Author: Katherine Reay
Published by: Harper Muse on Nov. 2, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Book Rating: 8.5/10
Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britain’s World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation.
Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.
Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.
Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.
In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.
Captivating, immersive, and mysterious!
The London House is an uplifting, pensive tale that sweeps you away to England and Paris during WWII, as well as present-day London, and into the lives of the Payne family as they delve into all the strained relationships and enduring secrets, loss, tears, wounds, misery, grief, and anger that has surrounded them for generations.
The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are complex, scarred, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, life, family, friendship, mystique, heartbreak, romance, secrets, hope, passion, sisterhood, as well as a little insight into some of the iconic fashion produced by the house of Schiaparelli over the years.
Overall, The London House is an informative, romantic, alluring tale by Reay that does an exceptional job of highlighting the incredible impact war had on the personal lives of those it touched both at home and away and the significant contribution women played during those dark and tumultuous times.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to BookSparks for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.