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 has two daughters and lives with her husband in Sussex, England.
This story never gets old: the besotted king, his cool American divorcee, the scheming politicians, and a compliant press keeping a nation in the dark. In this new version, Edward and Wallis are merely supporting players to the two main stars of the show: Evangeline Nettlefold, the maladroit schoolgirl chum of Wallis, and May Thomas, a clever and ambitious recent arrival from Barbados. These two cross paths when May is hired on as a chauffeur and aide to Sir Philip Blunt, a government minister, at the same time that Evangeline arrives in England at the invitation of Wallis and takes up residence in Sir Philip's household. Famous literary and political figures dot the narrative, which plays out against a backdrop of the Fascist rise to power in Europe and the fringe fascination in England with Nazi sympathizer Oswald Mosley. VERDICT Anyone requiring a post-Downton Abbey fix could do worse than this beguiling, Thirties-era, class-conscious soap opera, written by the granddaughter of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. Enthusiastically recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/28/11.]-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
"I can heartily recommend Abdication by Juliet Nicolson.
[It] is a new take on the events of 1936, because it introduces a
marvellous fictional character, in the shape of Wallis Simpson's
American school friend Evangeline Nettlefold, the antithesis of the
future Duchess in character - and physical shape; then there is May
Thomas, the 19-year-old girl chauffeur... This is definitely the
abdication as you never read it before, and difficult to put down
on the beach."--Antonia Fraser in The Telegraph (London)
"Abdication beautifully evokes the troubled thirties, with its high-stakes politics, easy money, and social tensions. Juliet Nicolson is an outstanding historian who brings the full panoply of her talent and research to the task of recreating the abdication crisis and its effect on Britain. This is a wonderful novel."--Amanda Foreman, award-winning and internationally bestselling author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and A World on Fire: Britain's Crucial Role in America's Civil War
"I was completely gripped by the story of David and Wallis Simpson.... But no less compellingly drawn were the rest of Juliet Nicolson's cast of characters. The kindly Evangeline, driven to pathetic jealousy. The almost-but-thank-goodness-not-quite caddishness and earnestness of Julian (just a perfect rendition of a man of that era), the sweet but fiery May, the love and fear felt by Florence and the genial Philip.... Goodness, Abdication really is good. I'm in awe of Juliet's ability to move from nonfiction to fiction so seamlessly."--Jessica Fellowes, New York Times bestselling author of The World of Downton Abbey
..".[an] imaginative and warmly woven first novel.... In every nuance of Abdication, Nicolson's subtle layering of relationships attests to her innate facility in capturing even the smallest details of class-regimented British society during its last dance of self-indulgence before the cataclysm of World War II."--BookReporter.com
"In historian Nicolson's first fiction, a Remains of the Day ambience is played out against the backdrop of George V's death and Edward VIII's ascension to the throne.... Nicolson writes knowledgeably of weekends in the country, swank parties and the ironic-supercilious posture of the British upper class. The novel rings with authenticity... a period drama ready to be adapted by the BBC and rerun on PBS."--Kirkus Reviews
"Fans of The King's Speech will love Nicolson's racy historical drama, set in 1936 against the backdrop of Wallis Simpson and Edward VIII's love affair."--Entertainment Weekly
"Nicolson brings Edward and Wallis's relationship to vivid life, artfully conveying Edward's infatuation and Wallis's brittle social-butterfly charm.... Myriad historical facts and luminaries of the day embellish the story. Abdication would make a stunning adaptation for the BBC."--The Independent (London)