One of our recommended books for 2020 is All the Ways We Said Goodbye by Beatriz Williams

ALL THE WAYS WE SAID GOODBYE

A Novel of the Ritz Paris


The New York Times bestselling authors of The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room return with a glorious historical adventure that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel.

The heiress . . .
The Resistance fighter . . .
The widow . . .
Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel

France, 1914. As war breaks out,

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The New York Times bestselling authors of The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room return with a glorious historical adventure that moves from the dark days of two World Wars to the turbulent years of the 1960s, in which three women with bruised hearts find refuge at Paris’ legendary Ritz hotel.

The heiress . . .
The Resistance fighter . . .
The widow . . .
Three women whose fates are joined by one splendid hotel

France, 1914. As war breaks out, Aurelie becomes trapped on the wrong side of the front with her father, Comte Sigismund de Courcelles. When the Germans move into their family’s ancestral estate, using it as their headquarters, Aurelie discovers she knows the German Major’s aide de camp, Maximilian Von Sternburg. She and the dashing young officer first met during Aurelie’s debutante days in Paris. Despite their conflicting loyalties, Aurelie and Max’s friendship soon deepens into love, but betrayal will shatter them both, driving Aurelie back to Paris and the Ritz— the home of her estranged American heiress mother, with unexpected consequences.

France, 1942. Raised by her indomitable, free-spirited American grandmother in the glamorous Hotel Ritz, Marguerite “Daisy” Villon remains in Paris with her daughter and husband, a Nazi collaborator, after France falls to Hitler. At first reluctant to put herself and her family at risk to assist her grandmother’s Resistance efforts, Daisy agrees to act as a courier for a skilled English forger known only as Legrand, who creates identity papers for Resistance members and Jewish refugees. But as Daisy is drawn ever deeper into Legrand’s underground network, committing increasingly audacious acts of resistance for the sake of the country—and the man—she holds dear, she uncovers a devastating secret . . . one that will force her to commit the ultimate betrayal, and to confront at last the shocking circumstances of her own family history.

France, 1964. For Barbara “Babs” Langford, her husband, Kit, was the love of her life. Yet their marriage was haunted by a mysterious woman known only as La Fleur. On Kit’s death, American lawyer Andrew “Drew” Bowdoin appears at her door. Hired to find a Resistance fighter turned traitor known as “La Fleur,” the investigation has led to Kit Langford. Curious to know more about the enigmatic La Fleur, Babs joins Drew in his search, a journey of discovery that that takes them to Paris and the Ritz—and to unexpected places of the heart…

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  • William Morrow
  • Hardcover
  • January 2020
  • 448 Pages
  • 9780062931092

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$28.99

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About Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig & Karen White

Beatriz Williams is the author of All the Ways We Said Goodbye, credit Amanda SuanneBeatriz Williams is the bestselling author of eleven novels, including The Golden Hour, The Summer Wives, A Hundred Summers, and The Wicked Redhead. A native of Seattle, she graduated from Stanford University and earned an MBA in finance from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry.

 

Lauren Willig is the author of All the Ways We Said Goodbye, credit Amanda SuanneLauren Willig is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty novels, including The Summer Country, The Ashford Affair, and The English Wife, as well as the RITA Award–winning Pink Carnation series. An alumna of Yale University, she has a graduate degree in history from Harvard and a JD from Harvard Law School. She lives in New York City with her husband, kindergartner, toddler, and vast quantities of coffee.

 

Karen White is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of twenty-five novels, including Dreams of Falling and The Night the Lights Went Out. She currently writes what she refers to as “grit lit”—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. She is a graduate of the American School in London and has a BS in management from Tulane University. When not writing, she spends her time reading, singing, and avoiding cooking. She has two grown children and currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with her husband and two spoiled Havanese dogs.

