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Gone With the Windsors Paperback – 3 Jul 2006

4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (3 July 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007146760
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007146765
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 224,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Amazon Review

Scarlett O’Hara she may not have been, but according to this hilarious (and fictional!) account of Wallis Simpson’s rise and fall, there was more than a passing resemblance between the two irrepressible shrews. Apart from sharing a penchant for the seemingly unattainable (usually male) and a certain knack for making do in times of adversity, both had an uncanny ability to drive their nearest and dearest to hell and back.

Laurie Graham is back on top form with this diary of Maybell Brumby, Baltimore belle and hideously rich widow, as she travels to London in 1932 to visit sister Violet, married into the royalty-serving aristocracy. Bumping into old school-friend Wally and her second, somewhat dull husband Ernest, Maybell begins a roller-coaster journey from generous friend to unofficial lady in waiting.

Life is a whirl of lunches, suppers, house parties, shopping and names. Who went where, what they wore, what they said, what they ate. Just when you think you can’t take anymore of the endless frivolity, Maybell’s diary takes on a darker edge, as the portents of doom come home to roost.

Graham’s remarkable skill of laying bare the psyches of Americans and Brits is never more evident. Here, the gauche and vulgar new world collides amusingly, and then dangerously, with the emotionally stunted, boorish nobility, who--to Maybell’s disbelief--apparently prefer dodgy plumbing, surly staff and under-heated homes. Pithy one-liners, scattered liberally, lift the whole sorry debacle and make it not just entertaining, but insightful.

Wally herself leaps out of these pages, initially as a sadly insecure social climber desperate for acceptance and later as a blue-print for the wicked witch of the west. The royal lap-dog follows her devotedly, begging for crumbs of affection, but it is the supporting cast, as always with Laurie Graham, that makes the difference.

It is left to one of these to sum up. In response to Maybell’s comment that: "It’s a pity a sweet little king like David can’t be allowed to marry the woman he loves", a rather more cynical friend of Wally’s says: "If you ask me the real pity is that he doesn’t love a better woman". Oh, how times have changed. Or not? ---Carey Green --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

'Told in the breathless style of Anita Loos's “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes”, but with the waspish humour of Nancy Mitford, the novel captures the mood of the era with near-flawless accuracy.' The Times

‘As fresh and tangy as Wally's favourite dinner party dessert, strawberry sherbet. Maybell Brumby is a wonderfully sassy creation.' Sunday Times

'The story of Edward, Mrs Simpson and the abdication crisis might be familiar enough. Graham's gift is imagining the details.' Daily Mail

‘Refreshing, honest and very funny. It’s the best kind of popular women’s fiction – enjoyable without being thoughtless, smart without being superficial.’ The Scotsman

‘As fascinating for what it says about the interwar traffic between British and American high society as the ensuing scandal at court.’ Emma Hagestadt, Independent

‘The story is an absolute pleasure to read from start to finish. By infusing her sharp satire and meticulous social observation with a certain sweetness, Laurie Graham proves herself a master of showing without ever needing to tell.' Kate Riordan, Time Out

‘A vivid, creative storyteller.’ Judith Flanders, Times Literary Supplement

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