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Publisher's Summary

Wallis Simpson is known as the woman at the center of the most scandalous love affair of the 20th century, but in this “unputdownable...lively and detailed” (The Times, London) biography, discover a woman wronged by history with new information revealed by the latest research those who were close to the couple. 

The story that has been told repeatedly is this: The handsome, charismatic, and popular Prince Edward was expected to marry a well-bred virgin who would one day become queen of England when he ascended the throne. But when the prince was nearly 40, he fell in love with a divorced American woman - Wallis Simpson. No one thought the relationship would last, and when the prince did become king, everyone assumed that was the end of the affair. But to the shock of the British establishment, the new king announced his intention to marry the American divorcée.  

Overnight, Wallis was accused of entrapping the prince in a seductive web in order to achieve her audacious ambition to be queen. After declaring that he could not rule without the woman he loved, the king abdicated, and his family banished him and his new wife from the country. The couple spent the rest of their days in exile, but happy in their devoted love for each other. 

Now, Anna Pasternak’s The American Dutchess tells a different story: that Wallis was the victim of the abdication, not the villain. Warm, well-mannered, and witty, Wallis was flattered by Prince Edward’s attention, but like everyone else, she never expected his infatuation to last. She never anticipated his jealous, possessive nature - and his absolute refusal to let her go. Edward’s true dark nature, however, was no secret to the royal family, the church, or the Parliament; everyone close to Edward knew that beyond his charming façade, he was utterly unfit to rule. Caught in Edward’s fierce obsession, she became the perfect scapegoat for those who wished to dethrone the troubled king. With profound insight and evenhanded research, Pasternak pulls back the curtain on one of the darkest fairy tales in recent memory and effortlessly reveals “[A] host of intriguing insights into a misunderstood woman” (Kirkus Reviews). 

©2019 Anna Pasternak (P)2019 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about The Real Wallis Simpson

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worst narrator ever

I hate to write negative reviews but I cannot let it pass that this narrator continuously dropped sentences in the middle often skewing the emphasis or meaning and certainly losing the flow. It was great to hear a positive side of wallis simpson and get insight into her historical impact, but honestly the narrator ruined it for me...

8 people found this helpful

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Interesting Perspective

WE were definitely codependent, needed therapy, and a twelve-step program. The Duchess’s actions spoke louder than her words regardless of this authors attempt to state otherwise. Awkward syntax at times.

7 people found this helpful

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Too simpering

I wanted to learn more about Wallis but I found this biography almost simpering in its description of Wallis. The author almost treated Wallis like a victimized angel. I understand the goal was to teach people about the real Wallis but it almost went too far. Reading this book, one might believe that Wallis did nothing wrong in her life ever.

5 people found this helpful

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Ruined by narrator

Sounds like someone dredging through a boring book. Poor emphasis, misplaced pauses, monotone. Too bad.

4 people found this helpful

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fresh interpretation

loved this recounting of the familiar story. the research brought new light on aspects I had not considered. narration was well done also

2 people found this helpful

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Finally, an honest telling of this poor woman’s impossible situation

I’ve read a fair few accounts of the lives of duke and duchess and this one rings the most genuine. It’s neither fawning or scathing. The telling is...rueful, injecting Wallis’s devil may care humor in the face of terrifying circumstances. She was a woman, raised during a time when women had basically ZERO rights or prospects, outside of marrying well. I find it most odd that history has treated her so harshly, especially in modern times. Those who scorn the duke and duchess as vapid, shallow, grasping/selfish...should take a hard look at the times in which this all transpired. Were they really those things? Especially considering the spiteful way they were treated by the duke’s entire family? This book has made me frankly disgusted with the British monarchy, and it’s past time the entire institution goes the way of the dodo. To the author of this account, thank you for not whitewashing Wallis’s faults, but for showing how utterly human she was.

1 person found this helpful

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Beautiful profile of a complex woman

This is a fascinating, sympathetic account of a complex, multi-faceted woman and her devoted husband who found themselves in an impossible situation. The author tells the story artfully through excerpts from the memoirs and letters written by the Duke and Duchess themselves, as well as by people who knew them personally. The epilogue moved me to tears.

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Excellent read

I enjoyed this book immensely and learned so much about her and her relationship with Edward

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Excellent

Love the story and everything royal! A must read. You will see the real inside story.

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Yawn

Nothing new here but the story is read quite nicely. Good book to fall asleep to.😊