A five-star read... The London House by Katherine Reay (Review) @Katherine_Reay @harpermusebooks @HarperCollins #5starread #5starreview #LondonHouse #HistoricalFiction #KatherineReay #NewBooks #AudioBooks #BookTour #AustenprosePR

Welcome to my tour stop for this newest from a favorite author. Find my 5-star review below...

The London House
By Katherine Reay
Adult Fiction, Historical, Epistolary, Women's Fiction
Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 368 Pages
November 2, 2021 by Harper Muse


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.

In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart.

Advance Praise

“Carefully researched, emotionally hewn, and written with a sure hand, The London House is a tantalizing tale of deeply held secrets, heartbreak, redemption, and the enduring way that family can both hurt and heal us. I enjoyed it thoroughly.”— Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars and The Book of Lost Names

“An expertly researched and marvelously paced treatise on the many variants of courage and loyalty . . . Arresting historical fiction destined to thrill fans of Erica Roebuck and Pam Jenoff.”— Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code

“Reay’s fast-paced foray into the past cleverly reveals a family’s secrets and how a pivotal moment shaped future generations. Readers who enjoy engrossing family mystery should take note.”— Publisher’s Weekly

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My Review

THE LONDON HOUSE is a story of the effects of loss over generations and one woman's desire to find truth and heal. It's a lush story that begins pre-WWII as twin sisters exchange letters, to present day as a granddaughter searches for answers with a friend in England and Paris. It's about family, finding hope, and reaching for love. An impeccably written story with details that both immerse readers and pull on the heart. Highly recommended to historical fiction and women's fiction readers!

I have yet to be disappointed by one of Reay's books. This one was no different. It was a story with delightful characters who I couldn't help but love, and a bit of a mystery that must be uncovered in order for a family to heal and a heart to be opened to love. I loved getting to know Caroline, the main POV of the story, as well as her grandmother and her twin sister through they're letters. I loved the London townhouse, especially as the story visits it in present day. It all felt very lush, but also cozy as Caroline travels to Europe to research her family and possibly help to heal her own as she does. There was also two strings of romance, but nothing that overtook the story. Instead it just enhanced the experience and made for a very satisfying read.

There were lots of little nuggets of wisdom in this book that I loved. Here are a few of them:

"When something bad happens," she continued, "it's easy to blame someone else, and in some cases maybe it is their fault, but that doesn't matter. Not in the end. What does matter is how we hold on to that hurt or that anger. We can magnify the pain, making it worse and worse until it devours us, or we can forgive it and get on with life." - p. 137

If what had started a domino chain of pain, retreat, and dysfunction could somehow be reversed or reimagined, then couldn't a domino chain of hope replace and even heal it? - p. 300

My only qualm was the slight promiscuity in some of the letters, including some suggestive content. Not anything that pushed this over the clean line, but a bit different with a switch in publishers and to mainstream fiction instead of Christian fiction for this author.

In the end, was it what I wished for? I had no problems flipping the pages of this book, making this literally a one-sitting read. It was a story I was sad to leave with wonderful characters and an endearing plot that left me feeling quite happily content. Again, highly recommended! 

Content: Some suggestive content including a slight closed-door scene.
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Austenprose PR, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of Dear Mr. Knightley, Lizzy and Jane, The Brontë Plot, A Portrait of Emily Price, The Austen Escape, and The Printed Letter Bookshop. All Katherine’s novels are contemporary stories with a bit of classical flair. Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University, graduating Phi Beta Kappa, and is a wife, mother, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. After living all across the country and a few stops in Europe, Katherine now happily resides outside Chicago, IL.

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