Author: Juliet Nicolson
Review: I enjoyed this book, I love historical fiction. Learning a bit about history while being wrapped up in the lives of people who could have lived at that time, what’s not to like? The title lead me to believe that I would be reading about Edward and the reasons he abdicated for Mrs. Simpson in the 1930’s, but it is more about the lives of people around them. May is a girl from the Islands who lands a job as chauffer for a member of the cabinet in England. We follow her and her family along with people she meets, which leads her to meet Edward and Wallis Simpson.
The reasons for the abdication are varied, but all of them lead to Wallis Simpson. A friend of hers, Evangeline, is mixed up in the middle of the decision. Friend or foe, do you ever wonder about your friends if a situation arose could you trust them? Who knows until the friendship is put to a test. Well I loved the way that Evangeline was written; I could really get a good feeling for her and her problems with what was going on.
England was on the brink of WWII, and Hitler was a hot topic along with many other ideas. Work was scarce and the people needed hope and there soon to be King was in love with a married/divorced woman. What a great historical moment to form a story around. If you love history and especially with a bit of fiction and romance thrown in you will enjoy this book, the language is flowery and beautiful. Maybe a bit over the top at times, but the imagery is there and I could picture all the events and characters clearly.
May is a character I loved and hope that she does get her happy ending. Evangeline I hope finds what she is looking for and well for the rest, it is as they say, ‘History’.
Publisher: Published May 22nd 2012 by AtriaBooks (first published May 8th 2012)
Quick Review: 4 Stars out of 5.
Why Did I Read the Book: I love historical fiction.
Where Did I Get the Book: Sent by the publisher for review.
Synopsis: England, 1936.
The year began with the death of a beloved king and the ascension of a charismatic young monarch, sympathetic to the needs of the working class, glamorous and single. By year’s end, the world would be stunned as it witnessed that new leader give up his throne in the name of love, just as the unrest and violence that would result in a Second World War were becoming impossible to ignore.
During the tumultuous intervening months, amidst the whirl of social and political upheaval, wise-beyond-her-nineteen-years May Thomas will take the first, faltering steps toward creating a new life for herself. Just disembarked at Liverpool after a long journey from her home on a struggling sugar plantation in Barbados, she secures a position as secretary and driver to Sir Philip Blunt, a job that will open her eyes to the activities of the uppermost echelons of British society, and her heart to a man seemingly beyond her reach.
Outwardly affable spinster Evangeline Nettlefold is a girlhood friend to the American socialite Wallis Simpson, a goddaughter to Lady Joan Blunt and a new arrival to London from Baltimore. She will be generously welcomed into society’s most glittering circles, where one’s daily worth is determined by one’s proximity to a certain H.R.H. and his married mistress. But as the resentment she feels toward Wallis grows in magnitude, so too does the likelihood of disastrous consequences.
Young, idealistic Julian Richardson’s Oxford degree and his close friendship with Rupert Blunt have catapulted him from excruciating hours in his mother’s middle-class parlor to long holidays spent at stately homes and luxurious dinners in the company of a king. But even as he enjoys his time in this privileged world, his head cannot forget the struggles of those who live outside its gilded gates, and his uneasy heart cannot put aside his undeclared affection for May.
May, Evangeline and Julian will all become embroiled in the hidden truths, undeclared loves, unspoken sympathies and covert complicities that define the year chronicled in Abdication. In pitch-perfect prose, Juliet Nicolson has captured an era in which duty and pleasure, tradition and novelty, and order and chaos all battled for supremacy in the hearts and minds of king and commoner alike. As addictive as Downton Abbey, as poignant as The Remains of the Day, Abdication is a breathtaking story inspired by a love affair that shook the world at a time when the world was on the brink of war.
Author Biography: Juliet Nicolson is the author of 'The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm' and 'The Great Silence: Britain From the Shadow of the First World War to the Dawn of the Jazz Age.' She read English at Oxford University and has worked in publishing in both the UK and the United States. She has two daughters, and lives with her husband in Sussex.