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Abdication

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Abdication Cover

ISBN13: 9781451658835
ISBN10: 1451658834
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Set in England in 1936, historian Nicolson's debut novel explores the tumultuous love lives of two couples, set against the backdrop of a world bracing for another global conflict while still recovering from WWI. Prince of Wales Edward and American divorcée Wallis Simpson are entangled in a scandalous (real-life) love affair whose secrecy they try desperately to maintain, a challenge made all the more difficult after Edward's ascension as king and concomitant thrust to the forefront of the public stage. Meanwhile, May Thomas, a chauffeur staying with Jewish relatives, falls in love with political Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson, whose restlessness threatens their relationship. As if navigating an illicit royal love affair weren't enough, Edward and Wallis's situation becomes further complicated when Wallis's childhood friend — the overweight 'virgo intacta' Evangeline Nettlefold — shows up and her long-held resentments threaten to undo the monarchy. Though richly detailed and set in a dynamic time and place, the novel revolves primarily around the uninteresting and unlikable Evangeline, leaving the truly interesting characters of Edward and Wallis to wait in the wings. Agent: William Clark, William Clark Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Synopsis:

From critically acclaimed historian Juliet Nicolson comes a glorious debut novel set in 1936 London about secrecy, tumultuous love, and a king and his subjects torn between public duty and private desire.

The Second World War looms in a world that dreads another international conflict, and England is full of secrets, not least of which is the affair the newly proclaimed King is having with an American divorcÉe. But not every confidence involves royalty. The lovely young chauffeur May Thomas and the complex Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson share an undeclared love, while the identity of May’s real father remains mysterious. Mrs. Cage, the housekeeper, desperately tries to keep her Nazi-sympathies hidden, and Evangeline Nettlefold’s ambivalent relationship with her school friend Wallis Simpson threatens to become explosive.  

Secrecy, tensions between parent and child, the private tussles of life, and the dilemma of whether or not duty supersedes love, reverberate throughout Abdication, in matters of social conscience, politics, and romance.

A glorious story that brings to mind the film The King’s Speech, as well as the beloved English novels Brideshead Revisited and 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.

About the Author

Juliet Nicolson is the author of The Perfect Summer: Dancing into Shadow in 1911 and The Great Silence: 1918-1920 Living in the Shadow of the Great War. She read English at the University of Oxford and has worked in publishing in both the UK and the United States. She is the President of the Kent Branch of the Jane Austen Society, has two daughters, and lives in London and Kent.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

janmah51, November 8, 2012 (view all comments by janmah51)
I would have given this two and a half stars if half stars were an option. I was disappointed in this book. From the title I was expecting it to be about Prince Edward VIII and American Wallis Simpson. Instead it was about May, their chauffeur and Wallis' childhood friend, American Evangeline Nettleson. May and her brother grew up in Barbados being raised on a sugar plantation. Her story is the more interesting of the two with a sweet ending. I cringed whenever the story turned to Evangeline who was quite pathetic and hard to relate to. The best thing about the story is the picture you get of London in 1936. It is an interesting look at the world at that time.
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Silvers Reviews, August 13, 2012 (view all comments by Silvers Reviews)
Abdication has such wonderful descriptions of characters as well as scenes, that you can actually see the detail of each…..so many incredible words put together to make a great picture of the scene, character, or comment.

You will follow boat trips across the ocean carrying two different women from different locations but both ending in London and meeting by chance. You will meet May, Sam, Evangeline, Wallis, and other family members and friends that are weaved into a beautiful, historical story with delightful characters.

You will learn of life in London in the early 1930's as a person in the "big" house or as a person who works for the "big" house. If you enjoy this time period and hearing the escapades of both sides, you will thoroughly enjoy Abdication with all its properness of privileged English families as well as the poverty that abounds. You will definitely learn of British Society and their customs and, of course, the British Royalty.

The book does get a little confusing with so many characters, but it all comes together in this appealing book. The ending pages also bring out the start of the horrors and hatreds of the beginning of WWII as well as the story of King Edward VIII.

I enjoyed this historical book. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781451658835
Author:
Nicolson, Juliet
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120531
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Abdication Used Hardcover
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Product details 352 pages Atria Books - English 9781451658835 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Set in England in 1936, historian Nicolson's debut novel explores the tumultuous love lives of two couples, set against the backdrop of a world bracing for another global conflict while still recovering from WWI. Prince of Wales Edward and American divorcée Wallis Simpson are entangled in a scandalous (real-life) love affair whose secrecy they try desperately to maintain, a challenge made all the more difficult after Edward's ascension as king and concomitant thrust to the forefront of the public stage. Meanwhile, May Thomas, a chauffeur staying with Jewish relatives, falls in love with political Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson, whose restlessness threatens their relationship. As if navigating an illicit royal love affair weren't enough, Edward and Wallis's situation becomes further complicated when Wallis's childhood friend — the overweight 'virgo intacta' Evangeline Nettlefold — shows up and her long-held resentments threaten to undo the monarchy. Though richly detailed and set in a dynamic time and place, the novel revolves primarily around the uninteresting and unlikable Evangeline, leaving the truly interesting characters of Edward and Wallis to wait in the wings. Agent: William Clark, William Clark Associates." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Synopsis" by , From critically acclaimed historian Juliet Nicolson comes a glorious debut novel set in 1936 London about secrecy, tumultuous love, and a king and his subjects torn between public duty and private desire.

The Second World War looms in a world that dreads another international conflict, and England is full of secrets, not least of which is the affair the newly proclaimed King is having with an American divorcÉe. But not every confidence involves royalty. The lovely young chauffeur May Thomas and the complex Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson share an undeclared love, while the identity of May’s real father remains mysterious. Mrs. Cage, the housekeeper, desperately tries to keep her Nazi-sympathies hidden, and Evangeline Nettlefold’s ambivalent relationship with her school friend Wallis Simpson threatens to become explosive.  

Secrecy, tensions between parent and child, the private tussles of life, and the dilemma of whether or not duty supersedes love, reverberate throughout Abdication, in matters of social conscience, politics, and romance.

A glorious story that brings to mind the film The King’s Speech, as well as the beloved English novels Brideshead Revisited and 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.

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