book was that it kept me quite seperate from the story. The blurb of the book suggests that the treason/Nazi sympathies of the Duke & Duchess of Windsor would be a much bigger/more explicit part of the book than I found it to be, and I don't think the two storylines were threaded together as well as I've come to expect. Where this book suffers for me is really only in comparison to her other books, which is perhaps unfair, and I think my experience of this is very YMMV.
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  • Beth McCraw
    January 1, 1970
    Beatriz Williams’ writing is exquisite!
  • Bruna Looby
    January 1, 1970
    4.3Some people say you can’t judge a book by its cover; I disagree. This book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen and the story behind it is every bit as beautiful. The Golden Hour is the first book I’ve read by Beatriz Williams but I’ll definitely be reading others.The chapters alternate between 1941 in the Bahamas and early 1900s in Switzerland, telling the story about two generations and how they are connected. 1941: Lulu is an American journalist who travels to Nassau in the 4.3Some people say you can’t judge a book by its cover; I disagree. This book has one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen and the story behind it is every bit as beautiful. The Golden Hour is the first book I’ve read by Beatriz Williams but I’ll definitely be reading others.The chapters alternate between 1941 in the Bahamas and early 1900s in Switzerland, telling the story about two generations and how they are connected. 1941: Lulu is an American journalist who travels to Nassau in the Bahamas to write about the glamorous life of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. She finally makes her way into this powerful social group. The Duchess agrees that Lulu can write about their enchanting life, if she promises to portray them in a positive light.Meanwhile, Lulu meets a handsome mysterious man who believes they were meant to be together. Lulu is loving her life, writing about the royal family for a magazine in the US while falling in love with Mr. Thorpe. On the other hand, she realizes that not everything is so perfect in this beautiful place. World War II is raging, the US is considering joining the war, and a man from their wealthy circle is murdered. 1900: Elfriede lives in Switzerland; she has a husband who is loving and wealthy as well as a beautiful baby. But right now, her reality is far from ideal. She’s spending time in a clinic to reestablish her sanity. According to her husband, she went crazy after their son was born. While having odd treatments in the clinic, Elfriede meets Wilfred Thorpe and her life changes forever. Does she really love her husband? Or did she just marry him because he could give her a life she never had? Heartbroken and pensive, Elfriede lets Wilfred go and she goes back home. But when she finally gets there, she finds out that her husband is not as genuine as she thought. This book is so much more than a romance story. Elfriede’s chapters are truly heartwarming, talking about forbidden love, sacrifices, and forgiveness. I loved every single page. Lulu’s chapters are intense and have everything that you want to read in a historical novel.
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  • Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
    January 1, 1970
    First thank you Harper Collins Publishers and William Morrow Books for this wonderful historical fiction ARC! I would also like to thank the amazing author Beatriz Williams for taking that vacation with your husband that led to you writing this delicious book.This book, although fiction, was based on actual events that took place in the Bahamas, London, etc. in the 1940s and all over Europe and Florida in the early 1900s. While our two protagonists are fictional women our supporting cast are com First thank you Harper Collins Publishers and William Morrow Books for this wonderful historical fiction ARC! I would also like to thank the amazing author Beatriz Williams for taking that vacation with your husband that led to you writing this delicious book.This book, although fiction, was based on actual events that took place in the Bahamas, London, etc. in the 1940s and all over Europe and Florida in the early 1900s. While our two protagonists are fictional women our supporting cast are comprised of actual beings and events: Duke and Duchess of Windsor, World Wars, Bahamian race divide, etc.While I try to read with no distracting electronic devices nearby I found this book encouraged it. There were historical events I needed a refresher on. Sister Ann Rosary, in fifth grade, may have covered some of these events but the precise details have long since fled my memories. There were also some references to fashion such as the Duchess’ go to designer Mainbocher I needed to see, in addition to read. There were also some words I was unfamiliar with that I rather enjoyed looking up. Please allow yourself this luxury when you read this book. But don’t stay away from the book by getting distracted with Candy Crush. No, look up that event or word, then get right back to the book. The candy will wait. The flow of the book flip-flopped between our two protagonists: Lulu and Elfriede. These women lived lives, with some great similarities, however they were decades apart. I may have been confused at the very beginning but once I caught on I rather enjoyed this format.What I have not seen with some of the other historical fiction I have read was all the twists and turns and suspense. This book truly delivers that and then some. Sure there were some “let’s catch our breath” moments but you just know it’s the calm before the storm. I enjoyed those quiet times because Beatriz paints a beautiful picture with her descriptive writing - so I wanted to visualize what I was reading.The author is also kind enough to offer the readers some suggested readings on some of her subject matter. I will definitely be checking out some of these books. Ok, I know I’m going to get some eye rolls with this. But the f-bomb was dropped a handful of times. I’ve most definitely read books riddled with all forms of cussing. It just felt to me out of place in this book. It felt gratuitous. I thought the first time I read it that I accidentally picked up Game of Thrones...Tyrian? Was that you?But, if that’s my only gripe I’m quite happy. I truly loved this book and my introduction to the author. I cannot wait to devour another of Beatriz Williams books. Thanks again to the publishers for granting me this ARC which, I believe, will be found in the bookstores July 2019.