Monday, November 1, 2021

The London House: A Novel by Katherine Reay

(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

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.

my thoughts:

Wow! What a wonderful story! I absolutely LOVED Katherine Reay's novel, The London House. It was such a terrific read. And, that book cover - talk about reeling a reader in. Loved it!

Okay, so what is this awesome story about? Family. WWII.  Sisters.  And so much more. It is a gripping story that will pull you right in. I loved getting to know these characters and their stories. It's fascinating to read about how war affected two sisters in such vastly different ways - makes you realize not only how similar we can be, but also how differently we react to the same things. 

Caroline gets a message from an old college friend, Mat.  He's working on an article about her family's history and apparently, it's not going to be a pretty picture he paints. Yep, turns out that the information he dug up on her aunt, Caro, leads to the term - traitor. Yikes! Suffice it to say, Caroline is shocked and asks Mat for time to talk to her father about the article.  However, when she meets up with her father, she's met with resistance - he doesn't wan to talk about Caro or their family's history. So, Caroline heads to The London House, where her mother lives and where she can dig up information about Caro.  Through old diaries and letters, along with Mat's help, Caroline begins to discover just who her aunt Caro was.  And let me just say - it's quite a family story she uncovers. 

Reay has written a superb novel that is the epitome of what historical fiction should be. Her attention to detail when describing the time period, culture, and people is amazing. Her characters are unforgettable and her story is unputdownable. The London House is one book you won't want to miss out on! Get your hands on a copy ASAP!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

1 comment:

Katherine Reay said...

Thank you for that gorgeous review. I am so delighted you loved the story!