I quite enjoy historical fiction, especially when it’s centred around a period of history I know a little about. When I received Abdication out of the blue I was definitely interested. This still remains one of the scandals of 20th century England, the abdication of a monarch to enable him to be with his beloved, an American divorcee. Should duty override love or is love worth sacrificing anything for?
Although Wallis Simpson and King Edward play a significant – a crucial – role in the book, the main character is actually a young chauffeur, May Thomas. May secures a job as driver and secretary to Sir Philip Blunt, whose wife is Godmother to a long-time friend of Wallis Simpson, Evangeline Nettlefold. Thus, May crosses paths with the scandal and we see it through her eyes, the eyes of Evangeline and finally through the eyes of Julian, a family friend of the Blunts who takes a shine to May.
This is a wonderful mix of scandal and intrigue, combined with romance and even humour, all against the backdrop of very real events. Wallis is not portrayed in particularly flattering terms but this seems quite authentic, given that the British people didn’t take too well to the loss of a king. That said, Evangeline doesn’t come across very well either, so I’d like to assure my American friends that we’re not that hostile to all visiting Americans! Seriously, though, for a book that manages to cover some considerable cultural and historical issues, it does so in a remarkably upbeat way that keeps the book light and easy to read at the same time as providing a thoroughly good read.
Abdication is well written with the fictional plot playing out beautifully alongside real events. This is a love story of two parts: a rather touching, fictional one and a somewhat more sallacious and controversial true life one. Certainly worth a read for history lovers, romance lovers and literary fiction lovers.**Review originally published on Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dave. I received a copy of the book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation and all views are my own.**