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The London House

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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 bur 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. Praise for The London House: “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 A stand-alone split-time novel Partially epistolary: the historical storyline is told through letters and journals Book length: approximately 102,000 words Includes discussion questions for book clubs


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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 bur 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. Praise for The London House: “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 A stand-alone split-time novel Partially epistolary: the historical storyline is told through letters and journals Book length: approximately 102,000 words Includes discussion questions for book clubs

30 review for The London House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    I have enjoyed everything I have read by Reay in the past and this novel was no exception as it was engrossing from start to finish. It is important to note that this is Reay's first book with the new Harper Muse imprint, "seeking to illuminate minds and captivate hearts." It's not a Christian fiction imprint, and so Reay's fans expecting Christian fiction should know this in advance. It's a fantastic story though, so I hope that The London House will please both old and new readers of her work I have enjoyed everything I have read by Reay in the past and this novel was no exception as it was engrossing from start to finish. It is important to note that this is Reay's first book with the new Harper Muse imprint, "seeking to illuminate minds and captivate hearts." It's not a Christian fiction imprint, and so Reay's fans expecting Christian fiction should know this in advance. It's a fantastic story though, so I hope that The London House will please both old and new readers of her work. Carolyn gets approached by an old college friend Mat, who does research into family trees and came across some information about her family, and he plans to include the information in an article he is writing. During World War II, Carolyn's Great Aunt Caro (her namesake) betrayed England as a spy for Germany and defected with a Nazi after falling in love. Carolyn is stunned by this news, as she always believed that Caro died of polio as a child. After getting nowhere with her father, Carolyn heads to the family's London House, where her mother is now living. They uncover letters and diaries, and with the help of Mat begin to put together exactly what must have happened in the past. This book has so much adventure, Reay's research is stunning and her details are intricately drawn to give the reader the picture of what was happening during World War II. There are so many greater themes here, of bringing truth to light, of healing and learning how to accept the past in order to move forward with the future. I think that sometimes our relatives and our parents are framed in a certain way in our minds, and when we encounter new information it isn't always easy to reconsider and reevaluate. If you enjoy books set in the present day that are exploring the past, this book should have wide appeal. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Caroline Payne, was friends with Mat Hammond in collage, he has an interest in History and he contacts her out of the blue. While doing research for a client, Mat uncovers some interesting information about Caroline’s English great-aunt and Caroline thought she died as a child? Caroline was named after her great-aunt, how could she have possibly been in France during the 1930’s and Mat must have his wires crossed. Her father isn’t happy about Caroline or Mat delving into his families past, he be Caroline Payne, was friends with Mat Hammond in collage, he has an interest in History and he contacts her out of the blue. While doing research for a client, Mat uncovers some interesting information about Caroline’s English great-aunt and Caroline thought she died as a child? Caroline was named after her great-aunt, how could she have possibly been in France during the 1930’s and Mat must have his wires crossed. Her father isn’t happy about Caroline or Mat delving into his families past, he believes his aunt Caroline died as a child and Mat shouldn’t publish any of his crazy theories. Caroline travels to England to visit her mum, despite being divorced from her husband, her mother-in-law Margaret left her The London House to Caroline’s mum and she's been renovating it. Mat joins her in London and they find old diaries, letters, photographs, and discover Margaret and Caroline Waite were actually twins. The girl’s father John was the Earl of Eriska, he served in the navy with distinction during WW I, and they owned a property in the country called Parkley and of course the town residence in London. The once close sisters slowly drifted apart, it started when Margaret was sick with scarlet fever and Caroline moved to France after she left finishing school. Caro started working for Elsa Schiaparelli as a modernist dressmaker, she ignored the rumors about another war breaking out and Caro left it too late to return home. Was, Caro possibly a German sympathizer, a traitor to her country, and that’s why she was disowned by her family and they told the next generation she died as a child? Caroline and Mat, slowly piece together what Caro did during the war, they check national archives in England, France and Germany, she also left behind hidden clues, and they discover what really happened on October 1941 and it wasn’t what the Earl thought. Mat opens up old painful wounds for Caroline junior’s family, Mat had no idea about Caroline’s tragic childhood, and her feelings towards Mat change and could they be more than friends? Caroline Waite was extremely brave, courageous, loyal, and dedicated to her country, she didn’t run off with a German officer, and she certainly wasn’t a traitor. The London House by Katherine Reay, is a brilliant dual timeline historical fiction story about family secrets, misperception, and misunderstanding, war, lost love, jealousy, resilience, hope, discovering the truth and changing the injustice from the past. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley and Harper Muse, one of the best books I have read this year, absolutely brilliant and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KarrenReadsH...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    I was completely absorbed in the search for the truth with Katherine Reay's latest novel, The London House. The skillful weaving in of letters, diary entries, and historical documents makes this almost feel like a time-slip novel. The strength of the novel, as usual with Katherine Reay, lies in the robust characters and their development from page one to the end. Past and present play off each other in ways that deepen their growth with each new discovery. Published by the new imprint, Harper Mu I was completely absorbed in the search for the truth with Katherine Reay's latest novel, The London House. The skillful weaving in of letters, diary entries, and historical documents makes this almost feel like a time-slip novel. The strength of the novel, as usual with Katherine Reay, lies in the robust characters and their development from page one to the end. Past and present play off each other in ways that deepen their growth with each new discovery. Published by the new imprint, Harper Muse, it's not billed as Christian fiction so you won't find explicit faith content, but you will find a clean story with well-drawn, three-dimensional characters on a journey to reconcile themselves with each other, and with the past. I listened to it in just a few days' time.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Cya_all_day_dream_about_books

