I have read and enjoyed a number of this author’s earlier novels. In my opinion, Ms. Reay’s first foray into historical fiction has been most successful. I recommend this dual time line story, even knowing that there are many such novels that take look at WWII, just as this one does.
Caroline, the Caroline of the present, is trying to be a good daughter. She has left law school so that she can be available to her father who has a serious illness. She finds satisfaction in her work for a pharmaceutical company whose products will, she feels, help others.
Caroline has a bit of a tough back story. She has a rather successful brother but lost a sister in a tragedy. This ripples into Caroline’s feelings about her family and theirs about her. Further, Caroline’s mom has been living in England and they have unresolved issues.
When Caroline hears from Mat, a college friend, she is thrown into a family mystery. Was Caroline’s aunt, also name Caroline, a traitor or not? What happened in her relationship with her identical twin (and present day Caroline’s grandmother) Margaret that led them to grow apart? Follow along as Mat and Caro learn more while in London.
The story is told through narrative but also through letters and diary entries. Readers enjoy a contemporaneous view of the events that shape Caro and Margo’s world. Early in the novel, Margo worries about the war while Caro, who is enjoying life in Paris, seems less worried by the behavior of Hitler. Margo spends time at the family country estate; after being ill she retreats and loses some of her gusto; will this change? Carol works for Elsa Schiaparelli. I enjoyed learning more about this fashion house and its unique designs, influenced in part by Dali. What will Caro do when she returns (at least temporarily) to England?
No spoilers, so readers will need to pick up the novel to find out what happened to Caro and Margo. They will see how these events played out in the lives of Caroline’s parents and in Caroline’s own world as well.
This is historical fiction done well. I recommend The London House.
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.