Wallis’s War: A Novel of Diplomacy and Intrigue by Kate Auspitz, a political historian who formerly taught at Harvard University and also writes mysteries as Sophie Belfort, is her standalone alternate history drama novel with satirical espionage thriller elements, free for a limited time courtesy of the University of Chicago Press.
This is their featured Free Book of the Month for August.
The story is set during the 1930s and written in the form of a comedic faux-memoir by Wallis Warfield Simpson, the American divorcée who eventually married the abdicated British King Edward VIII and posits an alternative secret history in which she was an undercover agent tasked with removing the pro-German future monarch from the throne.
Offered worldwide through August, available directly from the University Press’ website.
Free for a limited time throughout the month of August directly @ the university’s dedicated promo page (ADE-DRM ePub approx ~1.4 mb, available in exchange for your valid email address)
You can also read more about the book on its regular catalogue page.
Scandalous divorcée. Nazi sympathizer. Style icon. Her Grace the Duchess of Windsor. Such are the many—and many times questionable—monikers of the infamous Wallis Simpson. And with Wallis’s War, Kate Auspitz adds another to this list: unwitting heroine.
The facts: reviled by the British as a social-climbing seductress even as Time magazine named her its 1936 Woman of the Year, Simpson was the American socialite whose affair with King Edward VIII led him to abdicate the throne on the eve of WWII. In this fanciful novel written in the form of a fictional memoir, Auspitz imagines an alternative history in which Simpson was encouraged by Allied statesmen to remove defeatist, pro-German Edward from the throne, forever altering the course of the war. A comically unreliable narrator who knows more than she realizes, and reveals more than she knows, Simpson leads us from historic treaties and military campaigns to dinner parties and cruises as she describes encounters with everyone from Duff and Diana Cooper to Charles Lindbergh, Coco Chanel, and Hitler—all the while acting as a willing but seemingly oblivious pawn of international intrigue.
A rare blend of diplomacy and dalliance, fashion and fascists, this meticulously researched satire offers witty and erudite entertainment and leaves us speculating: who really brought about the abdication and—always—what were they wearing?