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this new Beatriz Williams book. I received an ARC, and couldn't wait to read it. But alas, life got in the way. I didn't want to open it until I could dedicate myself fully. Beatriz Williams seems to suck you into her stories and you disappear from reality. This book was no different. Her setting descriptions place you right there- the heat, the music, the whirring fans. I enjoyed both the main characters, Lulu and Elfriede. It seemed I was reading two separate stories, and I co I really enjoyed this new Beatriz Williams book. I received an ARC, and couldn't wait to read it. But alas, life got in the way. I didn't want to open it until I could dedicate myself fully. Beatriz Williams seems to suck you into her stories and you disappear from reality. This book was no different. Her setting descriptions place you right there- the heat, the music, the whirring fans. I enjoyed both the main characters, Lulu and Elfriede. It seemed I was reading two separate stories, and I could not figure out how the two stories were going to intertwine. I was enjoying the puzzle for a time, but as more characters became introduced, a character map would have been helpful, but then given away the mystery of the book.The book is well written, I enjoyed the tie to real life history and the fictional characters. The novel is based both at the turn of the century and WWII, continues in forward or reverse time until they meet. My one complaint about this book is that is seemed to take too long to get to the point where the two stories intersect. Hints are dropped starting about half way, but not until the last couple of chapters did everything make sense. At that point in the book, the pace ramps up, wild things happen, and it seems rushed and then neatly tied in a bow. The ending left me slightly unsatisfied as it didn't seem to fit the feel of the rest of the book.I want to reread this book when I have a chance to absorb and keep a steady pace all the way through. I will recommend any Beatriz Williams book, and this one may be one of her best. Though I would have chosen a less chaotic ending, the rest of the book is very satisfying and allowed the escape I always look forward to with this author's books.
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  • The Just-About-Cocky Ms M
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Sex, sleaze, and Ken and Barbie masquerading as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Why on earth this sort of empty schmaltz appeals to people is beyond me, unless, of course, it's their prurient interest in empty-headed celebrities and their sex lives.I read the sample pages only. That's enough for discerning and voracious readers to get a sense of the book's value to them. So with yet another version of the tired trope that requires a young American widow to parachute into the story and take Wow! Sex, sleaze, and Ken and Barbie masquerading as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Why on earth this sort of empty schmaltz appeals to people is beyond me, unless, of course, it's their prurient interest in empty-headed celebrities and their sex lives.I read the sample pages only. That's enough for discerning and voracious readers to get a sense of the book's value to them. So with yet another version of the tired trope that requires a young American widow to parachute into the story and take immediate charge. Sound familiar? It should.I could also see from the sample pages that the dialogue was painfully silly and inane, the "Lulu" character acting like no newly-widowed woman I could imagine, and the plot was off to its general inanity, with fashion, jewels, spies, and other frivolities.Not for me, folks. And certainly not at $13 for the Kindle version.
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  • MicheleReader
    January 1, 1970
    What a great feeling it is when you anxiously await one of your favorite author’s latest book (after being distraught that you were declined for an advance copy), you tear into it and yes, it lives up to your high expectations. Phew. Loved The Golden Hour. Williams again weaves a wonderful story, told in two timelines, filled with interesting characters and some well known historical figures (including the not so regal Duke and Duchess of Windsor). I’m a fast reader but I took my time on this on What a great feeling it is when you anxiously await one of your favorite author’s latest book (after being distraught that you were declined for an advance copy), you tear into it and yes, it lives up to your high expectations. Phew. Loved The Golden Hour. Williams again weaves a wonderful story, told in two timelines, filled with interesting characters and some well known historical figures (including the not so regal Duke and Duchess of Windsor). I’m a fast reader but I took my time on this one to savior the excellent writing.
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  • Alexis (hookedtobooks)
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to @harpercollinsca for sending me a copy of this book!-This book turned out to be a lot more complex then I expected, and in a very good way! The premise is that it takes place in the Bahamas around 1941, and follows a woman who goes to the Bahamas to report on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who were living there at the time! But in reality, there was a lot more to this book than I thought! Lulu is a complex character who goes to the Bahamas to revamp and rejuvenate her life, and th Thank you to @harpercollinsca for sending me a copy of this book!-This book turned out to be a lot more complex then I expected, and in a very good way! The premise is that it takes place in the Bahamas around 1941, and follows a woman who goes to the Bahamas to report on the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, who were living there at the time! But in reality, there was a lot more to this book than I thought! Lulu is a complex character who goes to the Bahamas to revamp and rejuvenate her life, and there she meets people who will impact her life forever! But the book also has some other great characters as well, including Elfriede, who at the beginning of the 20th century is struggling with postpartum depression, except they don’t understand what that is so no one really knows how to help her, which is sad! The two women’s stories are kinda intertwined but in an unexpected way (so that’s all I’m going to say on that), but the two stories are in during tumultuous times, which makes for a very interesting book!
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