    This work of historical fiction derives its inspiration from myriad true incidents that have happened during the period leading to and during WWII. A family history research leads Mat to contact Caroline again regarding her great aunt Caro’s defection to Germany during the height of WWII. But Caroline knows that her great aunt died in her childhood, and something doesn’t seem right. She along with Mat, tries to uncover the past by confronting her family, and that’s when she remembers that she her This work of historical fiction derives its inspiration from myriad true incidents that have happened during the period leading to and during WWII. A family history research leads Mat to contact Caroline again regarding her great aunt Caro’s defection to Germany during the height of WWII. But Caroline knows that her great aunt died in her childhood, and something doesn’t seem right. She along with Mat, tries to uncover the past by confronting her family, and that’s when she remembers that she herself had accidentally discovered some aspect about Caro. The entire novel is about finding the real truth about Caro, did she elope with a German and ultimately defect to Germany or is there other part that’s unknown? Katherine Reay has provided a lot of real incidents of the 1930s and 40s in the background as well as spun those in the life of fictional characters of this plot. The writing style is unique, with present story going on while past is told through letters and journal entries. Although I’ve read a lot of historical fiction based on WWII, I never came across her books, I’ll be reading more by this author.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tamara

    Caroline Payne never knew her great-aunt Caro whom she is named after, but when Mat Hammond, a friend from college reappears in her life claiming that her aunt was a spy, a traitor to her own country, she is compelled to find out if it’s true. London House delves into the family history that Caroline had no idea about because she believed or had been told that her namesake had died of polio. These scandalous secrets that emerge paint her aunt in a way that is unflattering. Through letters and di Caroline Payne never knew her great-aunt Caro whom she is named after, but when Mat Hammond, a friend from college reappears in her life claiming that her aunt was a spy, a traitor to her own country, she is compelled to find out if it’s true. London House delves into the family history that Caroline had no idea about because she believed or had been told that her namesake had died of polio. These scandalous secrets that emerge paint her aunt in a way that is unflattering. Through letters and diaries between her grandmother and her great-aunt, she begins to piece together what really has happened. I liked the relationship between Caroline and Mat, and how at first it was surface but as they furthered their joint research into her aunt that their relationship deepened. There were misunderstandings on both parts, and learning about her aunt helped Caroline to be more open and honest about who she is, which allowed for greater transparency between the two of them. For me, I found London House to be a departure from what I would normally expect and want from Katherine Reay. Reading the synopsis, I still determined that I wanted to and was interested in reading London House. First and foremost this is a story about the love between two sisters, twin sisters, and the bond that they share, but how the(and before) War changed their relationship, and how it would continue to reverberate years later right into Caroline’s life even though she was unaware of it. She begins to understand (or at least conceptualize) her relationships with her family, and the loss of her own sister at a young age that has plagued her most of her life. She is able to experience healing and closure through reading the letters of her grandmother and her great-aunt. She is able to speak to her parents about the past and to know the freedom to move towards the unknown. My gratitude to Harper Muse and NetGalley. All opinions expressed are mine.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Heather Wood

    Suspenseful and I assume well-researched (I don't know enough to know, but there were a lot of details), The London House is a story of how lies and broken relationships can cause generations of pain, and how one woman searches for answers to break the cycle. Much of the story is told through the diaries and letters of previous generations (where the story starts), written in way too much detail to be realistic. Through her search, Caroline comes to learn the truth that is the solution to all th Suspenseful and I assume well-researched (I don't know enough to know, but there were a lot of details), The London House is a story of how lies and broken relationships can cause generations of pain, and how one woman searches for answers to break the cycle. Much of the story is told through the diaries and letters of previous generations (where the story starts), written in way too much detail to be realistic. Through her search, Caroline comes to learn the truth that is the solution to all their problems: "I have come to realize that my “right” is subjective and must be in line with something higher, absolute, and fully formed." In fact, the generations of pain were caused simply because "No one got out of their own way to see what was rather than what they perceived it to be.” I like this message because I believe in absolute truth and I do think when we take our subjective perceptions of truth as absolute, then yes, we can cause ripple effects that damage our family for centuries. However, I didn't really enjoy this book. For one thing, the message and closure stopped too short for me, with zero mentions of faith or God, and therefore was significantly more shallow than it should have been. Simply put, this family needed God. They talked repeatedly of being in darkness and feeling lost. The only real anecdote for this in life is Jesus, and I'm not sorry for saying so. Yet when the main character reached the end of her character arc, it was only because she now had "something new." What? Secondly, the amount of pain everyone was in for most of the book just made them not likeable. They weren't on the level of villains, not evil- but they weren't fun to be around. Thankfully they all had a happy ending and expressed love for each other at the end, but I wasn't really rooting for anyone. For most of the book they were continuing the cycles of dishonesty and avoidance that caused the original problems. I didn't completely believe that one great-aunt's alleged defection during WWII would affect Caroline's father to the degree it did. He never even met her. Maybe I'm just lucky but of all the families I know personally, I don't see this kind of lack of love in normal life. The original characters - the great-aunt and her twin sister, the grandmother - were described as "funny, touching, kind, jealous, and in love" yet as the reader, I only saw them as arrogant, selfish, and dishonest. My opinion of the great-aunt did change slightly at the end, but she really wasn't written as the delightful character she was supposed to be. The book kept telling us they were close, but over and over again, they allowed divisions into their relationship. All the characters were an odd combination of extremely self-aware and clueless (probably like a lot of humans). Also the twins were supposed to be super close and the grandmother was supposed to be in the great-aunt's corner, even if she didn't understand everything, the great aunt asked her over and over to believe her and stick up for her "if anything happened" but when everything went south, the grandmother apparently believed the worst along with everyone else. Which was because the great aunt had a letter sent (a lie) to the family telling them that she HAD done the very worst. Just- why?! Generations! Of pain! As a result. And none of it had to be that way. Lastly, the book was written in order of the granddaughter conducting research so the grandmother/great aunt story is not told in chronological order, which was just plain confusing to follow. I read this book quickly to get it over with because it was stressful and I didn't enjoy it. I'm sorry, but that's the truth. I received a copy from the publisher and netgalley in exchange for an honest review, and I hoped to like this book more than I did. My apologies, but all opinions are my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bonnie DeMoss

