Beatriz Williams, the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer Wives, is back with another hot summer read; a dazzling epic of World War II in which a beautiful young “society reporter” is sent to the Bahamas, a haven of spies, traitors, and the infamous Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
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?
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.
Lulu is sent to the Bahamas to learn more about Edward and Wallis, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. Lulu ends up investigating a murder which takes her to London. This leads her down a path of espionage and and crime she never expected.
This is not my favorite Beatriz Williams book. This story starts slow and I stayed confused during most of it. It is told in two voices, Lulu and Elfriede. And Elfriede’s tale is the one that kept me reading this book. Her part of this novel is a better story than Lulu’s. I found the characters a little flat and I felt like I didn’t know enough about them. They sort of do things “out of character”. And as I was reading, I was questioning. “What the devil did I miss!?”
I did enjoy the historical aspect. It is very well researched. All of her novels are! This story just left me confused and a little bored. But, if you have not read Beatriz, I would start with one of her other books and pick this one up later.
I received this from the publisher for a honest review.
You hit the nail on the head with this one.
I agree that about not starting with this book if you have never read Beatriz Williams’ books. I normally can’t put her books down, but I wasn’t able to finish this one.
THANKS for your honest and terrific review, reeca.
You are awesome!! Thanks for your comment
I agree with your review and with Elizabeth Silver’s comment. A great review, Reeca!
Great review. I am still so confused about the “letters” Lulu was receiving. Obviously I’m assuming they had damning information about the duke and duchess. Can you provide any insight?
HI Hannah! Thanks so much for commenting and reading my blog! Makes me smile! That part of the story was the most confusing part. It really never comes together well. Have you read all of it?