Cover Image: The London House

The London House

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Member Reviews

A wonderfully written historical fiction told through a dual time line.  The Waite family is fractured by years of deeply held secrets and how these secrets carry the family’s burden through generations. 
Caroline  Waite delves into her family’s history after an old college friend Mat touches base to ask for a comment on a piece he is researching and writing about her Aunt. Caroline knows nothing about  her Aunts history, only that she is named after her. Mat advises Caroline that her Aunt was a traitor and had a Nazi lover in WWII. 
The mystery, secrets, hidden truths that Caroline uncovers with the help of Mat is told through letters, diary entries and archival research. 
I really enjoy this type of story, the past defining the present and the courage and strength of the protagonist to redefine the future. 
If you like well researched, well written historical fiction you will enjoy this title.
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The London House tells the story of a family fractured by tragedy in the present day and from secrets and lies from the past. Caroline Payne (in the present day timeline) was named after her great aunt who had died at age 7 of polio in the 1920s, or at least that was the story that her father had been told. When Mat, a writer friend from Caroline's past, contacts her asking questions with the belief that Caroline Waite, the great aunt, had instead defected to Germany with a Nazi lover during WWII times, Caroline and Mat begin to investigate and they rekindle their former friendship. A dual timeline book, the truth in the past is revealed to us through diaries and letters. This is an amazing story of resilience, determination, and healing old wounds. I couldn't put it down!
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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With a family's reputation on the line, this story is set with secrets, including a close member of the family who in WWII is a traitor.  Told in the form of letters and diary entries there is much to learn and uncover.  Through the generations, there is much emotion, like an onion as you peeled back the layers there is more to uncover, causing   angst and dread.

While not my favorite form of reading, it was nonetheless a good story.  There are many adjectives I could use to describe how I felt as I kept turning pages, but like most WWII stories it held my attention.  After decades of lies, truth prevailed.

My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Carolyn Waite receives a call from a college friend, Mat Hammond, about her aunt. An aunt she has lived her whole life believing died of polio at a young age . What Mat tells her, about her aunt defecting with a Nazi during WWII starts Carolyn on a mission to clear her aunt's name and prove Mat wrong. What happens is a remarkable journey full of truth, healing, and reconciliation.

When Carolyn talks to Mat, she is convinced he is wrong. There is no way the Carolyn in his story, the person she is named after, is her aunt. There is no way she was a traitor to her country.

Carolyn talks to her father only to learn that many years ago Carolyn had found proof that her aunt hadn't died of Polio and was in fact alive much longer than even her father knew. As the truth as her family sees it comes out, Carolyn believes there has to be more to the story. She is determined to figure out what it is, even after her father demands that she stops.

Carolyn's search leads her to the London House, where her mother lives after being willed the home after her grandmother, Margaret, passed. Here she will read letters from Carolyn to her sister Margaret and also read Margaret's diaries, When the story she is reading seems to be in contradiction of what Mat thinks, Carolyn has him come to London to help her search. The journey leads them in a direction none of them could have predicted and the resulting truth is made even more powerful by the healing it initiates in Carolyn's father, who lived his whole life not understanding why his own parents acted as they did. 

Carolyn learns that the way we view things can change and as a result change our lives. Two people will look at the same situation, but based on personal experience, will view it entirely differently. Her realizations help her and her family to see that there is always time to change, always time to reframe how we view things.

I enjoyed this story. At times is was hard to keep straight all that was happening. There is a lot of hurt in these pages, a lot of misunderstandings and many lies that were told that at times makes it hard to read. As the story progresses and the truth is uncovered, the story truly becomes a powerful lesson that I think any reader will find something to relate to. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Katherine Reay, and Harper Muse for the advance copy of this story in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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As historical fiction is one of my favorite genres I am always on the lookout for a good one.  I came across The London House on Netgalley and was intrigued by the premise as I love to read about the effects one generation can have on another one.

Set in current day, the story is led by Caroline and unfolds through her search to determine who her great aunt really was, a traitor or a spy during WWII. Family lies, legacies and complicated dynamics all are brought to the surface and must be dealt with to get to the truth.

I wasn’t sure if I would like reading her great aunt’s story through letters and diary entries but as the story moved forward I grew to like it and found myself trying to  untangle what really happened. Caroline’s relationship and family drama felt a bit much at times but it did help propel the story forward. 

