Gone with the Windsors

Gone with the Windsors

4.1 7
by Laurie Graham
     
 

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When Maybell Brumby, frisky, wealthy, and recently widowed, quits Baltimore and arrives in London, she finds that her old school chum, Bessie Wallis Warfield, is there ahead of her. Impoverished and ambitious as ever, Wallis is on the make. Hampered by plodding husband number two, but armed with terrific bone structure and a few erotic tricks picked up in China,

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Overview

When Maybell Brumby, frisky, wealthy, and recently widowed, quits Baltimore and arrives in London, she finds that her old school chum, Bessie Wallis Warfield, is there ahead of her. Impoverished and ambitious as ever, Wallis is on the make. Hampered by plodding husband number two, but armed with terrific bone structure and a few erotic tricks picked up in China, Wallis sets her sights on the most eligible bachelor in the world: the Prince of Wales, heir to the throne. Maybell, with her deep pockets, makes the perfect ally, and her disarming dimness makes her the most delicious chronicler of the scandal that rocked a monarchy and changed the course of history.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The diary entries of shallow and oblivious Baltimore socialite Maybell Brumby comprise Graham's fourth novel, which explores the fictional lives of intimates involved in the 1936 abdication of King Edward VIII. Maybell, widowed by her older husband, leaves for London in 1932 to join her sister Violet and falls in with her school friend Bessie Wallis "Wally" Simpson, the married woman (twice, in fact) who has set her sights on the then Prince of Wales. Through Maybell's American patricianism, Graham (The Future Homemakers of America) skewers the tedious royal family and their aristocratic hangers-on. Maybell's self-absorption and dim-wittedness make her endearing at odd moments (as when she learns that her other sister, "Doopie," is deaf rather than mentally handicapped); her chatty tone is grating when the action-primarily Wally's plotting, conquest and royal assumption-slows. Graham depicts the abdication as a kind of bedroom farce and uses Maybell's ignorance to add ambiguity to the controversial relationship of the duke (as he is known after abdication) and Wally to the Nazi regime. As WWII becomes imminent, the leisured friends must make a run for it, and the partings are not all amicable. This light romp through sordid territory is sly, gossipy fun. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Wealthy (and young) Baltimore widow Maybell Brumby travels to London in 1932 with plans to make her mark in society. Let her sister Violet socialize with the Bertie Yorks-Maybell can do better. Old friend Wallis Simpson is in town, and as always, Wally has plans. And with Maybell to pick up the tab for her old schoolmate, the ambitious Mrs. Simpson is assured of the clothes and jewels she'll need for weekends in the country with her new friend, Thelma, Prince Edward's mistress. Taking the form of a diary written by the observant yet completely clueless Maybell, Gone is a real treat for anglophiles. Graham (The Future Homemakers of America) has written a witty and insightful historical novel and even manages to make the brainless and superficial Maybell likable. Familiarity with the story of the abdication of Edward VIII and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor will certainly help the reader get all the inside references and humor, though the novel can be enjoyed without it. Recommended for popular fiction collections in public libraries.-Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A satirical recounting of the romance between Wallis Simpson and the Prince of Wales, as narrated by a fictional witness to the affair. Because Maybell Brumby is not quite a sympathetic cross between Lady Bricknell and Auntie Mame-in fact, her one redeeming trait is her genuine affection for her niece and nephew-she is the perfect foil for the conniving Mrs. Simpson. A silly and frivolous widow of means who consistently misinterprets the words and actions of those around her, Maybell arrives in London in 1932 to visit her sisters, attracted in part by news that her childhood playmate "Wally" has shown up with a new husband. Maybell lends money, jewelry and furs as the money-strapped but ambitious Wally Simpson makes her way into society despite a dubious past. Maybell's diary of the next decade follows Wally's manipulations as she rises from nobody to hanger-on to prince's mistress to Duchess of Windsor. The purposely inane diary goes on too long with who wore what where, but it is studded with moments of genuinely funny idiocy: Maybell calls Harrods "Harrold's" throughout; mistakes Cole Porter for a coal porter; gets comically seasick on the Guinness yacht. More seriously, she does not realize that her younger sister is deaf, not retarded. And Hitler seems quite the fellow to Maybell until actual war breaks out. No judge of character, Maybell abets Wally as she pursues the prince, who everybody but Maybell recognizes is a simpleton unsuited to the throne. While Maybell is foolish but endearing, Wally is conniving, vicious, money-grubbing and power-hungry-also a slut and gambler. According to Graham (Future Homemakers of America, 2002), Wally is out-maneuvered by the Royals whenher lover is forced off the throne and out of a large portion of his inheritance. In the end, Wally uses up even Maybell's patience. Best read in spurts, since the overabundance of entries diffuses the addictively catty fun.
USA Today
“Delightful...If you like P.G. Wodehouse - or if British royalty is your cup of ... tea - go with the Windsors

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061842931
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/13/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
432
Sales rank:
338,973
File size:
0 MB

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