The novel, published by Sarah Branham of Atria in the United States, received a starred Kirkus review:
This story never gets old: the besotted king, his cool American divorcée, the scheming politicians, and a compliant press keeping a nation in the dark. In this new version. Edward and Wallis are merely supporting players to the two main stars of the show: Evangeline Nettlefold, the maladroit schoolgirl chum of Wallis, and May Thomas, a clever and ambitious recent arrival from Barbados. These two cross paths when May is hired on as a chauffeur and aide to Sir Philip Blunt, a government minister, at the same time that Evangeline arrives in England at the invitation of Wallis and takes up residence in Sir Philip’s household. Famous literary and political figures dot the narrative, which plays out against a backdrop of the Fascist rise to power in Europe and the fringe fascination in England with Nazi sympathizer Oswald Mosley. VERDlCT Anyone requiring a post— Downton Abbey fix could do worse than this beguiling, Thirties-era, class-conscious soap opera, written by the granddaughter of Harold Nicolson and Vita Sackville-West. Enthusiastically recommended.
Elegantly poignant … Nicolson has an eye for prescient anecdotes.
Ruth Scurr, The Times on THE PERFECT SUMMER: Dancing Into Shadow in 1911
Sweeps across voices and classes to assemble a mosaic of sunlit impressions.
An accomplished and engaging piece of social history.
This is a peach of a book. It is full of good things, elegant and often funny. A cleverly crafted story of the hot, frenetic summer of 1911 which works because of the sparkling writing.
Jane Ridley, Literary Review
Abdication beautifully evokes the troubled thirties, with its high-stakes politics, easy money and social tensions. Juliet Nicolson is an outstanding historian who brings the full panoply of her talent and research to the task of recreating the abdication crisis and its effect on Britain. This is a wonderful novel.
Anyone interested in the 1930’s will revel in this richly detailed slant on the abdication crisis.
With her keen eye for historical detail and intimate knowledge of England’s social mores, Juliet Nicolson weaves a juicy and evocative tale of lives caught in the midst of one of Britain’s great modern dramas, the abdication of King Edward VIII.
A vivid reimagining … a thoroughly absorbing novel. Juliet Nicolson combines a historian’s deep knowledge and eye for telling detail with a keen sense of drama, a dash of romance, and an understanding of the complex motivations of human nature.
Sally Bedell Smith