Overall I enjoyed The London House and appreciated the different approach to dual timelines.  Thank you Netgalley and Harper Muse for my DRC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Just when I think there is nothing left to write about in terms of WWII and the Nazi Resistance, along comes this intense, thought-provoking, gut-wrenching novel from Katherine Reay. Of course this book has the usual fare of conflicting loyalties, elicit love and the gross realities of the Nazis, but what sets this book apart is the deep dive into family dynamics before, during and after the war.. As the characters grapple with how fear, pain and guilt have fundamentally changed them and shaped their relationships,  the reader is drawn in and forced to consider these things in their own lives. That is the sign of a powerful novel. 4.5 stars!
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A fractured family, a long and secret history that is threatening to tear them apart even more, and the ever-present dressmaker in France during WWII. While that one tiny detail had me initially thinking this would be yet another WWII novel we've seen so many of, I was really pleasantly surprised at the plot and character development in this novel. 

A journalist uncovers a damning secret about a great-grandmother that threatens to splinter an already broken family. As the great-granddaughter explores this theory and uncovers diaries and letters, she learns so much more than the hushed secret her family has been hiding for generations. Her research leads her not only through the history of British involvement in the underground resistance in France, but through her own fractured relationships. 

I loved the historical details of this book and enjoyed following both the characters and the clues to find the truth.
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I really enjoyed this novel.  A young woman is contacted by a former boyfriend who is planning to write an article about her great aunt that she was told died at an young age. , The woman  that she is named after has been revealed as a Nazi collaborator.;   Through a series of letters between her grandmother and her great aunt, she pieces together the real story and also brings together her family who has been hurt by its own tragedies,  A must read, I could not put it down.
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Literary talent Katherine Reay crafts an epic multi-family tale as stunning as the cover. The journey to discover explosive family secrets winds through two continents and many decades. It's a complex tale with a family's entire reputation on the line. Complicating matters, Margo's former college friend, Mat, is the journalist who stirred the damaging information into a yet-to-be published national article.  Within this animosity, both are forced to work together and against time and outside pressure to learn the truth, no matter how painful. 

Like a blazing inferno, secrets, tragedies and scandals threaten to incinerate the entire family tree. Even neglected, over time, what once smoldered within walls roars to life and may devour the entire structure. However, if identified and addressed, valuable items may be recovered and restored. 

The complexities of internal struggles, family history and responses as well as personal view of past events are brilliantly handled by the author. This is a book well worth the time and reflection it creates.

I received a complimentary copy of the book without obligation. This review is my opinion.
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This book was hard to read in some ways--so many lies and so much sadness! But I hung in there, and it was worth it in the end!! Families can be so complicated, and Katherine does a great job of capturing the complexities, and weaving the story.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance e-copy! The opinions are entirely my own
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This is a powerful novel chronicling the effects on several generations of a family affected by their perceptions of events during World War II and after.  Broken relationships filter down despair and hopelessness from generation to generation.  Secrets are buried, grief is ignored, and everyone suffers until one of youngest generation starts asking questions.  

I had a hard time putting this book down!  It’s not easy to read, but very worthwhile and very good.  The reader comes to know the earlier generations as the younger generation reads through letters and journals.  Healing begins when various characters come to realize that they have focused on what they lost, not on what good was left, and that there are different perspectives of what happened in the past, but there is ultimate truth outside of any perceptions.

Not long ago I read The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron, and enjoyed these two very different stories of Paris and the haute couture clothing industry there during World War II – each will give you valuable perspectives on how people dealt with the war, as well as a “stay up all night” good story.

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own." 
#TheLondonHouse #NetGalley
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Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC.  Caroline, named after her great Aunt, receives a call from an old college friend.  He tells her that he is about to publish an article about this aunt and how she was a Nazi sympathizer.  She convinces him to hold off on the article for a week until she can do some investigating herself.  Good read!  #thelondonhouse #katherinereay #nov2021 #harpermuse
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This book has a lot going on!  It's well-written, interesting and enjoyable.

Caroline grew up believing she was named after a great-aunt that passed away at a young age from polio.  Until she gets a phone call from an old college friend, Mat, asking for a comment on an article he's writing about her aunt.  Then she learns all the family's scandalous secrets.  The story is told mostly from diary entries by Caroline's grandmother, Margaret and her sister Caroline.  The need to know the truth has Caroline heading back to The London House, where her estranged mother has been living after her divorce.  There is a lot of family dynamics involved as Caroline confronts her father and mother and their past.

