Cover Image: The London House

The London House

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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!

Was this review helpful?

A fascinating story of sacrifice, secrets and the effects the lives of those who go before still resonate on the lives in the present. Set mainly in London and Paris, we are taken back to the Nazi occupation of France and the pain an suffering of that time. The WWII part of this story is very interesting; the present day story of the lives affected by that time is most absorbing and interesting to observe. Time does not stand still and a life lived in 1941 has an extraordinary impact on the family from that time on.

Thank you NetGalley for my ARC of this book. My main difficulty in reading an ebook ARC, particularly an incompleted one such as this one, is that it is difficult to read because some of the pages were out of order and a little jumbled. But I still loved it and look forward to reading this same story in print once it is available.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to Harper Muse and Netgalley, I was chosen as an early reviewer!

*****Coming out November 2, 2021*****

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Caroline Payne’s life is forever changed when Mat, a college friend, shows up at her work asking her to participate in an interview about her British Great Aunt who Mat claimed disgraced her family by having a German lover and by working for the Nazis’s during WWll. Caroline was in disbelief as she was always told that her Great Aunt had died of Polio as a child. After her father refusing to discuss the matter and her brother not knowing the truth, Caroline decided in order to seek answers, she needed to go back to her grandmother’s house, where her mother lived, in London to look through the trunk of letters and journals from WWll. Caroline already had endured tragedy of a death of a sibling, strained relationships with her parents, her father’s cancer diagnosis, and disapproval from her father for dropping out of law school. This is one more thing that is sprung upon her. What will she discover? Will she be able to discover the truth and come to terms with her great Aunt’s past? How will it affect her relationship with her brother and parents? Will finding the truth help Caroline heal with all she has endured? Will she be able to contribute to Mat’s article in time for his article to publish?

The way the author wrote this story, it poses questions early on that makes the reader wanting to know more, so it’s a book that is hard to put down and keeps the reader captivated from the very first page to the very last page. I really enjoyed reading about Caroline’s journey in seeking the truth about her family’s history and how it relates to her own life experiences. Such a deeply touching book that gets to the emotional core of what people endured during WWll and what emotional effects it had with future generations. Definitely one to put on your TBR list! A great book club pick!

Was this review helpful?

This novel was clearly very well-researched and full of rich detail in one of my favorite time periods in history. 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. I found it fascinating how much of the story is told from entries in diaries and letters from prior generations. The key message of the book is to do what is right, regardless of the consequences. I would highly recommend this book to anyone.

Was this review helpful?

I was so bored throughout this book. It was lazy writing and just unbelievable. I loved the premise of the story and finished disappointed.

Was this review helpful?

I flew through The London House – even picked up my iPad in the middle of the night to read a little more. This is a great story about uncovering a family secret and solving a mystery. I really liked how the dual timeline is structured and uses letters, diaries and reports to delve into the past – my only struggle was that I felt like I wasn’t always keeping the timeline straight because the parts from the past do not come in exact order (I felt like I should make notes or use post-its – but wanted to just enjoy the story). It is obvious that Katherine Reay made tons of notes herself for this well-researched book. I appreciate the realistic detail around the places and events. This is an author that I will keep on my radar and buy whatever she writes next.

I’ve been looking forward to this fall release and happy to get an early copy to read and review (thank you Net Galley and Harper Muse. All opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

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 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.

Was this review helpful?

The London House’s cover is a beautiful masterpiece. Katherine Reay crafted together a story told through a present viewpoint and the past is told through the eyes of handwritten letters and journal entries. While the concept is really interesting, the delivering of the plot was a little harder to stay focused. I wanted to follow and see what actually was the truth behind Caroline’s great-aunt too. I think when the past story is told through the letters, it buts the readers at a distance from the actual story. It would have been nice to actually see the great-aunt Caroline in her story in an actual story format. Instead of being told second-hand what actually occurred. There were moments that I flipped through the story that I kept nodding off. I did enjoy the last ten percent of the novel where present day Caroline, Mat, her dad, and her mother were on racing against the clock to see what the actual ending the great-aunt’s life was. This was nicely handled. Reay does not how to write beautifully, and the story was a little different than anything I have ever encountered, but not one of my favorite World War II novels. There is a hint of romance near the end of the novel that really didn’t force itself on the readers or the characters. Overall The London House was told through letters, so it did not capture my attention like I hoped it would.

I received a complimentary copy of The London House by Katherine Reay from Harper Muse Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

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.

Was this review helpful?

Who does not love a handwritten letter that transports you back in time? Allowing you to discover more about the person who is writing it. Not just the information given in the letter, but their penmanship, their mood depending on how hard they press the pen to paper, the smudges left by tears dripping down the page. Oh, I just love letters! The London House is an intriguing read about one families heartache that is passed through the generations. Their history steeped in lies, tragedies, miss understanding, pain, blame, and finally clarity.

