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This is a story that I thought I knew... conniving American social-climber fools noble-minded British king into leaving his throne. I'm now not sure that's a fair assessment. Neither King Edward VIII or Wallis Simpson were going to win a "most-likable" contest, but the book makes a reasonable case that Wallis actually got in over her head, not expecting the king would go so far to keep her. Wallis appears to have been an intelligent and interesting woman, troubled by her own insecurities, who found herself the focus of an obsessive love. The period detail is wonderful and the insights into the various personalities involved in this "greatest love story of the 20th Century" are enlightening. This, plus an excellent job of narration by Samatha Bond makes for a book well worth any listener's time.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
This book is a cautionary tale if there ever was one. Be Careful What you Wish For is the message that comes through loud and clear.
Because I have never been particularly interested in gossipy enquirer type articles I had never looked very closely at either the Duke or the Dutchess of Windsor. But lately I have been doing quite a bit of reading lately about WW2 and several of the books I have read have mentioned that they were both suspected of having pro Nazi sympathies I decided to search out a biography of the Duke. I didn't find one on audible.com but did find this book. My goodness, what a to-do!
The conclusion that I came up with is that neither the Duke or the Dutchess had pro Nazi sympathies. In fact I got the impression that both of them were so self absorbed that it was impossible for them to connect with or even understand any concept beyond their own personal desires at any given moment. That is not to say the wouldn't has assisted the Nazi cause- but only if they perceived that by doing so they would advance their own interests.
I felt a little sorry for the Duke because if the facts of what happened were represented accurately then a real good argument could be made for him having a developmental disability of some sort. Perhaps autism. He really did seem to be unable to understand cause and effect throughout his life. In the end he got exactly what he pushed so hard for and gave up so much to get and then spent the rest of his life unhappy because he was never able to understand why when he shed all responsibilities all his perks went away as well. I thought he was honestly bewildered by that.
As for the Dutchess, well I have less sympathy for her. I don't think she ever wanted Edward "for keeps" but thought she could carry on an affair where she could enjoy royal patronage, snub her nose at Brittain's society types, advance her husbands career and then when Edward inevitably tired of her like he did all the mistresses that came before her go back to her long suffering second husband that she truly loved and her life would go back to normal. Instead she found herself in way over her head and ended up losing the husband she loved and stuck with an obsessively clingy husband that she didn't love.
The only ones who came out ahead in this mess were the British people who ended up with a much better king at a time when they had enough to deal with without having to put up with a King who displayed all the maturity of judgement of a six year old brat.
14 of 16 people found this review helpful