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.
Abdication / Juliet Nicolson
“This novel uses as its backdrop events in Great Britain in 1936—from the death of George V and the ascension of his son Edward VIII through Edward’s abdication in December of that year to marry the American widow Wallis Simpson. The author has created characters caught up in the royal drama, and the story includes palace intrigue, secret loves, and a dash of social commentary. Narrator Carole Boyd has exactly the kind of voice this book deserves. She is British to the core—elegant, graceful, and proper—and she demands, and earns, our attention. Boyd pronounces every syllable with aplomb and also does a variety of accents, including those of the upper class and working class, and an extremely credible American voice. (After all, she does need to introduce us to Mrs. Simpson.)” ~AudioFile (R.I.G.)