    This is a compelling dual timeline novel set in World War II and the present day. When Caroline’s old college friend Mat shows up at her door, he is not there to exchange pleasantries, but to reveal family secrets. Caroline is so shocked by these revelations that she flies to her grandmother’s house in London, determined to find the truth. What she finds are much more than family secrets. She uncovers a rich, life-changing history and a written portrait, drawn in letters and diary entries, of a This is a compelling dual timeline novel set in World War II and the present day. When Caroline’s old college friend Mat shows up at her door, he is not there to exchange pleasantries, but to reveal family secrets. Caroline is so shocked by these revelations that she flies to her grandmother’s house in London, determined to find the truth. What she finds are much more than family secrets. She uncovers a rich, life-changing history and a written portrait, drawn in letters and diary entries, of a little-known relative. The character development and world-building really drew me in, and the story kept me riveted throughout. The WWII historical research is very well done. This intriguing novel of secrets, lies, war, and spies will keep you captivated and turning the page. Fans of historical fiction, World War II Novels, and family history will enjoy this fascinating tale. I received a free copy of this book from Harpermuse Books via Austenprose PR. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Twin Sisters, WWII, letters left in the attic of their London House, and letters that Caroline needed to find to see if a secret about her aunt held for many years was true. Caroline, who was named after her Aunt Caroline, was shocked one day when her friend Mat she knew from college told her that her Aunt Caroline had been a Nazi collaborator and had a German lover. He had found a letter that convinced him it was true. Caroline couldn’t believe that about her aunt…no one had ever said anything a Twin Sisters, WWII, letters left in the attic of their London House, and letters that Caroline needed to find to see if a secret about her aunt held for many years was true. Caroline, who was named after her Aunt Caroline, was shocked one day when her friend Mat she knew from college told her that her Aunt Caroline had been a Nazi collaborator and had a German lover. He had found a letter that convinced him it was true. Caroline couldn’t believe that about her aunt…no one had ever said anything about that fact. She was told her aunt had died of Polio when she was 8. Caroline had to find out so she made the trip back to London and thankfully her mother had the letters, but she found other information that she needed Mat to see before he wrote his article. Could she convince him to come to London and read the letters? Will they find out this was true or will they find out something else? Will it be worse news or better news? THE LONDON HOUSE is very well written and the story line is excellent, but the book seemed a bit too long and my interest waned, I wasn't anxious to get back to reading, and I was lost at times. This was my first book by this author so perhaps I wasn't used to her writing style. Those readers who enjoy historical fiction, finding diaries and letters from the past, gorgeous mansions, a gorgeous book cover, uncovering secrets, and a bit of romance will enjoy this book. 4/5 This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    Endorsement: The London House is a thrilling excavation of long held family secrets that proves sometimes the darkest corners of our past are balanced with slivers of light. An expertly researched and marvellously paced treatise on the many variants of courage and loyalty, Reay seamlessly weaves present and precarious past as one young woman finds strength where others found betrayal. This is a brand new side of fan favourite Reay: wonderfully balancing her hallmarks of smart heroines and inimita Endorsement: The London House is a thrilling excavation of long held family secrets that proves sometimes the darkest corners of our past are balanced with slivers of light. An expertly researched and marvellously paced treatise on the many variants of courage and loyalty, Reay seamlessly weaves present and precarious past as one young woman finds strength where others found betrayal. This is a brand new side of fan favourite Reay: wonderfully balancing her hallmarks of smart heroines and inimitable voices but blended with an urgent jolt of suspense. Arresting historical fiction destined to thrill fans of Erica Roebuck and Pam Jenoff. Rachel McMillan author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code

