Read advance reader review of The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Woman Before Wallis

A Novel of Windsors, Vanderbilts, and Royal Scandal

by Bryn Turnbull

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull X
The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull
Buy This Book

About this book

Reviews


Page 1 of 7
There are currently 45 member reviews
for The Woman Before Wallis
Order Reviews by:
  • Linda H. (New Albany, IN)
    The Woman Before Wallis
    This book was very enjoyable, as well as educational.
    Apparently the Prince of Wales was involved with a friend of Wallis Simpson not long before he began his relationship with her (who knew)?. A wealth of information about Thelma Morgan and her sister Gloria Vanderbilt was a fascinating backdrop to the story. Thelma was the Prince's love interest prior to Wallis. The famous custody battle over "Little Gloria," Gloria Vanderbilt's daughter, also plays an integral role in this book. The ambience of the 2930's and 40's is palpable, allowing one to be fully immersed in the lives and times of Thelma and Gloria.
    Thoroughly an enjoyable read.
    #Bookbrowse kindly provided an ARC of #The Woman Before Wallis in exchange for an honest review.
  • Jean L. (Omaha, NE)
    Exorbitant Extravagance
    Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull is a well researched book of historical fiction. The time period of this story occurs after World War I and through the decade of the 1930s. It's focus presents a lifestyle of the rich and famous both in the United States and in England.

    Thelma Morgan Furness is the women before Wallis. Though married to Viscount Duke Furness, she becomes involved in a four year affair with Edward, Prince of Wales. When Thelma's sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt goes to court in the United States to gain custody of her daughter, Gloria Vanderbilt, Thelma leaves England and the Prince to give her support. This opens the door for Wallis Simpson to take Thelma's place in the arms of Edward.

    The scandal reveal in the court proceedings and the power of the Crown revealed during the trial makes for interesting reading.

    I enjoyed the reading of this book. Historical fiction provides the reader with new insights to past history
  • Sharon R. (Deerfield, IL)
    Royal Scandal
    This is a marvelous depiction of the years leading up to Prince Edward's abdication of the throne. The amount of detail the author brings to her scenes is a remarkable achievement in itself. You feel you are in the drawing rooms, the Clubs, even in the forest surrounding the Fort watching the Prince cutting down trees. I also enjoyed the attention to the fashion of the times and how it changed significantly during the era.
    Throughout the book I was also struck by the prevailing sadness. Even as they enjoyed their dinner parties and soirees, their gaiety was enhanced by alcohol and cigarettes.
    When I finished the last page I couldn't help but think of our current fascination with the royals, especially Prince Harry as he has also walked away from his royal duties for the love of his life. The similarities are certainly there.
  • Mary S. (Bow, NH)
    Historical fiction at it's most fun
    Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and The Woman Before Wallis did not disappoint this reader. It is based on the adult lives of Morgan twin sisters. One sister you've probably heard of: Gloria Vanderbilt, wife of Reggie Vanderbilt and mother of Gloria Vanderbilt, the famous designer. The second and lesser known sister, Thelma, is the focus of the book as she was the lover of the Prince of Wales for many years before Wallis Simpson. In fact she introduced Wallis to the Prince.

    It is a whirlwind of a story, full people with incredible wealth - even during the Depression - and the trappings that the wealth brings. It is dialogue that kept me enthralled, however. The author does a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life. And, somehow she makes some of the most incredibly privileged people seem sympathetic - a true wordsmith!

    If you're looking for a interesting story based on true events, look no further. I know you'll enjoy this one.
  • Leah L. (Lawrence, NY)
    Lots to discuss here
    This review has several well known sayings because they are all relevant.

    First -- Truth is stranger than fiction. Bryn Turnbull's debut novel is an engrossing piece of historical fiction that proves this adage true.

    When I was growing up, my late mother talked about Edward, Prince of Wales, who chose the American divorcee Wallis Simpson. By doing so, he thereby gave up his rights to the Throne of England. Yet I had never heard of the woman before Simpson, Thelma Morgan, the sister of Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt. Thelma's husband Viscount Duke Furness introduced her to Edward and an affair ensured. Thelma traveled (via ship) to New York to support her sister through her well publicized divorce and custody trial. Before she set sail, she asked her trusted friend Wallis to take care of Edward. I wondered how history would have been different had Wallis not taken such good care of Edward. The rest is history. Cherchez la femme, as the French say.

    Thelma and Gloria are the proverbial "poor little rich girls." There's glamour, fame, wealth but not much else. Both love and lose big time.

    This sliver of juicy history occurs in a time period when journalism was about newspapers, photographers and radio. Imagine today's paparazzi feasting on these characters and their stories. There'd be many more applicable adages.
  • Jeanne W. (Colorado Springs, CO)
    A Great Backstory to a Major Moment in History
    This book picked me up and set me down in the 1930s. Clothing, cars, nightclubbing all felt so authentic. I've never been a member of British high-society, but I am still appalled by how they "raised" their children. In his first 6 months, I don't think baby Tony saw his parents more than a handful of times. This is my favorite kind of historical fiction; the kind that seems so real that you have to research to find out how much is true. Answer: a lot! I do feel that the first 3/4 of the book rolled out in a leisurely manner, but the last 1/4 sped by skimming over a lot of the details. I want to know how Thelma's break-up with David happened, and how Wallis further slithered her way into his life and Thelma's reaction to it.
  • Sarah B. (Streamwood, IL)
    Enjoyable
    I enjoyed this immensely. I had never heard of Thelma Morgan, but I had heard of most of the other players. Both Gloria Vanderbilts and the case surrounding little Gloria; David and Wallis, but never that Thelma was there first and that David was so into married women.
    This is perfect for anyone that loves royals, history and the feeling of celebrity tabloid stories.

Readalikes

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel
    Kristin Harmel's historical novel The Forest of Vanishing Stars was very well-received by our First ...
  • Book Jacket: African Europeans
    African Europeans
    by Olivette Otele
    The nexus of Africans and Europeans is not a recent historical development. Rather, the peoples of ...
  • Book Jacket: The Killing Hills
    The Killing Hills
    by Chris Offutt
    The personified hills of the novel's title foreshadow the mood of this brooding and ominous tale. ...
  • Book Jacket: The Vixen
    The Vixen
    by Francine Prose
    Recent Harvard graduate Simon Putnam has been rejected from grad school and has thus returned to his...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
All the Little Hopes
by Leah Weiss
A Southern story of friendship forged by books and bees, in the murky shadows of World War II.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Forest of Vanishing Stars
    by Kristin Harmel

    An evocative coming-of-age World War II story from the author of The Book of Lost Names.

  • Book Jacket

    The Temple House Vanishing
    by Rachel Donohue

    A modern gothic page-turner set in a Victorian mansion in Ireland.

Win This Book!
Win Gordo

Gordo by Jaime Cortez

"Dark and hilarious ... singular and soaring ... Hands down, top debut of 2021."—Literary Hub

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

N Say N

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.