Tag: Nicolson

Abdication by Juliet Nicolson

Posted November 10, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction / 0 Comments

Abdication by Juliet NicolsonTitle: Abdication (Goodreads)
Author: Juliet Nicolson
Published: Bloomsbury, 2012
Pages: 344
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Publisher

Buy: Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

England, 1936.  The beloved king has died and a charismatic new monarch has been crowned; he is young, sympathetic to the needs of the working class, glamorous and single. By the end of the year England will be surprised to see him give up the throne for love and the lead up to World War II. Abdication follows the story of May Thomas, a wise-beyond-her-nineteen-year old who secures a position as secretary and driver to Sir Philip Blunt. This opens her eyes to British high society and falling in love with a man well beyond her reach.

I’m always interested in the time period from the 1920’s to the 1960’s, but I think that was my love for hard boiled crime novels and Mad Men. But a book about high society in the 1930’s England sounded really interesting. Abdication by Juliet Nicolson started off as a slow burn; developing characters, showing how they fit with the history at the time but I never really felt like the book took off in any way. I was waiting to be engaged with the story but it never really happened.

It is possible the author really stuck to one story arc and this book could have really benefited with some more characters to keep the book interesting. Some witting and exciting characters to spice things up would have helped as well. This book just felt slow moving and in the end boring; the character development was decent but there weren’t enough interesting characters to push me through this book.

Also the prose in the novel were only average, there was no beauty or elegance in the writing or the scenery. It was just focused on one element, which it did a decent job with but one decent element does not make a great read. Abdication just ended up being a non-fiction writer trying to attempt fiction.

 Juliet Nicolson knows her history and she managed to fit fictional characters in with historical characters but I think she is trying to do what Hilary Mantel did with Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. While this period of time was interesting, (I think The Kings Speech did a decent job telling us about this period of history) Abdication just ended up feeling like another attempt at the same formula. This was a big disappointment for me, I really wanted to like this book but I didn’t.