Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Blog Tour: The London House by Katherine Reay

Pages: 368
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: November 2, 2021
Publisher: Harper Muse
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars  

Goodreads says, "Uncovering a dark family secret sends one woman through the history of Britains World War II spy network and glamorous 1930s Paris to save her family’s reputation. Caroline Payne thinks it’s just another day of work until she receives a call from Mat Hammond, an old college friend and historian. But pleasantries are cut short. Mat has uncovered a scandalous secret kept buried for decades: In World War II, Caroline’s British great-aunt betrayed family and country to marry her German lover.  Determined to find answers and save her family’s reputation, Caroline flies to her family’s ancestral home in London. She and Mat discover diaries and letters that reveal her grandmother and great-aunt were known as the “Waite sisters.” Popular and witty, they came of age during the interwar years, a time of peace and luxury filled with dances, jazz clubs, and romance. The buoyant tone of the correspondence soon yields to sadder revelations as the sisters grow apart, and one leaves home for the glittering fashion scene of Paris, despite rumblings of a coming world war.  Each letter brings more questions. Was Caroline’s great-aunt actually a traitor and Nazi collaborator, or is there a more complex truth buried in the past? Together, Caroline and Mat uncover stories of spies and secrets, love and heartbreak, and the events of one fateful evening in 1941 that changed everything.  In this rich historical novel from award-winning author Katherine Reay, a young woman is tasked with writing the next chapter of her family’s story. But Caroline must choose whether to embrace a love of her own and proceed with caution if her family’s decades-old wounds are to heal without tearing them even further apart."



Caroline Payne is living a normal life in Boston until she receives a phone call which changes her family's life.  The call is from Mat, her friends from college, whom she used to have a crush on.  Mat is writing an article and has come across information that applies to Caroline's family, in particular, her great-aunt.  He has uncovered some family secrets about her great-aunt and namesake, Caroline Waite.  She worked for the British government during WWII, but there was a bit of a scandal. She left her government job, pretty much disappeared, and as rumor would have it, she left to be with her Nazi lover.  Cue the shock.  Well, this is even more shocking as Caroline thought her great-aunt Caroline died from polio at a young age.  How could she have been working for the British government? Are Mat's claims accurate? In order to figure out her family's secrets (and hopefully clear her aunt's name), she travels to London to not only visit her mother, but to visit her family's house with the hopes that she can read some of the letters her grandmother and aunt wrote through the years.  Perhaps the answers are in there. She also hopes to find out the truth of what happened to help her father heal as this secret has caused some major stress over the years.  Katherine Reay's historical family drama, The London House, is filled with mysteries and family secrets that span decades. 

I really liked Caroline from the start of The London House.  She always thought her Aunt Caroline died young, but as she uncovers family secrets, she realizes that her grandmother and great-aunt were very close and that she did not die in childhood.  That was a coverup, but what for?  Her grandmother and great-aunt exchanged letters for years and once Caroline starts poring over them, the truth slowly floats to the surface.  On the periphery is Mat, who is essentially wanting to write a very revealing and reputation damaging article about her aunt. Even he comes along to London, with Caroline's insistence, to help her get to the bottom of this before he writes his tell-all article.  As they spend more time together, they start to get closer again.  

I adored the setting of The London House, specifically the ancestral home of Caroline's family. I felt like there were secrets around every turn and treasures lurking in every closet. I loved the idea of looking through a long-lost relative's letters to figure out a family secret.  It was a neat way to relive the past and gain a different perspective.  My only issue with The London House was the amount of letters. If you don't like stories told in this manner, take this into consideration, although I will admit this was a nice break from the usual dual time line historical novel. 

Oh, the secrets in The London House!  Caroline eventually comes across the truth and it's both heartbreaking and courageous. It definitely tugged on my heartstrings. So if you are a fan of historical fiction and love a good family drama, I urge you to pick up a copy of The London House.

Are you a fan of Katherine Reay's novels? Is The London House on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments below. 



  1. I like when stories are told through letters, and of course the WWII setting always interests me! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for visiting, Angela. I think you'd like this one!

  2. Thank you for your thoughtful review, Christina. I enjoyed the location and the characters too. Best, LA

    1. I'm glad you agree, Laurel! I loved the setting--best part! Thanks for visiting and having me be a part of the blog tour.


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