FICTION
The Golden Hour
Morrow. Jul. 2019. 480p. ISBN 9780062834751. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062834775. F
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The newest from Williams (after The Summer Wives) is an epic foray into the world of one of the most enigmatic couples in history, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, as seen through the eyes of a young woman who arrives in the Bahamas in 1941 determined to work her way into their inner circle. When the former King of England and his wife, Wallis Simpson (as was), were exiled to the islands near the start of World War II, there was much speculation about the reasons behind the assignment. Leonora "Lulu" Randolph is a budding journalist with ambitions of exposing nefarious doings by the royal pair, who are known Nazi sympathizers. But instead of unearthing plots and schemes, she is drawn into a far different role—just as she's seduced by the mysterious Benedict Thorpe, who seems to have plans and schemes of his own. Williams weaves 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.
VERDICT Lulu and Elfriede's stories are built piece by piece, and while the plotting is a bit of a slow burn, Williams's deft hand with characterization and emotionally connective storytelling pays off for readers in big ways. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]

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