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The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
Historical fiction

The Golden Hour

Repeat author
Beatriz Williams is back at Book of the Month – other BOTMs include The Summer Wives.
Early Release
This is an early release that's only available to our members—the rest of the world has to wait 'til next month to read it.

by Beatriz Williams

Quick take

Lifestyles of the rich and famous—during WWII.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Real-life-characters

    Real-life characters

Why I love it

Susan Meissner
Author, As Bright as Heaven

It 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 (author of previous BOTM selection, The Summer Wives) 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!

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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.

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Get an early look from the first pages of The Golden Hour.

Member thoughts

All (6302)
All (6302)
Love (3057)
Like (2725)
Dislike (520)
6559 ratings
  • 47% Love
  • 42% Like
  • 8% Dislike
  • New York, NY

    Beatriz Williams really paints a picture of two very divergent locales and eras. I was struck by the minute details of the descriptions of Lulu’s extended stay in Nassau and Elfried’s life in Europe.

  • Winchester, IN

    I wasn’t sure about this book at first but I was wrong! There is amazing depth to the characters and the storylines are compelling. So many strong female characters, and real life murder mystery, too!

  • Downingtown, PA

    Excellent Book!! Set in the Bahamas in the 40’s as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, govern the island. Lulu, a report, is sent to write a column about the socialites! Intertwined is the love story

  • Hilliard, OH

    The synopsis of this book is misleading because much if it (perhaps half) is spent weaving a story of the main character’s mother in law, which was a dull narrative that should have been edited down.

  • Hillsboro, OR

    I am visually impaired so a friend is reading this book to me a chapter or a two at a time. We’re both enjoying it so much. We laugh and discuss the historical incidents and check some words on Google

  • Elgin, OK

    It takes a little while to build the back story, but once you reach about a third of the way through, the book takes off in a colorful, romantic, inspiring direction. Would recommend for the romance!♥

  • Ventura, CA

    An epic! Loved the double narrative, and the portrayal of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor was correctly scathing. I think this is a story I will think about often — oh and the romance! Fantastic!!!

  • Lakeland, FL

    Beautiful book, although slow. I’m a sucker for a good love story and this book delivered. I appreciated the honest portrayal of the horrors of wartime and PPD as well. The Thorpe men stole my heart.

  • Guyton, GA

    I like historical novels and was about WWII and the Bahamas a subject I haven’t explored so win win. Well written, I couldn’t put it down. It was a little confusing at first but thought provoking.

  • Rotterdam, NY

    After The Summer Wives and The Golden Hour, I’m a Williams fan! The atmosphere of paradise and polite society barely masks the treason and racism in the Bahamas during WW2. Jumping timelines, love...

  • Cincinnati , OH

    The Golden Hour was as mesmerizing as its title. At 400+ pages, it’s rare to so succinctly interweave the lives, loves, and work of two strong women against a backdrop of war and political intrigue.

  • Marblehead, MA

    This is a well-written book about all different kinds of big, intense love - mother & child, husband & wife, siblings. Set against the intrigue & heat of Nassau, it's a must read! Couldn't put it down

  • Hapeville, GA

    This was right up my alley with a love story and mystery set during WWII. Add in the Duke and duchess and I'm hooked. A little far fetched toward the end toward the end but I still really enjoyed it.

  • Atlanta, GA

    I actually avoided reading this book for months, I don't know why. I couldn't put it down. It was a lush, captivating read with intrigue, charm, and suspense. The dual timelines were captivating.

  • Fairfax, VA

    I loved this book. The varying stories take a little getting used to, each story line sucks you in and you're sad to leave it behind and go to the next one, til that one sucks you in too. Great ending

  • Escondido , CA

    This book kept me turning page after page with many twists and turns,from two very diverse yet sinikar characters.It makes me want to read more historical fiction even though thats not my usual genre

  • Renton, WA

    I selected this book because of The Windsor’s, and while this was the initial hook, this book ended up being so much more. Deep complex characters, lush writing that transports you, and a twist end.


    I love books where different threads weave together at the end. I loved LuLu and Elfriede. There were a couple of points where the author didn't explain things as well as I would have liked (letter)

  • Rochester, MN

    This book was not what I expected, especially crossing between generations and having a bit of a twist at the end. But I enjoyed it immensely, and it's the fastest I've read a book in a very long time

  • Chicago, IL

    I loved this book! Even though I knew how the two narratives were connected, the ending was definitely unexpected and satisfying. Loved the interesting, complex women characters with unique struggles.

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