Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy

Andrew Morton. Grand Central, $28 (400p) ISBN 978-1-4555-6697-6
In this strenuously gossipy work, veteran biographer Morton (Diana: Her True Story) turns his sights on Wallis Simpson, the twice-divorced American socialite for whom King Edward VIII abdicated the British throne. At the time, many contemporaries vilified Simpson for causing the abdication; some later authors and filmmakers have interpreted her tale as a great love story. As Morton makes clear, neither impression is accurate: Simpson never wanted abdication at all; the Prince was charming but also foolish and weak; and the subsequent marriage was a disaster. The shunned, continuously bickering couple’s vagabond existence included an especially ill-advised stint as honored guests of Hitler’s Germany in 1937. Tracing Simpson from her impoverished roots in Baltimore; to her first marriage to a charming but violently alcoholic Navy airman; to her second marriage to a shipping executive, which brought her to England, Morton creates a somewhat confused portrait. While showing flashes of sympathy for this ambitious woman with few outlets for self-expression, more often Morton’s version of Simpson verges on caricature, as he emphasizes, and almost seems to relish, her scheming, self-absorbed, peevish nature. His approach may initially titillate, but it feels empty by the end. Agent: Steve Troha, Folio Literary Management. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 11/06/2017
Release date: 02/13/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4789-6463-6
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