Praise

“All three of these “team W” writers create engaging characters and complex relationships while setting a tone that matches the story’s time period…The twist at the center of the story is worth the price of admission on its own. A great choice for anyone looking for clever historical fiction with plenty of drama, action, and surprises in every chapter.” Library Journal, starred review

“Full of heart and intrigue, the authors’ latest collaboration captures women’s perseverance and how history connects us all.” Booklist

“Three historical fiction powerhouses combine efforts to create an enthralling adventure spanning from the onset of World War I to the 1960s, telling the story of three women and their stay at the famous Ritz Hotel in Paris.”Book Riot, “150 Winter New Releases to Add to Your TBR”

“A sweeping historical novel about the strength of women who find themselves in impossible situations.” PopSugar, “22 of the Best Books This Winter Has to Offer”

Excerpt

Chapter One
Babs

Langford Hall
Devonshire, England
April 1964

It was always worse at night. The shadowy figure that followed me each waking hour yet seemed just beyond my reach, just around the corner. That fleeting flash of movement out of the periphery of my vision became mortal at night. It slipped into my bed and rested its head on Kit’s pillow, melded itself against my back under the counterpane, exhaled a breath against my cheek in the darkness.

Sometimes, if I was in that half-world between wakefulness and sleep, I’d imagine Kit had come back to me, that he slept in his spot on the bed that even a year later I hadn’t encroached upon. Other times, like tonight, it would only remind me that Kit was truly and completely gone, and the tight ball of grief that resided in my chest would unfurl its sharp talons, stealing all hope of sleep.

With a sigh, I threw back the bedclothes and slid from the bed, shivering. I was always cold in the house, even more so now that it was almost unbearably empty. After sliding on my slippers and pulling on Kit’s dressing gown that rested at the foot of the bed, I wandered aimlessly through the drafty, cold hallways and rooms of Langford Hall, Kit’s ancestral home.

Although I’d been raised with three older brothers at the neighboring estate, I’d always considered Langford Hall mine as much as Kit’s, having spent as much time growing up there as in my own home. Since the time when I’d been a little girl, I’d adored the elegant rectangle of red-brown Georgian brick, the three stories tucked under a hipped, dormered roof. The sash windows, twelve panes each, evenly spaced on either side of the door. Or maybe I’d simply adored it because it was where Kit lived.

I’d been in love with Kit since I was four years old and he’d lifted me up onto the saddle in front of him when I’d announced that ponies were for babies. When I was eight I’d told my eldest brother, Charles, that I would marry Kit one day despite our ten-year difference in age. He’d laughed but had promised to keep my secret. And he had, taking it with him when he’d been shot down over the Channel during the war.

Clutching Kit’s robe tightly around me and trying my best not to personify a tragic heroine from one of my sister’s novels—those gothic romances that she thought nobody knew she read—I walked slowly down the upstairs hallway and visited the three vacant bedrooms of our children, all but one away at school. Even the family dog, Walnut the whippet, had abandoned me, allowing pity cuddles now and again but vastly preferring the warm kitchen and the prickly housekeeper, Mrs. Finch. It made no sense that Walnut would choose to align himself with a woman who professed daily that she didn’t like dogs, but I had long since given up trying to make sense of a world that refused to make itself logical.

Moonlight through the tall windows guided me across the foyer to the closed door of Kit’s study. I paused, my hand on the knob, still feeling as if I might be intruding. I was beyond exhausted of feeling that way. Tired of pretending and acting as if everything were normal, that Kit had merely been away for a short trip and would be returning soon. But he wouldn’t. I knew this, but I still found myself turning toward him in the evening to say something or tiptoeing past his office so not to disturb him. It was all so foolish of me, yet I couldn’t seem to resurrect the sure-footed and unwavering young woman I’d been when I’d first married Kit. The same woman he might have even been a little in love with. Turning the handle, I pushed gently on the door and stood in the threshold for a long moment. The spicy scent of his pipe smoke wafted toward me and I found myself peering inside the room expectantly, as if Kit might be sitting at his desk or in his favorite reading chair by the window. But the scent quickly evaporated, and I was left with the empty room again. With a resolute jut of my chin for encouragement, I walked forward as memories like water threatened to drown me.

