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Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor Reviews

Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor by Anna Pasternak

Untitled: The Real Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

Anna Pasternak

2.50 out of 5

4 reviews

Imprint: William Collins
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 18 Feb 2019
ISBN: 9780008297299

Who was the real Wallis: an opportunistic American social climber, a master manipulator or the true love of Edward's life? Amid the cacophony of condemnation her story has become obfuscated. Untitled is an intimate biography of one of the most misunderstood women in British royal history.

1 stars out of 5
Simon Heffer
5 Mar 2019

"The best thing about this book is its title"

Apart from the occasional bursts of Mills & Boon style, various verbless sentences and the odd wild supposition, the other irritant in Untitled is, ironically, Pasternak’s random grasp of the correct use of British titles. One wonders how Lady Cunard would react to seeing herself described as “Lady Emerald Cunard”; Walter Monckton acquires his knighthood several months early, and Lord Louis Mountbatten becomes “Lord Mountbatten” a decade before he actually did. These things mattered to the people Pasternak has chosen to write about, and it suggests less of a grasp of their world than might be desired.


3 stars out of 5
3 Mar 2019

"Pasternak makes a fair case in arguing how hard Wallis tried to give up Edward"

Pasternak makes a fair case in arguing how hard Wallis tried to give up Edward as his determination to marry her, even if it meant abdicating the throne, became apparent... However much Pasternak describes the couple’s devotion to one another (apart from Wallis’s fling with the ghastly American heir Jimmy Donahue in the 1950s), it is generally impossible to raise a bat squeak of sympathy for their plight when one reads of the 186 trunks and 80 further items of luggage they took on honeymoon with them. 

4 stars out of 5

"A new biography paints Edward VIII’s wife as a tragic figure unfairly vilified by the royal family"

What makes the book unputdownable is Pasternak’s lively and detailed (and thankfully not Mills & Boonsy) retelling of this ever-fascinating, ridiculously poignant love story. The happily married Simpsons met Edward in 1932 through their friend Thelma Furness, and they invited him to dinner at their mansion flat in Bryanston Court in London. Edward invited them back for a weekend at his house, Fort Belvedere, in Surrey.

2 stars out of 5
Dani Garavelli
2 Mar 2019

"Her portrayal of the courtship is insightful, if not original"

Pasternak's attempt at promoting the Duchess of Windsor as a woman of depth also falls flat. Having followed her through dinner parties at the home she shared with Ernest, at the Duke's country retreat, Belvedere Fort, and later in the Bahamas, where Edward was governor, the most you could say was that she was a consummate hostess and the Duke such a besotted, needy man-child it's a wonder she could tolerate him at all.