“Our conceptions of love and home are very different…”
The London House is a story that explores the idea of familial trauma and the truth behind the buried secrets a family holds. Caroline is named after her great aunt, a woman who was beloved and venerated by her twin sister after she died quite young. Or did she? Caroline is contacted by an old friend who has done some research about another family and uncovered a life her aunt had that no one was aware of. Caroline and her family struggle with the idea that her aunt may not have died young and may have actually been wiped from the family after an association with a Nazi officer during WWII. The narrative of the story follows Caroline and her friend as they read her grandmother’s diary and letters written by her aunt, slowly working their way to the truth, which may be quite far from anything they knew or assumed.
I liked the way the story slowly revealed itself and we got to know Margo (the grandmother) and Caro (the aunt) each individually and together. An illness pulls the two apart and they grow into different people who can’t seem to understand one another anymore and yet fiercely love one another. The two paths taken are starkly different in ideology and action and yet tied by their love for one another and the same man. We see how the family trauma repeats itself even as far as the current Caroline’s generation and how through this research she was finding healing in her own time with her parents. I enjoyed learning yet another new angle on WWII. There was a small love story element for those who need that in their historical fiction but that wasn’t the star for me. I did really appreciate the character arcs of self acceptance, dealing with grief and finding your truth. It is also lovely to see yet another story about a woman empowered beyond her generation.
Thanks to Booksparks for a gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
Have you ever researched the history of your family?