  10. 5 out of 5

    Morgan (not accepting new friends request at the m

    This is a ‘search for truth’ story going back to WWII. Present day Caroline Payne is blindsided when an ex-boyfriend from college approaches her for comment on an article he is writing about her great aunt, Caroline, claiming that he has evidence that she was a Nazi. Caroline was named in honour of her great aunt who, according to family lore, died of polio when she was young therefore what she is being told now is obviously rubbish. When Caroline asks her father about it he reminds her (she seems This is a ‘search for truth’ story going back to WWII. Present day Caroline Payne is blindsided when an ex-boyfriend from college approaches her for comment on an article he is writing about her great aunt, Caroline, claiming that he has evidence that she was a Nazi. Caroline was named in honour of her great aunt who, according to family lore, died of polio when she was young therefore what she is being told now is obviously rubbish. When Caroline asks her father about it he reminds her (she seems to have forgotten) that that very sordid story came to light in his mother’s house in London (London House) when Caroline was 8-years old. *Frankly something as momentous as this is not likely to be forgotten even by an 8-year old.* Caroline decides it’s time to seek the truth – something no one in the family has bothered to do in all the years since WWII - thus requiring Caroline to go to London to pore over letters and diaries long forgotten in the attic of London House. London House is where her grandmother, Margaret, Caroline’s twin, lived until her death. Feeling overwhelmed and hoping to prove his story wrong she contacts the ex-boyfriend and asks him to join her in London so they can both search for the truth. It’s pretty clear to the reader just how this is going to turn out but the author has made it imperative to read to the end to find the details. Having done so the details are scant at best. Unfortunately there are two distinct story lines here – the twins Caroline (Caro) & Margaret (Margo) is one and present day Caroline / her parents and Mat, the ex-boyfriend from college is another. Present day Caroline’s back story I could have done without and her father was just annoying. The twins Caroline (Caro) & Margaret (Margo) would have been a terrific story on their own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    A beautiful and powerful story of secrets, lies, and unlocking the pain of the past. Brilliantly told split time novel, the past told through letters and diary entries. Cannot highly recommend this book enough.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    This time period has always fascinated me. It was such an emotional, hard, horrific, heartbreaking time in our history that truly never should be forgotten. I love all the stories of overcoming our pasts, moving on, forgiving, and most of all truly living and learning to love again. This story is one that captured my attention from the very beginning and was hard to put down. Truly a story that those who love this time period as much as I do needs to pick up and read and even those that don't, ne This time period has always fascinated me. It was such an emotional, hard, horrific, heartbreaking time in our history that truly never should be forgotten. I love all the stories of overcoming our pasts, moving on, forgiving, and most of all truly living and learning to love again. This story is one that captured my attention from the very beginning and was hard to put down. Truly a story that those who love this time period as much as I do needs to pick up and read and even those that don't, need to pick up and read because this is truly a wonderful story about bravery, being strong and doing what it right regardless of the consequences. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carrie Schmidt (Reading is My SuperPower)

    The London House by Katherine Reay exceeded all my expectations, and I already had high ones set going in to it. I started out thinking the story would go one way, but I was quickly caught up in the current of words that took me places I had not foreseen. It is a story of brokenness, yes, but it’s also a greater story of love, courage, and hope. And though I have not personally lived a similar life to either Caroline, I found myself in their stories, and I was deeply moved. “Those were hallmarks The London House by Katherine Reay exceeded all my expectations, and I already had high ones set going in to it. I started out thinking the story would go one way, but I was quickly caught up in the current of words that took me places I had not foreseen. It is a story of brokenness, yes, but it’s also a greater story of love, courage, and hope. And though I have not personally lived a similar life to either Caroline, I found myself in their stories, and I was deeply moved. “Those were hallmarks of our childhood. Sisters bound by love, promises, our own language, and what I thought was our own unique sense of fairness. Yet, that’s just it. It wasn’t just ours. And if not only ours – we are part of a larger story. And that’s what presses upon me tonight, Margo – my part in this larger story.” Reay has beautifully created a handful of flawed and relatable characters in one family, broken for generations, where healing hangs in the balance of finally telling the truth. Of finally learning the truth. Of tracing the fatal tear in the family’s fabric to its source and moving from there toward the freedom that comes from authenticity. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” and Caroline Payne desperately wants her family free from the damage perpetuated down the line by her great-aunt Caroline Waite’s untold story. In these pages, through Margo & Caro’s letters and diary entries from the days leading up to and during World War II, we see a world on the brink of chaos, a family divided by politics and choices, and a love greater than we first assume – no greater love, in fact. In Caroline Payne’s present day world, we find a world and a family in much the same condition. “We are in such an odd, terrifying place right now and I doubt life will ever return to the cadence we once knew – the safety and comfort I confess that I believed would last forever.” I loved both Carolines in this story – the WW2 era twin and her modern day great-niece. Watching their very different lives intersect and run slightly parallel held me captivated, frantically turning the pages, forcing myself to slow down and absorb all the masterful nuances to be discovered. The genealogical mystery-solving that present day Caroline and Mat embark on, and of course their swoony romance and sizzling kisses, would have been enough to delight me. But the author took me even further, seamlessly weaving several distinct elements – family dynamics, romance, buried secrets, intrigue, truth, and history – together with pitch perfect narrative into an achingly beautiful tapestry. “The truths are fixed, immutable, and eternal. We are the ones who will come and go, not truth. Isn’t that reassuring? I find such comfort, as the world falls apart, that some things will last…” Bottom Line: Impeccably written & laced with hope, The London House by Katherine Reay combines several of my favorite elements to keep me fully engrossed from beginning to end! Generational brokenness against the backdrop of genealogical mystery is seamlessly told from past to present (through the lovely use of epistolary style) and brings with it intriguing layers and possibilities. This isn’t a book to rush through – though you may be tempted to do just that because it’s so compelling. Rather, it is a story to be savored, each word perfection and each character relatable. Perfect for fans of Hazel Gaynor & Pam Jenoff! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book) first reviewed at Reading Is My SuperPower

