The Last Night in London by Karen White | #bookreview | @KarenWhiteWrite @BerkleyPub

As you might be able to guess from my tinselly photo above, I got Karen White’s The Last Night in London for my Christmas. Finally, I have got around to reading it and it was worth the wait. The Sound of Glass by the same author is one of the very first books I reviewed when I started blogging. You can read my review here: The Sound of Glass. I have read two of the three books she has co-authored with Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. You can read my reviews of those if you’d like to: The Glass Ocean, All the Ways We Said Goodbye

About the book

London, 1939. Beautiful and ambitious Eva Harlow and her American best friend, Precious Dubose, are trying to make their way as fashion models. When Eva falls in love with Graham St. John, an aristocrat and Royal Air Force pilot, she can’t believe her luck–she’s getting everything she ever wanted. Then the Blitz devastates her world, and Eva finds herself slipping into a web of intrigue, spies, and secrets. As Eva struggles to protect her friendship with Precious and everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever…

London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner, whose life has been marked by the tragic loss of her mother, travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie has been careful to close herself off to others, but in Precious she recognizes someone whose grief rivals her own–but unlike Maddie, Precious hasn’t allowed it to crush her. Maddie finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, her enigmatic surrogate nephew. As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’s haunting past–a story of friendship, betrayal, and the unremembered acts of kindness and of love.

My Thoughts

I was quite excited to find out that this book featured Precious Dubose, a character I had already come across in All The Ways we Said Goodbye. It almost felt that I was going to learn more about an old friend. In The Last Night in London, we meet Precious just prior to and in the early years of the Second World War and also in 2019, now a very old lady. The book also features Maddie Warner who I understand is also a character in a previous Karen White novel.

What Maddie thought was going to be an article on modelling and fashion in the pre-war years, turned out into something of a mystery to be solved and with a fast approaching deadline (perhaps not the best word to use), as Precious is very old and ailing in health. Her mind though, is still sharp, and there are things she would like revealed before she dies.

The Last Night in London turned out to be a gripping read involving blackmail, secrets and espionage. So many people in the WW2 strand of the story were not entirely who they appeared to be and danger lurked around every corner. I particularly enjoyed this part of the story and found myself completely absorbed in the lives of Precious and her best friend and fellow model, the glamorous Eva Harlow.

Precious is such a fabulous character and the things I learned about her in this book has made me want to go back and read All The Ways We Said Goodbye again now that I know more of her story and understand her more.

Although I have mostly mentioned the historical strand of the story here, the more recent part is also gripping. I enjoyed following Maddie as she began to uncover the secrets from the past with the help of Colin, a relation of Precious. Maddie has her own issues to deal with and grief following the loss of loved ones in a way that might also affect her. She is determined not to let anyone suffer as she had but Precious reminds her that “there is always beauty and love waiting for us, even during the darkest days of our lives.”

I loved The Last Night in London. Karen White is gifted at characterisation and a natural storyteller. The Last Night in London is compelling, immersive story of secrets, absolution and love.

The Last Night in London is published by Berkley. It doesn’t appear to be available
in the UK for Kindle but you can get a paperback or hardback copy online
or perhaps your local bookshop might be able to order it in for you.

About the Author

Karen White is the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five novels, including the Tradd Street series, Dreams of Falling, The Night the Lights Went Out, Flight Patterns, The Sound of Glass, A Long Time Gone, and The Time Between. She is the co-author of All the Ways We Said Goodbye, The Glass Ocean, and The Forgotten Room with New York Times bestselling authors Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig. She grew up in London but now lives with her husband and two dogs near Atlanta, Georgia.

5 thoughts on “The Last Night in London by Karen White | #bookreview | @KarenWhiteWrite @BerkleyPub

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