From Amazon - The year began with the death of a beloved king and the ascension of a charismatic young monarch, sympathetic to the needs of the working class, glamorous and single. By year’s end, the world would be stunned as it witnessed that new leader give up his throne in the name of love, just as the unrest and violence that would result in a Second World War were becoming impossible to ignore.
During the tumultuous intervening months, amidst the whirl of social and political upheaval, wise-beyond-her-nineteen-years May Thomas will take the first, faltering steps toward creating a new life for herself. Just disembarked at Liverpool after a long journey from her home on a struggling sugar plantation in Barbados, she secures a position as secretary and driver to Sir Philip Blunt, a job that will open her eyes to the activities of the uppermost echelons of British society, and her heart to a man seemingly beyond her reach.
Abdication is historical fiction that takes awhile to get going, but that's usual for setting the scene and the tone of the novel, introducing characters and whatnot. I wanted to love this novel, but unfortunately, I didn't. The abdication of the king takes a backseat to May Thomas and Evangeline Nettlefold, one a close friend of Wallace Simpson and the other a chauffer to Sir Philip Blunt. Their secrets, romances and resentment toward one another grows throughout the year that the novel spans. Although the details seem to be intricately wrought and obviously Nicolson has done tons of research, I found the novel lacking in depth - namely character. I just didn't find that connection from reader to character and it pained me as I kept turning the pages, desperately seeking it. Although I would give this novel three stars, as it does have tons of history embedded within and the writing is top-notch, I felt that I let the author down not finding that connection - or likewise. Some may find that connection and if you love historical fiction - pick this one up. You may find what I couldn't.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.