Cover Image: The London House

The London House

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Member Reviews

Oh, how I loved this book! Epistolary novels enamour me and this one was gorgeously written with lovely prose, capturing the angst and love in family relationships. Generational secrets, letters, a house, sisters and bits of romance sprinkled throughout and a stunning cover to boot, this dual timeline book is a work of art. It is set in the present time and during WWII, mostly in the UK and Paris.

Mat is eager to write a piece about a family during the war and makes an unexpected discovery which he takes to his old school friend, Caroline. She is shaken and is desperate to get to the bottom of the story in which her great aunt is involved with a Nazi which could change bits of her family history. Caroline's family has a very interesting family dynamic and together with Mat peels the Waite ancestry layers back. The author really brings this story alive with her descriptions. connections with Schiaparelli and Dali and personalities.

The pace is slow but I actually love that in a book as we get glimpses into the inner workings of characters, their choices, emotions and relationships. My favourite aspect is the narrative contained in letters but the entire reading experience was very enjoyable.

My sincere thank you to Harper Muse and NetGalley for the privilege of reading this wonderful book! Katherine Reay is a fabulous author, such a happy discovery!

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Epistolary novels are my jam! I love being transported back in time through the words and stories between friends or loved ones. The letter part of this story was just what it needed to be. Unfortunately, the rest of the story fell flat. It could very well just be me, but the jumping back and forth with facts and hidden hints kinda left me confused. This one was a miss for me.

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When confronted by an old college friend, Mat, Caroline is left in shock and disbelief. Mat reveals that he has discovered her aunt,whom Caroline is named after, did not die from childhood polio as she was led to believe, but lived to grow up and was a traitor and spy during WWII.
Not believing Mat's version of events and seeking the truth in hope it will help repair the fractured relationships in her family now, Caroline heads to the old family home, London House. Here she finds letters and journals her aunt's wrote during the war and she hopes to discover what really happened, Why the story of her aunt dying in childhood instead of the truth?
It seems that no one in the past sought the truth, accepting easily what they were told, they allowed their beliefs to stand in the way of the truth, never truly seeing what was actually in front of them, seeing only their perception of how things were.
Joined by Mat, together they dig through years of journals, letters and national archives to reveal a history that may help heal the pain of today and help mend the broken relationships of Caroline's family.
I really enjoyed this book, it has a fresh, new atmosphere about it that I really liked. I found it very well researched, the author set time and place beautifully. As for the characters, they are well rounded, I feel as if I got to know them on a personal level, especially the twin aunts, Margo and Caro. We saw a close relationship between the two when they were young, Margo being the outgoing, playful, sometimes rebellious twin, and Caro the more staid, stay at home twin. But something happened when Margo fell ill and almost died, after that things were never the same between them. But what happened that made it so easy for one sister to accept so readily that her twin, her other self was a traitor?
This is a book about sisterhood, the love, loyalty and connection that only sisters can share. It is also about honesty, lies, and hiding the truth, of what happens when things are concealed and the truth is hidden away leaving us to contrive our own version of events instead of the truths. And it is about how hiding these truths can affect those generations in the future.
The plot moves quickly, carrying you along for the ride. I was waiting on the edge of my seat, anxious to find the truth with Caroline, praying she would discover something that would prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that everyone was wrong and Caro was a hero not a traitor.
I recommend this book highly, it holds the interest from the beginning, the only detractor I noticed is that some may find it a little confusing at times because when the letters and journals are being read it isn't always in chronological order. This may put some readers off, but I say don't sweat it, it is worth the time to read.
Thank you to the publishers at Harper Muse and to Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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A wonderful novel! The London House was a story that took me a while to read, thanks to life getting in the way. But I believe it's a testament to the wonderful storytelling and characters that I was able to seamlessly fall back into the story and the characters each and every time I picked up this book, and would read until my eyes couldn't stay open any longer (I tried reallyyyy hard for that extra page each night). I really enjoyed the epistolary aspect of this book, something I haven't read in a book in a while. It was an enjoyable way for the story (and its secrets) to unfold! Definitely add this one to your TBR lists. Note: I came across a few formatting issues where the text would pick up on a different page on my ereader, so if you also come across that, be assured the publisher knows and it'll be addressed for the final printing <3

