The Woman Before Wallis

by: Bryn Turnbull


Goodreads description:

For fans of The Paris Wife and The Crown, this stunning novel tells the true story of the American divorcée who captured Prince Edward’s heart before he abdicated his throne for Wallis Simpson.

In the summer of 1926, when Thelma Morgan marries Viscount Duke Furness after a whirlwind romance, she’s immersed in a gilded world of extraordinary wealth and privilege. For Thelma, the daughter of an American diplomat, her new life as a member of the British aristocracy is like a fairy tale—even more so when her husband introduces her to Edward, Prince of Wales.

In a twist of fate, her marriage to Duke leads her to fall headlong into a love affair with Edward. But happiness is fleeting, and their love is threatened when Thelma’s sister, Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt, becomes embroiled in a scandal with far-reaching implications. As Thelma sails to New York to support Gloria, she leaves Edward in the hands of her trusted friend Wallis, never imagining the consequences that will follow.

Bryn Turnbull takes readers from the raucous glamour of the Paris Ritz and the French Riviera to the quiet, private corners of St. James’s Palace in this sweeping story of love, loyalty and betrayal.

Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓

This was my favorite of our January picks. It was a guilty pleasure – I love a society scandal story! While I originally thought I would be reading a story about the royals, this was really the tale of the Morgan twins (Thelma and Gloria) and their rise in the ranks of social climbing. Thelma had an illicit affair with Prince Edward and Gloria married a Vanderbilt (she was Anderson Cooper’s grandmother). They were total opportunists and paved the way for the Real Housewives on Bravo. This book was thoroughly entertaining and true escapism in these tumultuous times.

Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓1/2

I have mixed feelings on historical fiction, as I think we often see historical fiction as more accurate and fact-based than it really is and form opinions on real people based on the author’s representation. That being said, I was totally unfamiliar with Thelma Morgan Furness, the twin sister of Gloria Vanderbilt, so I really enjoyed this kind of crazy ride. The portrayed lives of the people in this story cast them as totally self-indulgent, irresponsible, and downright annoying, but also fascinating and somewhat hard to believe. And beware of Mamma Morgan – yikes! If you are interested in the tale of Prince Edward, early-mid 1900’s British royalty and ultra-wealthy Americans, then you would really enjoy this one.

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3 thoughts on “The Woman Before Wallis

  1. Hi Helen! Lizzie is always recommending your suggestions to me. Even though I consider myself an avid reader, many of these titles are unfamiliar to me. As for Before Wallis, I found it a difficult read. I didn’t care about one single character and found them vapid and insidious! Every single one of them!! So I was glad to finish and say “ta ta” lo these insipid characters. Cissie


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