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.
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Thank you NetGalley, Harper Muse and Katherine Leay.

This is my first book by this author, and I am excited to check out her backlist.  I enjoyed this book tremendously.  If you enjoy historical fiction with a mystery, a romance and a family generational saga             thrown in, you will love this book too.  We also have a wonderful showcasing of the strength of sisterhood, specifically twins.  It is an innovative take on the British WWII spy story with a feminist interest and that was a bonus for this reader.

The main character, Caroline, was well developed and her suffering was very real.   From age eight she dealt with trauma based on the loss of her sister, her guilt and her parent’s  unintentional neglect from then on.  Her parents are not particularly likeable at the start of the book but they grow and become less “evil” as the story reveals itself.  The characters we meet through letters, journals and primary historical documents similarly become more alive and real as we get to know them.  

The romance is a slow burn but is very satisfying.  What a gem of a guy! 

The writing is a bit slow for this reader and there seemed to be quite a bit of repetition of facts already known.  However, interesting questions and themes are explored in this book that got me thinking. What would you do if you found out there was a bad person in your ancestry? Or if a relative did something despicable in the past?  How do generations pass on and repeat trauma and what the the known and unknown effects of this pain?

Overall, this is a book that will stick with me.
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With grateful thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion. 
I absolutely  adore  this cover its  conjures up huge intruige.
I started off at a great reading pace but sadly this book was just not for me.
So it is with a heavy a heart I gave up. This us only my feelings.  Thank you.
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I really enjoyed  reading The London House and read it over the course of a day. I really enjoyed the plot line and thought the characters were well developed. I can't wait to read more from the author in the future.
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The London House by Katherine Reay is an excellent historical fiction novel that was truly unique and engaging from beginning to end.

This is a dual timeline narrative of sorts as we as readers travel along with Caroline in real time and with her as she delves into her family’s past and the mysteries, secrets, and hidden truths that surround it all originating in England during WWII. 

I was fascinated by the journey that Caroline and her friend Mat experience as she works to decipher what exactly happened between her grandmother and her great-aunt during the 1940s and how they grew apart. Was her great-aunt a traitor, giving up everything and choosing a German lover? Is there actually more then meets the eye? Caroline sifts through the correspondence, history, evidence, and her own personal thoughts, fears, hopes, and prejudices among London and Paris to find the true answers and in hopes of saving her family’s reputation, history, and her own future as well. 

This was a fascinating book that held mystery, espionage, suspense, twists, turns, love, loss, and the true definition of loyalty and family. 

It was perfect in every way. I highly recommend.

5/5 stars 

Thank you NG and Harper Muse for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. 

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.
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I wasn’t quite sure about this book when I first started it, but it pulled me right in by the time Mat entered the picture. This story is amazing and I loved reading about the families and the traits and actions that continue to have resonance in future generations.  Even though I had a hope it ended differently… I am almost glad it didn’t so everyone involved had closure to their own personal stories.  Great book!!!

Thank you to NetGalley for the free copy for my review.  All opinions are my own.
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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 on 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 really rooting for everyone. 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. 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.
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Thank you NetGalley, Harper Muse and  Author for this readers ebook copy in return for an honest review!

Caroline believes she is going to work like any other day. When she gets a call from Mat who is an old friend of hers. Caroline is caught off guard when he tells her he's discovered a secret that has been kept a secret for years. Caroline's British great aunt betrayed her family and country to when she marries a German man!
Caroline sets out to uncover the answers and to save her family name! She ends up flying back to her old house in London where she meets n up with Mat and finds an old diary and notes from from her grandmother and great-aunt. 
As Caroline discovers that the two sisters grew apart and one ends up leaving home for Paris 
Are the letters true was Caroline’s great-aunt a traitor? Or are their more secrets buried?.
A story about family, secrets and love you'll have to read this amazing story to find out! 

A moving, emotional WWII novel that was simply a pleasure to read. 
What a beautifully written story! I devoured The London House in just two sittings. 
I found this book to be so intriguing and I couldn't get enough of it it! I wanted it to continue. 
I loved the added twist here, it was done so dang well. Great job Reay!
This novel is captivating, extremely well written and heart wrenching, which I highly recommend.

Thank you NetGalley,  Harper Muse and Author for the chance to read and review this amazing book!
I'll post to my Goodreads, Bookstagram and Facebook account closer to pub date!
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