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.
The London House is such a good book. It’s a split time novel set in the present and in the 1930s. Deep family secrets have haunted Caroline’s family for decades. When her old boyfriend Mat calls her up with some news, she is determined to find answers. I also enjoyed the way the story unfolded through a combination of letters and in person. I really liked Caroline and Mat. I enjoyed getting to know them both. I loved learning about the sisters, Caro and Margo. Both had such different personalities. I knew very little about the House of Schiaparelli and the fashion industry before reading this book. Some of the outfits mentioned were so unique.
There was a lot of depth to this story. I had a hard time putting it down. I liked how Katherine Reay weaved the past and the present together. She did a great job bringing the past to life for me.
I highly recommend this book to my family and friends.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. I also purchased a copy for myself. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one full length non-fiction work. Her upcoming novel, THE LONDON HOUSE, will release 11/02/2021.
Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, rehabbing runner, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. She lives outside Chicago, IL.
You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com or on Facebook: KatherineReayBooks, Twitter: @katherine_reay or Instagram: @katherinereay.