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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 to read it.

by Beatriz Williams

Quick take

Lifestyles of the rich and famous—during WWII.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_NonLinear

    Nonlinear timeline

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Real-life-characters

    Real-life characters

Synopsis

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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Free sample

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

Why I love it

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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Member ratings (7,192)

  • Karen O.

    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.

  • Elizabeth M.

    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!!!

  • Nancy L.

    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

  • Grace H.

    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

  • Laura C.

    Conshohocken, PA

    A bit of a slow start but wonderfully written historical fiction dual love story. Complete with descriptions of gorgeous locations, fascinating characters, and a few twists I didn’t see coming. ♥️