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For me, reading this book was like building a campfire in the drizzle - slow going at first with more smoke than heat, then a steady, little flame which suddenly worked into a comfortable blaze. By the end, I basked in the warmth and light of this family's healing! How could I have doubted that any story from Katherine Reay would do less? I have to admit, I didn't naturally like every character in this story, and their lives of privilege and wealth were very different than mine. But they sure demanded my attention! The change in the twins' roles when Margo caught scarlet fever was both captivating and frustrating. So alike that they fall in love with the same man, but they call him by different names. Their lives take very different paths during WWII, with neither sister understanding the other, or wanting to risk an honest confrontation. Modern-day Catherine follows in her great-aunt Caro's rebellious footsteps as she overturns years of quiet obedience and risks her father's ire to return to the London House . Will she ultimately deserve his praise and acceptance, or blow the family's fragile reputation to bits? I LOVE the use of letters and diaries in this time-slip novel - it makes both generations' stories come alive. And the epilogue is riveting, right to the very last line! I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish this distinctive WWII tale and guarantee you'll want to do the same. I received an early digital copy of this book via Netgalley and the publisher, and I thank them for the privilege.

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A scandal covered up during WWII has broken apart a family through three generations. An unrelated genealogy search has brought to light the erasure of Caroline Waite from the family history. Her great niece and namesake, Caroline, wants to discover the truth for her own peace of mind and to heal her own family rifts. Through letters and diary entries we gradually discover Caro, her twin sister Margo, and the man they both loved. The story is hopeful and heartbreaking as truth and perception are reconciled.

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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.

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Exciting book with as it seems a lot of history. I’m not sure but it sounds likely. I liked the story and the details within each chapter.

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While I liked the two timelines and that part of the story was told through letters, I didn’t quite get the family dynamics and why what happened in the past impacted Caroline’s dad so much.

Also the title was somewhat misleading to me since I thought it would have a bit more significance than just being the town house.

Nevertheless I enjoyed the book.

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First, thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.
Okay: I will admit it. I was skeptical about this book for about the first 15%. I felt jarred by the layers of things that Caroline Payne, our main character and narrator, was clearly missing. There was a lot of introspection, anger and emotions and part of me wanted to shake her sometimes and go, "JUST SAY SOMETHING TO SOMEONE ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS". But I realized as the story continued, that she couldn't, because of years of pain and hurt and betrayal. And then...something clicked in the story and I found myself making time to snag another few pages. Sneak a chapter in, here and there. And then I stayed up too late last night because I had to finish it. I had to know what happened. I was so emotionally invested in these characters, in Mat, in Caro, in the Waite sisters, in her family. This was as layered, as researched, as intricately woven a historical fiction novel as I've ever read. There were veins of Kate Quinn, of Kate Morton, of Susanna Kersley sprinkled throughout this sumptuous novel. The story, the history and the impacts of those Waite sisters and their families and WWII reverberate through time. This novel, much to my surprise and delight, will end up in my top 5 reads for the year. Absolutely.

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I loved this fascinating WWII era story. The characters are rich and complex, unfolding generations of a family deeply broken in many ways that is difficult to read yet beautiful and captivating. I read a lot of WWII novels and The London House had plenty of interesting historical information I did not know. I found the book hard to put down and found myself a little sad when it turned the last page.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read and review.

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So much going on in this great story. A classic time-hop theme with the past being written in letter and diary form.
The protagonists Caroline Payne is lead on a quest to track the history of her Great Aunt who she thought had died as a child, yet it appears this is a lie.
Clearly expertly researched by @katherinereay this is more than just another WWII story, it is a story with lots of different elements.
I thoroughly enjoyed how the story unfolded, I easily predicted the love story element.... although I wrongly predicted the end, I was a smidge disappointed because I was expecting a twist, but that didn't take away from the fact that this is a truely great novel.

