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Abdication: A Novel
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Published:
Washington Square Press 2012
Status:
Available from OverDrive
Description

From critically acclaimed historian Juliet Nicolson comes a glorious debut novel set in 1936 London about secrecy, tumultuous love, and a king and his subjects torn between public duty and private desire.

The Second World War looms in a world that dreads another international conflict, and England is full of secrets, not least of which is the affair the newly proclaimed King is having with an American divorcÉe. But not every confidence involves royalty. The lovely young chauffeur May Thomas and the complex Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson share an undeclared love, while the identity of May's real father remains mysterious. Mrs. Cage, the housekeeper, desperately tries to keep her Nazi-sympathies hidden, and Evangeline Nettlefold's ambivalent relationship with her school friend Wallis Simpson threatens to become explosive.

Secrecy, tensions between parent and child, the private tussles of life, and the dilemma of whether or not duty supersedes love, reverberate throughout Abdication, in matters of social conscience, politics, and romance.

A glorious story that brings to mind the film The King's Speech, as well as the beloved English novels Brideshead Revisited and The Remains of the Day, Abdication is a breathtaking story inspired by a love affair that shook the world at a time when the world was on the brink of war.

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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
05/22/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781451658842
ASIN:
B005GG0KR6
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Juliet Nicolson. (2012). Abdication: A Novel. Washington Square Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Juliet Nicolson. 2012. Abdication: A Novel. Washington Square Press.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Juliet Nicolson, Abdication: A Novel. Washington Square Press, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Juliet Nicolson. Abdication: A Novel. Washington Square Press, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Date Added:
Jun 12, 2018 15:34:21
Date Updated:
Jun 03, 2022 07:42:32
Last Metadata Check:
May 26, 2024 07:23:55
Last Metadata Change:
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title
Abdication
fullDescription

From critically acclaimed historian Juliet Nicolson comes a glorious debut novel set in 1936 London about secrecy, tumultuous love, and a king and his subjects torn between public duty and private desire.

The Second World War looms in a world that dreads another international conflict, and England is full of secrets, not least of which is the affair the newly proclaimed King is having with an American divorcÉe. But not every confidence involves royalty. The lovely young chauffeur May Thomas and the complex Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson share an undeclared love, while the identity of May's real father remains mysterious. Mrs. Cage, the housekeeper, desperately tries to keep her Nazi-sympathies hidden, and Evangeline Nettlefold's ambivalent relationship with her school friend Wallis Simpson threatens to become explosive.

Secrecy, tensions between parent and child, the private tussles of life, and the dilemma of whether or not duty supersedes love, reverberate throughout Abdication, in matters of social conscience, politics, and romance.

A glorious story that brings to mind the film The King's Speech, as well as the beloved English novels Brideshead Revisited and The Remains of the Day, Abdication is a breathtaking story inspired by a love affair that shook the world at a time when the world was on the brink of war.

reviews
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        March 26, 2012
        Set in England in 1936, historian Nicolson’s debut novel explores the tumultuous love lives of two couples, set against the backdrop of a world bracing for another global conflict while still recovering from WWI. Prince of Wales Edward and American divorcée Wallis Simpson are entangled in a scandalous (real-life) love affair whose secrecy they try desperately to maintain, a challenge made all the more difficult after Edward’s ascension as king and concomitant thrust to the forefront of the public stage. Meanwhile, May Thomas, a chauffeur staying with Jewish relatives, falls in love with political Oxford undergraduate Julian Richardson, whose restlessness threatens their relationship. As if navigating an illicit royal love affair weren’t enough, Edward and Wallis’s situation becomes further complicated when Wallis’s childhood friend—the overweight “virgo intacta” Evangeline Nettlefold—shows up and her long-held resentments threaten to undo the monarchy. Though richly detailed and set in a dynamic time and place, the novel revolves primarily around the uninteresting and unlikable Evangeline, leaving the truly interesting characters of Edward and Wallis to wait in the wings. Agent: William Clark, William Clark Associates.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        April 1, 2012
        In historian Nicolson's (The Perfect Summer, 2005, etc.) 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. Of course, Wallis Simpson plays a role. All this drama, plus a glimpse of Oswald Mosley and Germany's burgeoning anti-Semitism, is seen through the eyes of May Thomas, a young woman raised on a decrepit Barbados sugar plantation. To make her way in the world, and to escape an abusive father, May sails to England with her brother, Samuel. In London's East End, the siblings are welcomed by a cousin, Nat, now married into a family of Jewish tailors. Sam plans to volunteer for the Royal Navy, but May needs a job. She soon secures employment as a combination chauffeuse-secretary to Sir Philip Blunt, a man intrigued both by her femininity and her familiarity with bookkeeping and Rolls-Royces, skills learned on the sugar plantation. It happens Sir Philip is deeply embedded in the government's attempt to cope with the romance of the new king and Simpson. 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. The author's grandfather, Harold Nicolson, was an English author and politician during the era. With promise of a sequel lurking in the conclusion, the novel is a period drama ready to be adapted by the BBC and rerun on PBS.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from May 1, 2012

        This story never gets old: the besotted king, his cool American divorcee, the scheming politicians, and a compliant press keeping a nation in the dark. In this new version, Edward and Wallis are merely supporting players to the two main stars of the show: Evangeline Nettlefold, the maladroit schoolgirl chum of Wallis, and May Thomas, a clever and ambitious recent arrival from Barbados. These two cross paths when May is hired on as a chauffeur and aide to Sir Philip Blunt, a government minister, at the same time that Evangeline arrives in England at the invitation of Wallis and takes up residence in Sir Philip's household. Famous literary and political figures dot the narrative, which plays out against a backdrop of the Fascist rise to power in Europe and the fringe fascination in England with Nazi sympathizer Oswald Mosley. VERDICT Anyone requiring a post-Downton Abbey fix could do worse than this beguiling, Thirties-era, class-conscious soap opera, written by the granddaughter of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. Enthusiastically recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 4/28/11.]--Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

popularity
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"Goodness, Abdication really is good. I'm in awe of Juliet's ability" (Jessica Fellowes, New York Times bestselling author of The World of Downton Abbey).
England, 1936.

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...
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      • description: Fiction / Literary