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christine Indorf

    If you know me you know I am a huge Katherine Reay fan, so don't ask me why I didn't get to this sooner, but today was the day. The story of twins women and One is accused of being a Nazi in WWll. The family doesn't want to deal with this and it even broke the family up, but when a article for a paper is being written about it the Granddaughter tries to find out the truth through old letters from the twins. As she reads she finds out something completely different and now with the help of her fr If you know me you know I am a huge Katherine Reay fan, so don't ask me why I didn't get to this sooner, but today was the day. The story of twins women and One is accused of being a Nazi in WWll. The family doesn't want to deal with this and it even broke the family up, but when a article for a paper is being written about it the Granddaughter tries to find out the truth through old letters from the twins. As she reads she finds out something completely different and now with the help of her friend who want to write this article they dive in to finally find the truth. This book will have you going back to WWll and to find out what you would do for your country even sacrificing your life for it. I did really enjoy this book. I think it took me longer to read this book because I am not a huge historical fiction fan. But once I dived in I knew that I was reading Katherine Reay and her poetic way she does writes. No it wasn't my favorite of hers but still was an excellent read and if you like historical fiction I know you will love this book. I had a fun day with Katherine Reay and can't wait to see what she will write next!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kav

    Another compelling novel from Katherine Reay chock full of emotional angst and desperate hope. And it's part epistolary since the historical story is told mostly through letters and diary entries. So, yes, that means this is a dual timeline novel as well -- eeeppppp! I think what struck me the most about this novel is the way it shows the detrimental fallout that comes from not facing and dealing with our personal truths. Caroline's family is shattered -- she's the third generation of brokenness Another compelling novel from Katherine Reay chock full of emotional angst and desperate hope. And it's part epistolary since the historical story is told mostly through letters and diary entries. So, yes, that means this is a dual timeline novel as well -- eeeppppp! I think what struck me the most about this novel is the way it shows the detrimental fallout that comes from not facing and dealing with our personal truths. Caroline's family is shattered -- she's the third generation of brokenness and doesn't understand why. Her relationship with her father has always been fraught and she's practically estranged from her mother. That's made her guarded, pushing people away before they can reject her (or so she thinks.) Her character growth is phenomenal and took me on an emotional roller coaster ride that kept my tummy tied up in knots. Mat is a college friend who could have been more if Caroline hadn't pushed him away. His sudden appearance in her life is shocking enough, but the claims he makes about her great-aunt being a Nazi sympathizer shatters the last remnants of her fractured family. Talk about an angsty romantic arc! Love the multi-layered genealogical mystery and the way researching her family's past helps restore their present issues...and frees Caroline to believe in herself and trust in a hope-filled future. I listened to the audible edition of The London House. Madeleine Maby's narration style was a perfect match for Katherine Reay's exquisite storytelling. This is another book where my 'reading' enjoyment was enhanced by listening to the audio edition. Please note: While not a Christian Fiction selection, this is a clean read with inspiring themes centred around family, forgiveness, courage and trust.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Chautona Havig

