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Summary

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 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.

©2012 Juliet Nicolson  (P)2014 Audible Inc.

Critic reviews

“Goodness, Abdication really is good. I’m in awe of Juliet’s ability.” (Jessica Fellowes, New York Times best-selling author of The World of Downton Abbey)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely Listening, Eventually!

A bit if a slow start, I found, but once the story got going I really enjoyed this book. The early chapters are of course necessary to set the scene, but a little depressing. However, I did get a happy ending and overall this book is worth its 5 stars. Carol Boyd is her usual excellent self as the reader.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Not quite as advertised

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

Although titled Abdication, this is a rather minor part of the story. It mostly concerns various staff, family and friends of the King and Mrs Simpson. I had hoped top be better informed as to the reasons and detailed background of the abdication itself. This was only a fairly minor part of the whole.

What does Carole Boyd bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Carole Boyd narrates the story perfectly and I enjoyed listening to her throughout.

Any additional comments?

If you want an 'above and below stairs' story of life among the different classes and people involved at the time of he abdication, then this will provide it.

If you wish to understand the background to the abdication... then look elsewhere.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I love Carol Boyd's narrative style as reader

and now I love this story too. I found the characters very real and engaging.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good story , clumsily written

Having loved ‘A House Full of Daughters’ by this author, I eagerly started ‘Abdication.’ I enjoyed the plot but the writing felt like the stilted attempts of a teenager attempting novel writing for the first time and trying to include as many adjectives, adverbs and subordinate clauses as they can. Historical detail and love scenes were included with equal awkwardness.
The narrator has a beautiful voice for narration and did her best with the stilted sentences but it was an uphill struggle and, given that recordings of Edward VIII ‘s voice are so well known, her attempt at his accent was poor.
All in all, a disappointing listen.