Published by Harper Muse on November 2, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Epistolary, Fiction / Historical / World War II, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Secular, Fiction / Women
Source: Harper Muse
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.
Praise for The London House:
“Carefully researched, emotionally hewn, and written with a sure hand, The London House is a tantalizing tale of deeply held secrets, heartbreak, redemption, and the enduring way that family can both hurt and heal us. I enjoyed it thoroughly.” —Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars and The Book of Lost Names
“An expertly researched and marvelously paced treatise on the many variants of courage and loyalty . . . Arresting historical fiction destined to thrill fans of Erica Roebuck and Pam Jenoff.” —Rachel McMillan author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code
- A stand-alone split-time novel
- Partially epistolary: the historical storyline is told through letters and journals
- Book length: approximately 102,000 words
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Oh, the stories that arise from hidden family secrets. This story started off with a bang, and I was immediately sucked in. The fact that the Waite sisters were twins and not just sisters, added an extra layer to the complexity and intrigue of their relationship amidst the lingering secrets that managed to outlive them. Following a shocking allegation shared from a friend from her own past, Caroline heads to the London House which has been in her family for generations, for answers. I liked that this was a dual timeline novel so that it was as if I was able to see the secrets unfold in real-time as they were discovered by the future characters. I liked that there was more depth to the characters than first revealed and that part of the journey for the reader was to slowly uncover the layers to that depth. It was a strongly character-driven novel. Although there were some parts that lagged, for the most part I enjoyed the story and it was able to hold my attention. I could easily recommend to historical fiction fans.
*NOTICE: Although other books by Katherine Reay fall under the Christian Fiction category, this one is published as secular fiction.
*I received a copy of this book from Harper Muse. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.