The Shadow Queen was a historical fiction novel that followed Wallis Simpson through her early life. Wallis Simpson is one notorious person in history I didn’t know much about, but always thought of negatively. I was interested to learn more about her and deconstruct society’s view on her that spurred my thinking. Rebecca Dean’s writing was everything I want in a book: descriptive, clean, to the point, yet it created the time period and described the fashion beautifully.
As told by Dean, Wallis Simpson lead an unpredictable early life largely due to her father’s death and her mother’s inability to manage money. Her quest to present herself in the best possible way began as a young child when she changed her name from Bessie Wallis to simply Wallis. Never one to abide by rules, she did as she pleased, meet gentlemen in the middle of the night and repeatedly failed to abide by her family’s expectations. For these reasons, she was a stunning character that I was taken with. With an eye toward the most exclusive social circle in the word, the British Royal Family, Wallis decided to attend a finishing school rather than finish at the all girl’s college she attended. Wallis’ friendship with Pamela also catapulted her into Prince Edward’s view, but I felt too much of the book was devoted to Pamela’s life.
My only complaint, which is kind of a big one, is that the story ended right when Prince Edward began to show interest in Wallis. I didn’t realize this book would only be the prequel to the famous love affair. Although that means I’ll have to read another book that focuses only on their affair, Wallis was so captivating, that I don’t mind at all!