The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams
English | 2019 | Historical Fiction | ePUB | 2.7 Mb
The Golden Hour : The Bahamas, 1941. Newly-widowed Leonora “Lulu” Randolph arrives in the Bahamas to investigate the Governor and his wife for a New York society magazine. After all, American readers have an insatiable appetite for news of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, that glamorous couple whose love affair nearly brought the British monarchy to its knees five years earlier. What more intriguing backdrop for their romance than a wartime Caribbean paradise, a colonial playground for kingpins of ill-gotten empires?
Or so Lulu imagines. But as she infiltrates the Duke and Duchess’s social circle, and the powerful cabal that controls the islands’ political and financial affairs, she uncovers evidence that beneath the glister of Wallis and Edward’s marriage lies an ugly—and even treasonous—reality. In fact, Windsor-era Nassau seethes with spies, financial swindles, and racial tension, and in the middle of it all stands Benedict Thorpe: a scientist of tremendous charm and murky national loyalties. Inevitably, the willful and wounded Lulu falls in love.
Then Nassau’s wealthiest man is murdered in one of the most notorious cases of the century, and the resulting coverup reeks of royal privilege. Benedict Thorpe disappears without a trace, and Lulu embarks on a journey to London and beyond to unpick Thorpe’s complicated family history: a fateful love affair, a wartime tragedy, and a mother from whom all joy is stolen.
The stories of two unforgettable women thread together in this extraordinary epic of espionage, sacrifice, human love, and human courage, set against a shocking true crime . . . and the rise and fall of a legendary royal couple.
“The woman’s still addressing the clerk. No notice of us at all. I climb to my feet. “Mr. B—?”
He steps forward and holds out his hand. “You must be Mrs. Thorpe,” he says warmly, and he takes my fingers between his two palms, as if we are father and daughter, meeting for tea after a short absence.
Instead of remaining inside the Basil Hotel foyer (in which the enemy ears might or might not be listening, but the desk clerk certainly is) we head out into the gloom. I tend to step briskly as a matter of habit, but Mr. B— (I’m afraid I can’t reveal his real name) shuffles along at an awkward gait, and it’s a chore to keep my limbs in check. I tuck my hands inside my pockets and drum my fingers against my thighs. I feel as if he should speak first. He’s the professional, after all.
“Well, Mrs. Thorpe,” he says at last. “I must congratulate you on your resolve. To have made your way to London in wartime, to have approached my office with such an extraordinary request—why, it’s the most astonishing thing I’ve seen in some time.”
“I hope you don’t mind.”
“Mind? Of course not. If there’s one thing we admire in this country, it’s dash. Dash and pluck, Mrs. Thorpe, which you appear to possess in abundance. How long had you two been married?”