The large leather couch was where Kit had done most of his convalescing in the year following the war. He’d been in a prison camp in Germany for nearly two years before that, and he’d been returned to Langford Hall with a racking cough and an insatiable hunger that merely tormented him as he couldn’t keep down more than a spoonful at a time. His blue eyes had sunk deep into their sockets, his cheekbones bird-wing sharp. His parents had hired doctors to oversee his care, but it had been I who’d slept on a cot beside him, first in his bedroom and then in his study when he’d threatened mutiny if he was kept in his bed one more moment, dropping water onto his tongue and feeding him soup until he was strong enough to hold a spoon.

It’s where I’d cooled his fevered brow with water-soaked cloths, held his hand, and listened to his almost incoherent ramblings that only hinted at the horrors of what he’d experienced. Of how he’d prayed for death just to end the constant hunger, cold, and pain. He’d spoken of other things, too, things he never mentioned again. Things that I never brought up afterward, either. The absence of the signet ring with the two swans that he’d always worn was never mentioned as its memory, too, became entangled with his time in France. It was as if those years hadn’t existed if we never spoke of them, surviving only in the occasional outburst fueled by nocturnal nightmares. And I found that ignoring unpleasant things made it easier to pretend they didn’t exist.

I had always been a stickler for the truth, for facing unpleasantness and dealing with it forthwith. But I’d discovered that there were some things too fragile to touch, the threat of shattering too imminent. It’s why when the letter arrived for Kit after he’d been home for nearly a year, after he’d slipped his mother’s sapphire engagement ring on my finger and we’d made plans to marry in the new year, I had gone against everything I believed myself to be and hidden it. I was too pragmatic to destroy it, its continued existence a balm to my conscience, never truly forgotten but more like a ticking bomb whose day of detonation I knew would be as sudden as it would be devastating.

My gaze traveled to the study window, seeing the white path of moonlight that led to the folly where Kit’s father, Robert Langford, had written most of his bestselling spy novels. In a testament to her grief, his widow, Tess, had ordered it locked up after he’d died. I stared at the gray glow of stone in the middle of the lake, like a monument to a broken heart. I had never considered myself the sentimental sort, but the sight gave me pause, made me wonder if I needed to make some grand gesture to acknowledge my own grief. Or if wandering Langford Hall like a nocturnal wraith might be sufficient.

With one last look at Kit’s desk, where his pipe still sat in the empty ashtray, I let myself out of the study, then paused at the bottom of the stairs, loath to go up and return to bed. Maybe I could change bedrooms or rearrange the furniture. Or do what everyone had been telling me to do since Kit’s death and the resulting taxes—deed the hall to the National Trust. But how could I? Langford Hall was Kit’s legacy, the place where I’d fallen in love, where we’d raised our children. It was inconceivable, really, to imagine strangers traipsing over the Exeter carpets and staring at the portraits of the Langford ancestors that glared down from their perches.

My feet were already leading me away before I realized where I was headed. I pretended I’d heard Walnut whimper, which was why I needed to be in the warm kitchen, making sure he was all right and had water in his bowl. I would be the last person to admit that I needed the warm comfort of a living creature, even a four-legged one, to face the rest of the night.

I sat down in the chair at the marred kitchen table and watched as Walnut stirred from his bed. He lifted his head, his eyes martyr-like as he issued a heavy sigh before heaving himself out of his warm comfy bed to amble over to me. He dutifully sat down next to my chair and rested his head in my lap so I could stroke his silky ears. Tired now, I rested my head on the table, feeling inordinately comforted by the soft snoring and fuggy dog breath coming from my lap. I closed my eyes, my last waking thought wondering how on earth I was meant to face another day.