    When I saw that Katherine Reay had a new book, I suspected I'd like it. When I read the synopsis, I knew it. But oh, how I underestimated the brilliance that is The London House. This is one of the most layered stories I've read in a long time. One bit by another, it peels back until you know you know what you don't know you can prove... and then you have no idea if you know anything again. Beautifully written, the story is more epistolary than straight narrative, and seeing the clues come out, o When I saw that Katherine Reay had a new book, I suspected I'd like it. When I read the synopsis, I knew it. But oh, how I underestimated the brilliance that is The London House. This is one of the most layered stories I've read in a long time. One bit by another, it peels back until you know you know what you don't know you can prove... and then you have no idea if you know anything again. Beautifully written, the story is more epistolary than straight narrative, and seeing the clues come out, one after the other, gives the reader every chance to say, "Aha!" (and I did several times!). Seeing why characters did and said what they did, understanding internal motivations piece by piece, watching the way self-defense mechanisms turned into weapons against loved ones... it all came together so horribly perfectly. And this book proves something I say all the time. People like to say that "in real life, they'd just talk about things and none of this would have happened." But no. This book shows in heart-breaking clarity just how little we do talk about the things that really matter. This shows why we should and why we don't both. In the end, you walk away richer and torn to pieces all at the same time. If this is Katherine Reay's only WWII fictional novel, I think I'll cry.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    The London House is a truly compelling story. The mystery of it pulled me in, and the way the story is woven for Caroline and Mat as they try to solve it was completely intriguing to me. The book is really good but there's a lot of heartbreaking tragedy to the mystery so be aware. This is a superb read but it's definitely not a "light read" by any means. Still worth the read though if you can handle the sadness. The London House is a truly compelling story. The mystery of it pulled me in, and the way the story is woven for Caroline and Mat as they try to solve it was completely intriguing to me. The book is really good but there's a lot of heartbreaking tragedy to the mystery so be aware. This is a superb read but it's definitely not a "light read" by any means. Still worth the read though if you can handle the sadness.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    Captivating, immersive, and mysterious! The London House is an uplifting, pensive tale that sweeps you away to England and Paris during WWII, as well as present-day London, and into the lives of the Payne family as they delve into all the strained relationships and enduring secrets, loss, tears, wounds, misery, grief, and anger that has surrounded them for generations. The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are complex, scarred, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled w Captivating, immersive, and mysterious! The London House is an uplifting, pensive tale that sweeps you away to England and Paris during WWII, as well as present-day London, and into the lives of the Payne family as they delve into all the strained relationships and enduring secrets, loss, tears, wounds, misery, grief, and anger that has surrounded them for generations. The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are complex, scarred, and authentic. And the plot is a sweeping saga filled with familial drama, introspection, love, loss, life, family, friendship, mystique, heartbreak, romance, secrets, hope, passion, sisterhood, as well as a little insight into some of the iconic fashion produced by the house of Schiaparelli over the years. Overall, The London House is an informative, romantic, alluring tale by Reay that does an exceptional job of highlighting the incredible impact war had on the personal lives of those it touched both at home and away and the significant contribution women played during those dark and tumultuous times. Thank you to BookSparks for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    Caroline Payne is at work when her old college friend, Mat Hammond, calls her and reveals that he knows a scandalous secret within her family tree that has been buried--and he is warning her that it is going to come to light through an article he wrote for the Atlantic. Caroline wants to protect her family from scandal and she also wants to find out the truth so she sets out to do just that. As her adventure begins, Caroline decides to go to London for a few days to visit her mom, who is living i Caroline Payne is at work when her old college friend, Mat Hammond, calls her and reveals that he knows a scandalous secret within her family tree that has been buried--and he is warning her that it is going to come to light through an article he wrote for the Atlantic. Caroline wants to protect her family from scandal and she also wants to find out the truth so she sets out to do just that. As her adventure begins, Caroline decides to go to London for a few days to visit her mom, who is living in the ancestral home of her father, and look at old letters in the attic to see if she can find out the real story about her aunt, whom she is named after, and her grandmother, Margaret, who were twin sisters. This is just the beginning of a healing journey for Caroline's family in The London House by Katherine Reay. I really enjoyed The London House. The characters had flaws, but they were so realistic and relatable that I truly liked them all. I felt for them all. I actually could relate to some of the family dysfunction as I have seen some similar things in my own family. The history through the shared letters and diary entries was quite interesting to me. I enjoyed reading along to see how Caroline and Mat solved the mysteries that they found within the letters. I thought the whole plot was rich and layered. I also enjoyed seeing the relationships within the book unfold as people opened their hearts and minds to the new possibilities in front of them. I am not sure my review can do this beautiful writing and story justice. I also couldn't read this book fast. I read it in bits and slowly absorbed all that the characters were learning and how they were growing both in their own selves and in relation to each other. I highly recommend The London House. This would be a great book for a book club discussion and there are discussion questions in the back. I received a copy of this book from the author and the publisher. All opinions within this review are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    The London House by Katherine Reay is an incredible story of how lies can affect generation after generation. In this fascinating time-slip novel, the past is mostly told through letters and journal entries which will capture your heart. The present has a perfect mix of heartache, romance, regret, and hope. Caroline Payne is named after her great-aunt Caro, who she's told died in childhood from polio. When Caroline's college friend, Mat Hammond calls her out of the blue one day, she discovers ev The London House by Katherine Reay is an incredible story of how lies can affect generation after generation. In this fascinating time-slip novel, the past is mostly told through letters and journal entries which will capture your heart. The present has a perfect mix of heartache, romance, regret, and hope. Caroline Payne is named after her great-aunt Caro, who she's told died in childhood from polio. When Caroline's college friend, Mat Hammond calls her out of the blue one day, she discovers everything she thought she knew about her family's history may be false. Mat is writing a story about how we can pick up after tragedy and move on, but Caroline wants to know the truth about her great-aunt and Caro's twin sister Margo, Caroline's grandmother. I found this story to be absolutely enrapturing! I couldn't get through it fast enough to see what the truth of the Payne family history was. I highly recommend this one!! I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Nursebookie

    TITLE: THE LONDON HOUSE AUTHOR: Katherine Reay PUB DATE: Available NOW! 11.2.2021 I loved Katherine Reay’s books, having read Of Literature and Lattes, as well as, The Printed Letter Bookshop last year, I knew I had to read this book. So when I saw that Reay has a new book out, and in the historical fiction genre, I was even more excited to read The London House. Emotional Engrossing Epistolary The London House will delight readers who enjoy a split time historical fiction read about a family secret TITLE: THE LONDON HOUSE AUTHOR: Katherine Reay PUB DATE: Available NOW! 11.2.2021 I loved Katherine Reay’s books, having read Of Literature and Lattes, as well as, The Printed Letter Bookshop last year, I knew I had to read this book. So when I saw that Reay has a new book out, and in the historical fiction genre, I was even more excited to read The London House. Emotional Engrossing Epistolary The London House will delight readers who enjoy a split time historical fiction read about a family secret unearthed during WWII that involves a shocking revelation. Desperate to find the truth, Carolyn goes to their family home in London with friend Mat, to try to piece together information from letters and diary entries. This was a story of family, love, brave women, political drama, and the amazing fashion of the time. The richly detailed and well researched writing immersed me into this amazing read! I really enjoyed this one!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sydney Long

