The Real Wallis Simpson

A New History of the American Divorcee Who Became the Duchess of Windsor
Narrated by: Laura Kirman
Length: 11 hrs and 37 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (51 ratings)

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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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  • Overall
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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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...

3 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.

1 person 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.

1 person 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

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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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So many sides to the story

I enjoyed this book very much it was an interesting point of view. I thought it was well researched and the performance of the narrator very good. Just when you thought you knew everything about the story after watching YouTube videos and documentaries this was a different way to look at Wallis and Edward and my conclusion after listening all the way through was that there were no winners in any of this no one would give an inch not the royal family not Edward not Wallace and in the end it really was so much sadness I believe they did have a great love healthy probably not but devoted to each other.

Everybody wanted their own way and all this if someone anyone had just given an inch much of the problems everyone’s stubbornness created could’ve been avoided. They were truly no winners at the end and history was irrevocably changed

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Wonderfully researched book!!!

Absolutely delightful book! Well written and over all just enjoyable. I've read several books about Wallis but there were many facts I was unaware of. Get it! You won't regret it!!