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Mar. 21st, 2018


[info]katara

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Title: Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy
Author: Andrew Morton
Format: Epub
Rating: 3.25/5
Status: Finished
Reading Date: March 17, 2018 to March 21, 2018
Book Summary: For fans of the Netflix series The Crown and from the author of the New York Times bestseller 17 Carnations comes a captivating biography of Wallis Simpson, the notorious woman for whom Edward VIII gave up the throne.

"You have no idea how hard it is to live out a great romance." -Wallis Simpson

Before she became known as the woman who enticed a king from his throne and birthright, Bessie Wallis Warfield was a prudish and particular girl from Baltimore. At turns imaginative, ambitious, and spoiled, Wallis's first words as recalled by her family were "me, me." From that young age, she was in want of nothing but stability, status, and social acceptance as she fought to climb the social ladder and take her place in London society. As irony would have it, she would gain the love and devotion of a king, but only at the cost of his throne and her reputation.
In WALLIS IN LOVE, acclaimed biographer Andrew Morton offers a fresh portrait of Wallis Simpson in all her vibrancy and brazenness as she transformed from a hard-nosed gold-digger to charming chatelaine. Using diary entries, letters, and other never-before-seen records, Morton takes us through Wallis's romantic adventures in Washington, China, and her entrance into the strange wonderland that is London society. During her journey, we meet an extraordinary array of characters, many of whom smoothed the way for her dalliance with the king of England, Edward VIII.
WALLIS IN LOVE goes beyond Wallis's infamous persona and reveals a complex, domineering woman striving to determine her own fate and grapple with matters of the heart.
Book Review: This book has been marketed as an untold story of the Duchess of Windsor, yet most of the information glossed within these pages have been discussed many times in the past in several other novels based on Wallis. There is a bit of new information brought to light but most of this seems to repute some of the stories the Duchess has told in her autobiography.

Wallis Simpson was labeled one of the most hated women. To the people of Britain, she was seen as a temptress whom had made one of their beloved members of the royal family abdicate from the throne. Others may look back at her with relief and gratitude for luring away a king whom could have been a puppet to Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

Born to parents Alice and Teackle Warfield, Bessie Wallis Warfield was born on June 19th, 1896. In November of that same year, her father, Teackle, died of tuberculosis, leaving her both she and her mother had to rely on the generosity of Uncle Sol. Although he would be the one funding her education and her coming out parties, he was also extremely tight when it came to money.

In school, Wallis was the subject of many girlhood passions. Here she fell in love with two teachers and many of her classmates and would often send them letters calling them "beautiful little partridges." Did this mean Wallis had some lesbian tendencies? There really is no evidence that supports she enacted on any of these crushes. Perhaps they were merely crushes she felt and nothing more. After all, every young woman may go through a stage in her life where the same sex may be a bit more appealing and in Wallis' case, she was a in a school for young women and really had no interaction with young men unless there was a school dance.

Wallis's first marriage to Win Spencer was neither consummated nor was it a happy one. In fact, her mother was very much against it in the beginning but in the end, Wallis ignored her mother's wishes. Ultimately the Spencer marriage broke down due to Win's excessive drinking and sadist behavior. Wallis went to live with her friend, Katherine, and her husband Herman Rogers. There was a rumor that the three of them were involved in a ménage à trois but there is no real evidence of this. Although Herman may have been of a love of Wallis' life, there was another one. A young gentleman by the name of Felipe Espil whom held her heart more than Herman had. Unfortunately Wallis' temper and jealousy drove Felipe away.

When Wallis moved to London, she married Ernest Simpson. Much like with her first marriage and her relationships with both Herman and Felipe, there is no evidence this marriage was consummated as well. It was during this time that she met Thelma and the two women became friends. When the relationship between Thelma and Edward, the Prince of Wales, ended, Wallis stepped in to take up where Thelma left off and thus would be the beginning of the end of Edward's reign.

I am sorry but part of me doesn't believe that Wallis died a virgin. I cannot see a woman whom lived in an age where sex was freely used as a climbing tool up the social ladder. Although Wallis did not entirely come from poverty, she found that she could not entirely rely on her Uncle Sol and her Aunt Bessie. She knew she had to find some way to keep herself living in comfort and the only way for that is to find a lover that could give her all that. It doesn't seem Wallis married for love but more for a social standing. She saw that in her first marriage as she began to climb that social ladder and she has said in the past that she wanted to be part of the social circle that had the richest people.

Of course Wallis was also looking for love and when she found it, she didn't seem to know what really to do with it. She drove those whom she loved with her heart away such as Felipe and Herman, well, whether they had a sexual relationship isn't really known or told and certainly no one is going to come clean with the truth.

I love Andrew Morton. I read his book on Princess Diana when it came out in the 90s and it has always been one of my favorite books since then. This one really reveals nothing new and only speculates on that Wallis may have not consummated any of her relationships but there is still no proof on that whatsoever.

Does this book change my thoughts on Wallis? No, no it doesn't. I will continue to see her as the woman whom changed the monarch. Is this good or bad? It may be in the good region seeing as she kept Edward off the throne. Things in Britain may have been quite different if he remained on the throne with Adolf Hitler coming into power. Britain may have become a puppet to the Nazi regime.