    When Caroline Payne is approached by a former classmate about an article he is writing…she’s stunned to learn it features her great aunt. What he has to say about her aunt goes against everything she has been told about her aunt. She has lived most of her life believing that the aunt she was named after died from polio as a child. That couldn’t be farther from the truth and Caroline sets out on a quest to find out who her aunt really was, what happened to her and why did it have such an effect o When Caroline Payne is approached by a former classmate about an article he is writing…she’s stunned to learn it features her great aunt. What he has to say about her aunt goes against everything she has been told about her aunt. She has lived most of her life believing that the aunt she was named after died from polio as a child. That couldn’t be farther from the truth and Caroline sets out on a quest to find out who her aunt really was, what happened to her and why did it have such an effect on her family and how they chose to live their lives. As she pours through stacks of letters and diaries, she realizes how similar things are between her and her aunt and what seems like secrets and lies are actually crumbs of a trail that leads to the truth. I loved this book! It’s a great family mystery that turns into a self discovery of sorts for Caroline. She learns how the past has played such a complex role in how she lives, loves and believes. As this was an unedited, advanced copy of the books…it doesn’t have authors notes, so I don’t know if it’s based on real people or not but that’s totally okay. It was a great generational story none the less! I highly recommend it! Thanks so much to NetGalley, Harper Muse and Katherine Reay for the chance to read this early! It was a great weekend read!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Willis

    Caroline has lived her life in the shadow of tragic events. Events spanning 3 generations. That life needs to change and does the day a college friend calls her wanting a comment on a story about her great aunt, a traitor during the war. What follows is a suspense filled research trip to Great Britain and France. Wil it bring peace to her family or be the final blow?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emily Baer

    Katherine Reay deviates from her usual fare in this split-time novel complete with family secrets, themes of forgiveness and a taste of how the past impacts us today. However, the redemptive arc and gospel message that typically accompanies Christian fiction and the works of Christian authors was lacking here. If you are looking for a more secular, historical novel, this one is good. The author showcases her skill at character building and writing, but I was disappointed that the inspirational e Katherine Reay deviates from her usual fare in this split-time novel complete with family secrets, themes of forgiveness and a taste of how the past impacts us today. However, the redemptive arc and gospel message that typically accompanies Christian fiction and the works of Christian authors was lacking here. If you are looking for a more secular, historical novel, this one is good. The author showcases her skill at character building and writing, but I was disappointed that the inspirational element I have come to expect from these novels was not found.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa’s Bookshelf

    Katherine Reay is one of my favorite authors. After reading her first book Dear Mr. Knightley, I was a fan. This is a bit of a departure from her previous books and really shows her writing bone fides with regard to historical fiction. This story has something for everyone including romance, compelling family dynamics, heart wrenching drama, suspense, mystery, WWII history, spies, gourmet food, and high fashion. The main theme centers around how lies and misinformation from the past affect the p Katherine Reay is one of my favorite authors. After reading her first book Dear Mr. Knightley, I was a fan. This is a bit of a departure from her previous books and really shows her writing bone fides with regard to historical fiction. This story has something for everyone including romance, compelling family dynamics, heart wrenching drama, suspense, mystery, WWII history, spies, gourmet food, and high fashion. The main theme centers around how lies and misinformation from the past affect the present. Caroline always believed she was named after her great aunt Caroline (Caro) who died of polio at age seven. When Mat, an old college friend, shows up at her work with a fantastical story he wants to publish about her family, her world quickly begins to crumble. Apparently, her great aunt didn’t die as a child and is accused of being a traitor and defecting to Nazi Germany during WWII. Vowing to redeem her family and discover the truth, Caroline begs Mat to hold off on the article while she travels to her family’s ancestral home in England, “the London House,” to search out what really happened. Juxtaposed with this is Caroline’s own past. There’s clearly a history with Mat and one gets the sense that they were once close but something happened. This history is teased out throughout the book. The other issue affecting Caroline is the tragic death of her sister as a child which completely changed her and her family. Searching for the truth about Caro not only solves the mystery of the past, but provides Caroline with the power and courage to change her future. It’s a powerfully emotional story of family, redemption, sacrifice, and hope. I would consider this a dual time period novel, but the past is uniquely told mainly through letters, diaries, and documents from government archives. It takes the reader to several fashionable locations,: Boston, London, and Paris and cleverly mixes the historical with the fictional. I loved learning a little bit about Schiaparelli’s avant-garde couture fashion house of the 1930’s-40’s in Paris, including the famous “Lobster dress.” The story takes awhile to get into because of the need to build a strong foundation and introduce all the characters, but once Caroline begins reading her grandmother’s and Caro’s letters and diaries the story really picks up and doesn’t let you go. It’s a touching story that brought me to tears. The last third of the book I was completely engrossed and the suspense was intense.. Highly recommend this book! It’s definitely unforgettable. (There is an implied love scene, but no details are given.) Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an e-arc and to the author for a paperback copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not required to provide a positive review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Emily Flynn

