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What to expect

‘The best book about the Windsors for decades’ Petronella Wyatt

The intimate biography of one of the most misunderstood women in British royal history.

His charisma and glamour ensured him the status of a rock star prince. Yet Edward gave up the British throne, the British Empire and his position as Emperor of India, to marry his true love, American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

So much gossip and innuendo has been levelled at Wallis Simpson that it has become nearly impossible to discern the real woman. Many have wondered why, when Edward could have had anyone he desired, he was smitten with this unusual American woman. As her friend Herman Rogers said to her in 1936 when news of her affair with Edward broke: ‘Much of what is being said concerns a woman who does not exist and never did exist.’

History is mostly perceived from the perspective of his-story. But what about her story? Anna Pasternak’s new book is the first ever to give Wallis a chance and a voice to show that she was a warm, loyal, intelligent woman adored by her friends, who was written off by cunning, influential Establishment men seeking to diminish her and destroy her reputation. As the author argues, far from being the villain of the abdication, she was the victim.

Anna Pasternak seeks to understand an unusual, deeply misunderstood woman, and the untenable situation she became embroiled in. Using testimony from their inner circle of friends, she presents a very different Wallis Simpson. With empathy, intimacy and thorough research, this book will make readers view her story as it has never been told before.

Critics Review

  • Praise for Anna Pasternak:

    #1 January book on Ophrah.com

    ‘Riveting, tragic tale’ New Yorker

    ‘A gripping and well-researched book’ Express

    ‘What makes the book unputdownable is Pasternak’s lively and detailed retelling of this ever-fascinating, ridiculously poignant love story.’ The Times

    ‘Anna Pasternak’s empathetic study of Wallis emphasises her intelligence, independence and unwillingness to ruin the life of the man she loved.’ Guardian

    ‘Pasternak’s mission here, accomplished with style and discernment, is to give appropriate balance to how history has proffered Mrs. Simpson’s character and motives (many have viewed her as a gold-digger) and recorded her role in the abdication crisis. What Pasternak poignantly reveals is that both the king and Mrs. Simpson demonstrated incredible naivete about the consequences of their marriage.’ Booklist

    ‘[A] gripping if sad chapter in history and she tells it well’ Evening Standard

    ‘Meticulously researched’ Sunday Times

    ‘Anna Pasternak has produced an irresistible account of joy, suffering and passion’ Financial Times

    ‘A story with enough romance and suffering to make a moving novel or film in its own right’ Observer

    ‘Anna Pasternak does not spare an ounce of drama nor detail …. a profoundly moving meditation on love, loyalty, and, ultimately, forgiveness’ Amanda Foreman

    ‘A … marvellously interesting book …fascinating’ Spectator

    ‘Passionate and intriguing … this is a brave and necessary rebuttal to much of the historical record’ Country & Town House

    ‘A fascinating story’ Country Life

    ‘An enchanting love story, wonderfully told’ Sir Ronald Harwood

    ‘Pasternak offers a variety of thought-provoking arguments to counter the accepted wisdom about Simpson … Those who have read other accounts will want to look at this other side.’ Kirkus

    ‘Accomplished with style and discernment’ Booklist

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