cover image  The Last Night in London

The Last Night in London

Karen White. Berkley, $27 (480p) ISBN 978-0-451-49201-2

White expands on her Walton, Ga., universe (Falling Home) to spin a dual-timeline WWII romance spiced with murky identities, intrigue, and betrayal. In 2019, freelance journalist Maddie Warner, a Walton native, travels to London to research an article about wartime fashion. She interviews 99-year-old Jeanne “Precious” Dubose, a distant relative, who modeled in London and Paris during the war, and unexpectedly encounters Colin Eliot, a friend and almost-lover from her study abroad year at Oxford, whose family has known Precious for decades. Colin loves Maddie, but she initially resists a relationship, uncertain how he’d fit into her future, since she can’t have children. In 1939, Precious’s flatmate and fellow model Eva Harlow falls in love with handsome and wealthy Graham St. John and hides her lower-class background, prompting a German acquaintance of Graham’s to blackmail Eva for information about Graham’s new duties as an RAF pilot. Eva confides to no one, but after German bombs fall on London in October 1940, the truth of Eva’s actions are exposed. The romance between Maddie and Colin unfolds with comfortable predictability as Maddie races to capture Precious’s story, and White drops heavy clues throughout about the links between past and present. None of this, though, will prevent her fans from inhaling this page-turning story. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Apr.)