Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Book Review: The Last Night in London by Karen White

Pages: 480
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: April 20, 2021
Publisher: Berkley
Source: Publisher for review
Other Books By Author: Dreams of Falling
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "New York Times bestselling author Karen White weaves a story of friendship past and present, love, and betrayal that moves between war-torn London during the Blitz and the present day.  A captivating story of friendship, love and betrayal – and finding hope in the darkness of war.  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 everything she holds dear, all it takes is one unwary moment to change their lives forever.  London, 2019. American journalist Maddie Warner travels to London to interview Precious about her life in pre-WWII London. Maddie, healing from past trauma and careful to close herself off to others, finds herself drawn to both Precious and to Colin, Precious’ enigmatic surrogate nephew. As Maddie gets closer to her, she begins to unravel Precious’ haunting past – and the secrets she swore she’d never reveal."

Maddie Warner is a freelance journalist and has taken on a very exciting job researching wartime fashion during WWII.  She is set to interview Precious Dubose who just so happens to be a distant relative.  Precious was a model during WWII and is practically an expert on fashion. While there in London, Maddie encounters Colin whom she met in college while studying abroad.  Colin's family is very close with Precious's, so their paths keep crossing, which is awkward since they had an almost moment many years before at Oxford.  Flashback to the year of 1939 and readers are swept into Precious's fast-paced world as a model living in a flat in London.  Precious lives with fellow model, Eva, who has recreated herself in order to separate herself from her working class background.  While working in London, Eva encounters Graham St. John who is pretty much the man of her dreams. He has money, power, and connections; it's everything Eva thinks she wants for herself.  However, things aren't easy as Graham is an RAF pilot and the war is raging on.  The Blitz bombards London with its chaos and terror; in turn, Eva and Precious's lives are impacted forever.  Meanwhile in present day, Maddie is unraveling Precious's story and finds secrets lurking in the dark corners of her past.  Karen White's The Last Night in London is a captivating historical tale that fans of WWII fiction will enjoy.

Maddie is an interesting character in The Last Night in London.  Avid readers of White's novels may recognize some of these characters from her previous novels, which is a nice touch.  While I wasn't familiar with Maddie from White's Falling Home, I liked her as she is a complex character.  She has issues of her own that she is hiding from and while spending time in London, she not only figures out Precious's story, but also comes to terms with her own.  Unfortunately, her relationship with Colin was a bit predictable at times, so I found myself drawn to the WWII part of the story.

Like many other WWII novels out there today, White tells The Last Night in London through a dual timeline.  I did find Eva and Precious's time period to be the most compelling, because you can't really compete with wartime London and the Blitz. There was romance, war, spying, traitors, blackmail, and dark secrets.  I was completely hooked with this timeline and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

Since I found the dual narratives to be a bit uneven, I have to say The Last Night in London wasn't my favorite of White's novels that I've read so far.  However, I did appreciate how White connected the two women despite the many years that separated them.  They did have a lot in common regarding grief and I like how White suggests to readers that women are strong and can overcome tragedy.  So, if you love WWII fiction and are a fan of White definitely check out The Last Night in London this spring.

So, let me know if you are you a fan of Karen White's novels and if this novel is on your TBR list.  Do you like WWII fiction as well? Let me know your thought sin the comments below. 




  1. I love dual timeline novels, but I often find myself liking one of the timelines more than the other!

    1. Yes, this happens to me too and that was definitely the case with this novel! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  2. The Blitz is always the most intense time in war time London whenever I read a historical fiction in that period. Curious about this one!

    1. Right? I agree...definitely an intense time which made for a suspenseful story. Thanks for visiting, Joy!


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