    I was drawn in and taken away with Caroline and Mat as they explored the mystery in her family tree. An aunt that she had thought dead as a child had a much bigger role in life than Caroline had anticipated. This story was a fresh way to see the events that happened in WWII. I love stories like this that humanize and bring the events of the war to life through another's eyes. TO see sacrifices and choices that affected many come to life on the page gives me new appreciation for "The Greatest Gen I was drawn in and taken away with Caroline and Mat as they explored the mystery in her family tree. An aunt that she had thought dead as a child had a much bigger role in life than Caroline had anticipated. This story was a fresh way to see the events that happened in WWII. I love stories like this that humanize and bring the events of the war to life through another's eyes. TO see sacrifices and choices that affected many come to life on the page gives me new appreciation for "The Greatest Generation". Caroline was able to explore and learn about her grandparents and the events that shaped even her parents. She approached this journey with tenacity and some trepidation at not knowing what she would find at the end. In doing so, she discovered much about herself, which is the connecting piece that makes it all matter. I was thrilled with this story and the intensity of the mystery. I felt transported back in time to an era where there was much going on that was intense and misleading. This book made me ponder what would I have done. What sacrifices would I have made? Would I have participated in fighting the enemy or would I have been the enemy? The mystery carried through to the end and I appreciated the additional information provided by the prologue and epilogue. I look forward to adding this book to my collection. I was given a complimentary advanced copy by the publisher. This is my honest review. All thoughts are my own.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Courtney Clark

    The London House is an amazing story of truth and healing! I find Katherine Reay’s stories impress me more with every new one. This novel reads in a voice uniquely hers, with an accessible contemporary setting and a near split-time feel because of the historical letters and diaries throughout (meaning it has an epistolary element like her beloved debut, Dear Mr. Knightley!). Reay’s love of literature and its application as a source of timeless wisdom is still evident, although this story is less The London House is an amazing story of truth and healing! I find Katherine Reay’s stories impress me more with every new one. This novel reads in a voice uniquely hers, with an accessible contemporary setting and a near split-time feel because of the historical letters and diaries throughout (meaning it has an epistolary element like her beloved debut, Dear Mr. Knightley!). Reay’s love of literature and its application as a source of timeless wisdom is still evident, although this story is less lit-centric than her previous titles and more focused on family legacy and influence. Caroline is a likable and complex heroine whose depth and history parallels that of her mysterious great-aunt, Caro, in many ways. Her story is one of heart-wrenching emotion, healing, and discovery as she faces old wounds — both from her past and those which have been kept secret for generations. Caroline’s journey is encouraged by the endearing hero, Mat, who is also a catalyst for her growth in many ways. He matches her in strength and vulnerability, and watching their relationship unfold is a delight. My favorite aspect of this story is how it is a study in history’s power to shape humanity’s perception of the past or current perspectives. While perception might be hazy and (honestly) incorrect, truth is an absolute and ultimately comes to light. The stories of Margo and Caro, and Caroline and Mat’s search in the present, all demonstrate how to trust in truth to have the final say, no matter how comforting or uncomfortable, is enough. Thank you to the publisher for the review copy. This is my honest review.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leslie McKee

    I've read many books by this author, and I've always enjoyed them. And the cover certainly piqued my interest. I love WWII-era and split time novels, so this hit all the right points for me. And it did not disappoint. It's a beautifully written story, and it held my attention, making this a quick read. There's a small amount of romance, but it's not overpowering. The bulk of the story is told through present-day characters and letters from the past. I enjoyed uncovering Caroline's family backgro I've read many books by this author, and I've always enjoyed them. And the cover certainly piqued my interest. I love WWII-era and split time novels, so this hit all the right points for me. And it did not disappoint. It's a beautifully written story, and it held my attention, making this a quick read. There's a small amount of romance, but it's not overpowering. The bulk of the story is told through present-day characters and letters from the past. I enjoyed uncovering Caroline's family background with her. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Betty Strohecker

    This is an intense, emotional, generational look at WWII, unlike any other book I have read on this subject. Reay gives us wonderful pictures of the inhabitants of the London House from as early as WWI through present day, emphasizing the importance of truth in relationships and the pain that follows when truth is absent. Crafting this novel was an amazing feat in itself, as the story is told through present day conversations and research notes, and journals, letters, secret memos from the past. This is an intense, emotional, generational look at WWII, unlike any other book I have read on this subject. Reay gives us wonderful pictures of the inhabitants of the London House from as early as WWI through present day, emphasizing the importance of truth in relationships and the pain that follows when truth is absent. Crafting this novel was an amazing feat in itself, as the story is told through present day conversations and research notes, and journals, letters, secret memos from the past. Reay challenges the reader to engage in deep thinking throughout. One example is her inclusion of a message from C. S. Lewis in a WWII broadcast talking about "right and wrong". Towards the end of the book, the present day character of Caroline Payne questions her own beliefs in the following thought, "If our perceptions change our reality, our minds could adapt to something new." There is so much in this well-researched story of heartbreak, courage, and loyalty. Don't mis it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Syrie James

    Expertly researched and perfectly paced, The London House is a remarkable novel about love and loss and the way history—and secrets—can impact a family and ultimately change its future. With its beautifully drawn characters, compelling present-day story, and evocative diaries and letters from the past, Katherine Reay paints a vivid picture that pulled me in with every page, desperate to know what would happen next. I loved it!

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