Washington Square Press, Paperback, 9781451664799, 344pp.
Publication Date: January 29, 2013
A beloved king is dead, and by year's end, the charismatic new monarch will give up his throne for love. The world is on the brink of war. And in the tumultuous intervening months, three outsiders will find themselves embroiled in the hidden truths, undeclared loves, unspoken sympathies, and covert complicities of a glittering high society in the throes of upheaval.
After a long journey from her home in Barbados, May Thomas secures a position as a secretary and driver and opens her heart to a man seemingly beyond her reach. Outwardly affable American spinster Evangeline Nettlefold finds her place in the uppermost social circles, but her growing resentment toward her childhood friend Wallis Simpson predicts disaster. A friendship catapults Julian Richardson from his mother's middle-class parlor to luxurious dinners with the king, yet he cannot forget those who struggle outside the gilded gates, nor his uneasy affection for May.
As addictive as Downton Abbey, as poignant as The Remains of the Day, renowned historian Juliet Nicolson's debut novel is a breathtaking story inspired by a love affair that shook the world at a time when order and chaos battled for supremacy.
“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 nonficition to fiction so seamlessly.”
-Jessica Fellowes, New York Times bestselling author of The World of Downton Abbey
“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.”
“Absorbing.... As the abdication crisis deepens and Britain is thrust ever closer to the perils of war, the lives of Nicolson's characters undergo significant changes, all rendered by her keen comprehension of human nature. And her imaginative prose adds to the pleasure.”
“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