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Infamy in the Bahamas

Cover of The Golden Hour
A review of The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams

I've not read any of Beatriz Williams historical novels and might not have read this, her newest, if I hadn't been assigned it to review for someone else. This novel is an epic dive into the world of one of the most enigmatic couples in history, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.  The famous couple (or perhaps infamous) - he for abdicating as King of England and she for being the divorcee for whom he gave up the kingdom - were sent to the Bahamas near the beginning of WWII. The Duke has been given the title of Governor of the Bahamas. Many suspect though that in reality this "job" is meant to keep the couple from starting any trouble, deliberate or inadvertant, while their home country fights for it's survival against the Germans.

The lives of the Windsors and the people who surround them in Nassau are seen through the eyes of a young woman who arrives in the Bahamas determined to work her way into their inner circle. Leonara "Lulu" Randolph is a budding journalist with ambitions of exposing nefarious doings by the royal pair who are known Nazi sympathizers. But instead of exposing plots and schemes she finds herself drawn into their world and seduced into a far different role. To earn her money, Lulu is drawn into becoming a PR spin doctor for Wallis Simpson who has become angry about the bad press she and Edward are getting. With Lu's help, a series of positive articles are making their way into the press. As she falls under the spell of the Windsors and the islands Lulu also finds herself drawn to the mysterious Benedict Thorpe who seems to have plans and schemes of his own. Williams interweaves Lulu's tale with that of the sad and mysterious Elfriede Von Kleist (a secondary character in the author's Schuyler Sisters series) whose story starts in Europe in 1900. 

Though I wasn't always sure of the necessity of Elfriede's story being included Williams does tie it all together in a satisfyingly emotional ending. I'll definitely be dipping into Williams' backlist in the future.

May 22, 2019