27 July 2020

The Woman Before Wallis - Book Review

The Woman Before Wallis: A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and Royal Scandal by Bryn Turnbull
Publication date: July  21, 2020
Pages: 400 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars ✰✰✰✰
Strengths: Historical plot, multiple characters of real people
Weaknesses: Lots of detail (see above? LOL)

I'll admit I read a bit before starting this book to make sense of the title. Essentially, this book is mostly about Thelma Morgan's life. Thelma was the girlfriend of The Prince of Wales for several years, until he started dating Wallis Simpson (which was the basis for some of my confusion - I didn't know this story before, and Wallis was a woman). So we read a lot about Thelma, her relationship with the Prince, and her twin sister Gloria.

When a historical fiction book sends me to doing further research on the characters, I know it's good. I was definitely searching and reading other articles about Thelma Morgan, Duke Furness, Gloria Vanderbilt and Wallis Simpson by the time I was half way through this book. The author of The Woman Before Wallis says she moved a few dates to help the story flow, but the essence of the story was the way things really happened.

I was fascinated to learn more about a family and time I'd heard little about before. It was easy to feel understanding toward the Morgan twins and the choices they made. The overlap between the rich and powerful Vanderbilts and the English royal family was interesting.

Overall, I'd give this book 4 out of 5 stars. Sometimes I forget how much I generally enjoy historical fiction. This book was a great reminder.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my copy of this book. Receiving the book for free did not influence my opinions.


Liz Parker said...

I had a feeling this was somehow connected to Wallis Simpson when I saw the title. Interesting!

Gilion at Rose City Reader said...

I love the sound of this one! I've never heard of a girlfriend before Wallis Simpson.