Abdication by Juliet Nicolson
352 pages, hardcover
Published May 2012, Atria Books
In 1936, King Edward abdicated from the thrown so he could marry his twice divorced American love, Wallis Simpson. The novel, Abdication follows the lives of those surrounding them in the months preceding.
Evangeline, a childhood friend of Wallis, who comes to London to stay with her godmother, and keep Wallis company. May, the chauffeur employed by Evangeline's godmother's husband, who along with her brother, have come to England to escape their father and make a new life for themselves. Their lives during this time are the main stories of the novel. Evangeline's sad attempts to be needed and May's relationships with her family and friend of her employer's son are interesting and do give an insight into the lifestyles of England's different classes in the 1930's.
Also thrown in was the affects of the growth of the Nazi party in Germany and the threat of war, but not enough of the politics and controversy of Edward and Wallis' relationship, abdication and marriage. I really would have liked to have learned more about the affects their relationship had on the rest of the royal family and the people of England. They were definitely an interesting couple and I wished to have seen more about them.
I did enjoy this book. I thought it well written and the characters interesting. I really kind of liked and felt sorry for Evangeline in the beginning. So much so, that the end was shocking and so unexpected. Such a sad person. May was interesting as well-taking on a job that was mostly a man's profession, finding love and forgetting the hardships of her childhood. This was great bedtime reading.
Despite, not getting enough of the Wallis and Edward story, I have managed to find quite a lot about their story. I just finished watching a documentary about them on PBS and there is a new biography out about Wallis Simpson. I guess people still want to know about the lady who a King chose over his kingdom.
Source: sent for review from the publisher