Caroline has recently dropped out of law school and moved back to Boston to be closer to her dad, who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. She is not close to either of her parents, a giant wedge was driven between them when her sister was tragically killed. Her family left in tatters and Caroline left with no one to cling to. Caroline's college friend Mat calls to see if she knows any information about her aunt, her namesake. Mat appears to have stumbled onto some information that her aunt fled France with her German lover. Caroline is in shock, her parents told her she had died young of polio. From this point on, the story is a high speed, emotional journey. Their search for answers begins in Boston and leads her and Mat to Caroline's family's home in London. Where her mother brings out a treasure trove or diaries and letters between Caroline's grandmother and her aunt. Is her Aunt Caro a traitor or is there more to her story?

I had a really hard time with the beginning of this book. It was a mass of confusion and turmoil, and I could not get a handle on it. The rest of the book is amazing. The research and know-how of this time in history is astounding. You can feel this family's pain, that just keeps going, jumping from one family member to the next. The letters that Caro writes to her sister are filled with joy, pain, and clues. Is the history that began with these two sisters, enough mend a broken family and bring them together again? Thank you to Katherine Reay, Harper Muse, and NetGalley for allowing me the chance to read this emotional charged book!

Was this review helpful?

This was absolutely stunning; Katherine Reay's best work! The intertwining plot was captivating and engaging to the very end. The characters were complex yet delightful. This is one of my new favorites and one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.

Was this review helpful?

Katherine Reay creates such layered characters, and in this book she did it across generations. I enjoyed how the story was told through characters in the present day and letters and diary entries from the past. The story would be good fodder for a book club discussion. I must admit that the book's melancholy tone wore on me, though that may have more to do with the world we're living in than the book itself!

Was this review helpful?

Could not put this one down and I couldn't read it fast enough! This story bounces between modern time and world war two era, where answers are trying to be found for the family. This story was captivating and I loved it!

Thank you Netgalley, author, and publisher for this copy in exchange for a honest review.

Was this review helpful?

caroline receives a phone call telling her , her great aunt betrayed the country during ww2. caroline flies to London to investigate, she goes to her family home and discovers letter and diaries. I enjpyed this book.

Was this review helpful?

Stunningly beautiful, this book is a must-read! The complexity of the characters would be enough to make this book amazing, but the way Reay has woven together a modern story of a family who is broken in so many ways finding healing with a heart-stopping story of espionage during WW2 along with a rather swoony romance is breathtaking! And while I'm not usually a fan of split-time stories, this one is absolutely perfect and should become the textbook for how they ought to be done.

The only thing that would have made this book better for me would have been if it had included the spiritual journeys of the characters, historical and present-day. Reay portrays their emotional and relational journeys with such clarity and nuance, but I longed for each of them to find spiritual healing as well by having a deepening relationship with God through His Son Jesus. They all longed for lasting transformation so much, and I really wanted them to find it.

Aside from the lack of spiritual journeys, the paucity of references to God at all in this book was actually odd to me, especially in the WW2 story because it seemed like He would have been talked about more based on my understanding of British culture then. There weren't even mentions of going to church or anything like that. I found it so curiously lacking that I actually did some searches and found that there really were only a couple passing references to God (4) or prayer (7), like a character saying "Thank God" upon finding out someone else was safe, but nothing in their very personal journals and letters indicating that they were thinking about spiritual things or even wondering where God was at a time in history when it seems like almost everyone was moved to ponder those questions because their lives and their worlds were in such danger. There are some references to C.S. Lewis, but even then, God is not a part of the discussion - only that there must be absolute truth and everything cannot be relative. Again, I found it so strange for God to not be mentioned or even questioned as the source of absolute truth in these very personal reflections in diaries and letters. It was like He didn't exist in any way in these characters' world. This took away from the rest of the book's historical accuracy for me, and I mentioned to my husband that it put me off enough that it almost felt like a story from a parallel universe.

That aside, I found the reflections on absolute truth and how we understand and perceive what is happening around us and what happened in history very powerful and relevant to our modern day. This is an amazing, poignant, and thought-provoking book. I know I will return to it again and again and that its characters have become a part of me and will be thought of often.

I received a complimentary early electronic copy of this book from NetGalley but will be purchasing my own paperback the day it releases.

Was this review helpful?

The London House by Katherine Reay was a very interesting search for the truth about the past. Caroline Waite's family has been torn by tragedy and lies. Contacted by a former love interest who is now writing a story that tears apart the story of her namesake, Caroline travels to the London House to look for clues about the past.

I really enjoyed this story and finding out what Caro was really up to during World War II through her twin sister's diary entries and the letters Caro wrote to her.

Thank you to Harper Muse and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I can not recommend this book enough! I read The London House in one day. This book is one of best books of 2021.. I appreciate net gallery and selected publishers for this early copy

Was this review helpful?

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!

Was this review helpful?

A powerful dual ti.eline novel that goes between modern days and during gWorld Qar 2. A family struggles with the identity and the clandestine operations the aunt did during the war. A powerful and unique storyline e that kept me entertained throughout.

Was this review helpful?