In 2019, Maddie Warner, who had spent a year studying at Oxford, travels back to London from the United States to write a freelance article for her friend Arabella who is a fashion editor at British Vogue. It is a feature on fashions during the war years. She’s to interview 99-year-old Jeanne “Precious” Dubose, who has an extensive collection of vintage clothing and is also a woman she recently learned is a distant relative. This assignment proves to be much more than expected as Precious is ready to reveal her wartime secrets. She asks Maddie to find her friend Eva.
In this dual timeline story, author Karen White takes us back to London in 1939 where Precious and her best friend Eva Harlow are fashion models working at the House of Lushtak. While modeling fashions for a future bride, they become fast friends with Sophie St. John and Eva soon falls in love with the dashing Graham St. John, brother of the bride. Eva, who has changed her identity, hides her lower-class background from the St. Johns as she would be deemed unsuitable for Graham. Once England declares war on Germany and the bombings begin, it becomes hard to determine who is on which side. And Eva’s lies put her life in jeopardy. In the present, as Maddie is trying to put together the mystery of Precious and Eva’s story, a bond develops between the two woman and it appears that Maddie is also has her own secrets. Maddie is reunited with Colin Eliot from her time at Oxford. His family has been very close to Precious and help with her care. Colin still resents Maggie’s abrupt departure from his life.
The Last Night in London is an engaging wartime story which connects the past to the present. The creative way in which the story unfolds will satisfy. I first discovered Karen White through the books she has written with Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig and have gone on to read several of her individual works as well. In addition to bringing back the character of Maddie, who appears in two of White’s earlier books, I enjoyed the return of Precious Dubois from All the Ways We Said Goodbye, which is a wonderful collaboration with Williams and Willig.
Many thanks to Berkley / Penguin Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book in advance of its publication.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Publication Date: April 20, 2021.
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