Thank you so much to @harpermusebooks
And @netgalley for an ARC copy of the book

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This was an excellent historical fiction novel that was truly unique and engaging. It was perfect from beginning to end!!

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The London House has Carolyn Payne's college friend Mat coming to her with a shocking secret about her late great-aunt and namesake Carolyn. She teams up with Mat to find out if her aunt really did betray her home of England and marry a Nazi and return to Germany with him during WW 2. The story of historical Caroline is told through letters to her twin sister and her sister's diary and the reader finds that there is much more to her story than what was believed. Through her aunt's story, Carolyn Payne finds herself a new life that offers her family healing.
If you love WW 2 stories, you will enjoy this story and the format of letters and diaries.
I received a copy of The London House through NEtGalley, but all opinions are my own.

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I am a huge fan of Katherine Reay's books, so I was very excited to read her latest novel. I will admit that when the timeline started really jumping around, I was a bit confused. But once I paid close attention to the dates, the pieces all started coming together.

The dual timeline really worked in this novel. The WWII timeline had some fascinating history in it I'm not really into fashion, but it was fun to look up the dresses and people mentioned during the scenes about Schiaparelli.

I really loved the modern timeline, where Caroline learns about her heritage and why her family had grown apart. I loved the connections she made with her grandmother and great aunt Caro. I also love that as the mystery of her family unfolded, her relationship with her parents changed and grew. I had to stay up way too late to see what answers she would find and where her family would end up. I felt that the historical revelations were perfectly paced to keep me interested and keep the story moving forward!

Thanks to Harper Muse, NetGalley, and Katherine Reay for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinions! I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, WWII novels, complex family relationships, and a good mystery.

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I received an eARC from Netgalley. Thanks to them and the publisher.
This is a historical fiction that goes back and forth between present time and WWII UK/Paris. A young woman finds out her family has been lying about her great aunt and that the great aunt was thought to have been a traitor. She searches for the truth about what really happened to the great aunt and we also learn the devastating toll that perceived betrayal has had on the generations of her family.
This book is about how grief damaged the family - both in the situation with the great aunt and also after a tragedy in the main character's immediate family.
I found it a really gripping story and the WWII era was interesting as it touched on the fashion industry in Paris during the war. I enjoyed searching up some of the fashion mentioned in the book.
Overall quite a good WWII historical fiction with an engaging current day story as well.

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What would you do if someone you trusted confided in you that everything you knew about your family history was a lie?

That’s exactly what Caroline Payne is facing when her university friend Matt Hammond contacts her and claims that he’s found evidence that Caroline’s aunt was a spy and a traitor. Caroline has always thought that her aunt died from polio at 8 years old!

What follows is the revealing of a huge family coverup; it was meant to protect loved ones, but ironically had the opposite effect. Caroline discovers that her past is riddled with secrets, lies, and misunderstandings. Having just dropped out of university to care for her father, Caroline is only too aware of what happens when issues are swept under the carpet rather than being addressed. When her sister died in a tragic accident, the healing process was never completed and her family remain fractured and unable to communicate with each other. Realizing that time isn’t on her Dad’s side, Caroline makes an effort to find the truth and break the cycle of misunderstanding that has plagued her family for generations.

Compelled to uncover the truth about her namesake, Caroline heads to the old family home in London to search for answers. It’s through letters and photographs she finds in the attic that Caroline is able to piece together the past and re-write her future.

Told mainly through letters, the family history journeys through the WW2 spy network in Britain and and to the glitz of Paris couture in the 1930s. I’ll be honest, I set this book aside several times because I initially couldn’t figure out what was going on, couldn’t connect with characters, and wasn’t pulled into the plot. It was obviously well-researched, but I felt it lacked the emotional attachment I need to consider it a great read.

Publishes November 2, 2021.

I was gifted this advance copy by Katherine Reay, Harper Muse, and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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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. 3/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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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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This is a well written and researched book about secrets and assumptions.

I truly enjoyed the WWII history, rich in detail. I loved the diary entries and letters as a story telling device in this context.

Excellent job, I highly recommend it!

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