The bar exam is over. School is starting up again and for the first time in my life, I’m not returning. My education is complete (at least my formal education). Now that I’m no longer a student, and will be working full-time beginning in mid-September, I want to get into a steady rhythm in this space. My blog posts dropped dramatically in law school because I, quite frankly, was pretty exhausted from all my school-related activities. More to come on what my content will look like and where I want to go with this space now that I am prepared to dedicate more time to it! For those who have followed along faithfully while my posts have been sporadic, thank you! I truly appreciate you reading along and I hope you continue to do so.
Today, I’m excited to share my thoughts on The Golden Hour by Beatriz Williams. Last summer, when I finally got back into reading for pleasure after a bit of a hiatus, I read Williams’ novel The Summer Wives, which I loved. Williams is an incredible writer and I always enjoy her stories.
I will admit, however, The Golden Hour was a slow burn. I started it while studying for the bar exam, and after about 150 pages, I had to put it down until the exam was over. I was simply too tired to read a book at the end of a 12 hour study day. However, after the exam was over and my move to DC was complete, I picked it back up. I enjoyed the story and I found it a rewarding read with an interesting twist. I figured a captivating novel about the Bahamas, the Windsor’s, a dedicated American journalist (well, a gossip columnist who wants to be a serious journalist), and some secret agents during WWII was right on point for my reading desires.
The novel was a bit different I expected. The Windsor’s weren’t as front and center as I assumed they would be. The alternating timelines took longer than I expected to intertwine, but once they did, it was satisfying. Lulu and Elfriede, the two women whose stories we follow, are both strong in different, yet complementary ways. I admired how Lulu was more assertive and would maneuver her way into a society she wanted to understand without being unlikable. Elfriede was more understated in her strength. She struggled with the expectations of her gender in the early 1900s, which led to some interesting decisions that left those around her confused but herself content. While I was invested in the two storylines of this book, I did find myself, at times, getting a little bored. I wanted to know what happened, but I felt the stories were dragging and I just wanted to know what happened sooner.
However, once I got to the ending, I realized that Williams was thoughtful and deliberate in her pacing. The novel spans a series of years and the storytelling allows you to feel the passage of time, allows you to see changes and development in the surrounding area and the people within the story. The pace is deliberately slow because each woman must wait. It seems Lulu and Elfriede are always waiting on something. A man. Themselves. Death. News. It’s a waiting game. There is a lack of urgency in that they must wait for something, but there is a sense of impatience in that they must wait and that time is not passing as quickly as they feel it must. The novel tracks that lack of urgency and parallel sense of impatience well.
I’m glad that I’m still part of Book of the Month because The Summer Wives was my first BOTM pick and my first Williams novel. BOTM got an advance for The Golden Hour, so I got to start reading it before it was even in bookstores. The Golden Hour certainly won’t be the last of her novels that I read. I love her writing style and her stories are so unique, capturing interesting periods of history and bringing them to live with authentic, well-crafted characters.
I’ll be back soon with my final reflection on law school, a life update, and probably another book review. I’m currently reading Tell Me Everything by Cambria Brockman and I cannot put it down.