Monday, 30 July 2012

Book Review

Abdication by Juliet Nicolson

I think that it is clear from the (rare!) book reviews I write that I like historical fiction, and especially those set in the first half of the twentieth century.

I was very much looking forward to reading this one as it ticked all of my boxes - family saga, intense historical setting and written by an expert.

In the main I wasn't disappointed, the story-lines of the fictional characters wove pretty seamlessly with the 'real' characters and the descriptions of people and places made the book really live in my imagination.

Whilst the book is called Abdication in many ways that is a minor, and almost dull, strand in the narrative. The portrayal of David and Wallis was verging on the unsympathetic a lot of the time and Nicolson makes it very clear that had he become King history would have taken a very different line.

The strand of the story that I liked the most was the portrayal of the Jewish East End, Mosley and the Black Shirts are often glossed over in fiction (and history) books but here the fear and contempt comes shining through, as well as the reminder that ordinary people did support the British Union of Fascists.

I had worked out that there was a twist to May's own story but cleverly Nicolson still managed to surprise me with the full story.

My only vague criticism with the book is that it felt almost too visual at times it felt like a screen play complete with stage directions.  It would make a great television but for me it felt a little too written with that in mind.  This is a very minor complaint however and this is a book I can whole heartedly recommend.

The copy I read was an advance reading copy thanks to Net Galley.

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