Review by Booklist Review
When journalist Lulu Randolph arrives in Nassau in 1941 and gains the favor of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, she quickly learns that beneath the surface of the Windsors' court in this tropical paradise where the duke is serving as governor lies a quagmire of espionage, scurrilous financial dealings, and possible treason. Lulu also finds herself swept into a romance with the charming Benedict Thorpe, a British scientist who she realizes is involved in dealings considerably more serious than botany, which lead to his mysterious disappearance. Alternating chapters tell the story of Benedict's parents, Elfriede and Wilfred, and their struggle to be together; the depiction of Elfriede's postpartum depression is a particularly refreshing, albeit heart-wrenching, element of their story. With her trademark skill, the author adeptly draws the threads of the two story lines together, culminating in a surprising, emotionally satisfying conclusion. Williams' latest (after The Summer Wives, 2018) is moving, well-researched, and compulsively readable to the very last page.--Martha Waters Copyright 2019 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
The stories of two remarkable women a generation apart are cleverly intertwined in Williams's sweeping family saga. In 1941, Lulu Randolph, a 25-year-old widowed American journalist, is in Nassau, Bahamas, to write society articles about the duke and duchess of Windsor, Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. The duke-as governor of this island paradise with a dark side-and the duchess are portrayed as sometimes helping, but often contributing to, its problems of social inequality, racial tension, and corruption; they could also be complicit in the murder of gold mine owner Harry Oakes, and there are whispers of their Nazi sympathies. As Lulu's royal access leads her deeper into Nassau's shady political world and into a murky letter-passing operation with the duke and duchess, she falls in love with Benedict Thorpe, an English botanist with a mysterious background, who is captured by the Nazis in Europe. In the second story line, set in 1900, young German baroness Elfriede von Kleist suffers from postpartum depression; her sister-in-law banishes her to a Swiss clinic. She falls in love with an English patient, Wilfred Thorpe; their relationship takes many twists and turns as a result of Wilfred's military career, Elfriede's husband's betrayal, and two tragic deaths. Past and present come together when a complicated family history becomes known to all. Williams (The Summer Wives) illuminates the story with exotic locales and bygone ambience, and seduces with the irresistible Windsors. Readers will appreciate the wartime espionage that keeps the suspense high. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
To a portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, this historical novel adds two grand fictional passions: one beginning in Switzerland in 1900, the other in the Bahamas in 1941, both involving a ginger-haired Brit named Thorpe.The first scene of Williams' (The Summer Wives, 2018, etc.) latest novel introduces the resourceful and wonderfully articulate Lulu Randolph Thorpe, "a pedigree twenty-five-year-old feline, blessed with sleek, dark pelt and composure in spades." A columnist for an American women's magazine stationed in the Bahamas in the early 1940s, Lulu reports on the doings of the former Edward VIII and Wallis Simpsonscrupulously avoiding all mention of the thicket of political corruption and racial tension that surrounds them. But to us, Lulu tells all, going back to how she dispensed with her first husband, the problematic Mr. Randolph, and continuing through her current missionto spring her second husband, British undercover agent Benedict Thorpe, from a German prison camp. A second narrative set 40 years earlier focuses on Elfriede von Kleist, a new mother from rural Westphalia with postpartum depression so severe she has attempted suicide, causing her husband, the Baron, to dispatch her to a clinic in Switzerland. There she meets a young Londoner named Wilfred Thorpe, interrupting his grand tour of the continent to recover from pneumoniabut never to recover from meeting Elfriede. The portrait of wartime Bermuda and the awful Windsors, observed and reported by Lulu, is original and fascinating. Lulu herself is an excellent creation, tough, smart, sexy, and ruthless. While the secondary Elfriede plot adds interesting complications to the historical puzzle, it doesn't have quite as much verve.A fresh take on the WWII love story, with a narrator who practically demands Myrna Loy come back to life to play her in the movie. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.