Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Mini-Review: That Woman by Anne Sebba

Author: Anne Sebba
Publisher-Format: Orion Publishing Group (2012), Paperback, 384 pages
Subject: Life of Wallis Warfield Simpson
Setting: various
Genre: biography
Source: public library

Wallis Warfield (better known as the Duchess of Windsor) hailed from Baltimore, my home town.  World famous as the twice divorced woman who captured the heart of the King of England, she is a person whose life has never made much sense to me, and who is often held up to much scorn and criticism.  Of course every young girl who hears the story about a King giving up his throne to marry "the woman I love" at first must think this is a romantic fairy tale. It isn't.  It's a tragedy.

In this latest biography of the Duchess, Anne Sebba tries to present both The Duke (ex-king Edward ) and his Duchess as two persons whose personality disorders (nowhere documented) drove them to act as they did and  meant that they were perfect for each other.  The author's positing of strange sexual dysfunctions for both of them adds nothing to the already well-known tale, and serves only to make the story more unbelievable.  She succeeds only in reinforcing my perception that they were each selfish, infantile, and insecure to a degree that they could never have functioned as adults in the tumultuous world in which they lived.   I don't think anything new has been added to the body of knowledge about these two, and it's too bad the author felt she had to resort to so much unprovable innuendo.

A total waste of time, and a sad, sad, story.


  1. Such a shame. I had noticed this book and hoped it would give me some insight into a woman I have always found baffling. Thankfully I didn't waste time reading it. Thanks for the warning.

  2. I had never heard of all that sexual innuendo until another blogger sent me a link. I'm now reading The Shadow Queen, a fictional account of Wallis. The author's note in the back touches on all those rumors and their basis. Personally, I think all that is TMI.


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