Thanks to Tropical Storm Debby, I was able to finish 2 books this weekend.
First was That Woman, a new biography of Wallis Simpson by Anne Sebba. My knowledge of the story of Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson was gleaned from books, movies and newspaper articles in which the couple were mentioned, but I had never read any biographies about either of them. One of the things that appealed to me about this book is that Ms. Sebba read letters, journals and contemporary accounts of the events that led up to Edward’s abdication and then his marriage to Wallis.
I had never had much sympathy for either of them, to be honest, and this book made me have even less. They both come across as being selfish, self-absorbed hedonists. The big difference between the two of them is that Edward was weak and desperate to be led, and Wallis was manipulative and more than happy to “wear the pants” in the family. They both complained a lot and blamed others for all of their problems. Edward doesn’t seem to have cared much about his duty to his country. His attitude is so different from that of his niece, Elizabeth II, who has devoted her life to her country during her 60 years on the throne. We are told several times during the course of the book that, in the grand scheme of things, it’s a good thing that Edward did not continue on as King and that George VI was there to lead his country through the horrors of WWII.
The other book I read this weekend was Murder on Fifth Avenue, the 14th entry in Victoria Thompson’s “Gaslight” series (as an aside, this synopsis was obviously written well before the book was published because there is no Algernon Abernathy in the book; the character referred to in this synopsis is named Chilton Devries in the book). I mentioned in my review of Threadbare, Monica Ferris’ 15th Needlework Mystery, that I thought the series was getting old and that I didn’t know how many more of the books I would bother to read. I had the same worries about Murder on Fifth Avenue when I learned it was about to come out. But, in this case, my worries were for naught. I really enjoyed this book. There were 2 murders in this story and, while I did not figure out who killed these people, I did manage to figure out some of the other plot twists before Sarah and Frank did. So #14 gets 2 thumbs up from me.
It’s now after 7:30 and the weather in Florida is still awful (and looks to be awful for the foreseeable future), but I likely won’t get any more reading done tonight; RA and CC are facing each other in Queens starting in about 1/2 hour and it should be a good game. LGM!