I am a huge fan of Gill Paul ever since I read her brilliant novel, The Secret Wife, a fascinating story about the rise and the fall of the Romanov family. Naturally I had high hopes for her new novel and was over the moon to get a NetGalley approval and start reading.
The thing with Gill’s writing is that it’s clear from page one she does an excellent research on the subjects of her interest and is absolutely brilliant when it comes to blending the past and real events with fictional. While The Silent Wife still remains my favourite book of Gill’s, this one certainly didn’t disappoint.
As in her previous book, Gill builds a mesmerizing tale of love and betrayal involving two iconic figures in the British history, Princess Diana and Wallis Simpson. To be honest, I didn’t know much about Wallis’ as an important historic figure, but this book sure made me google a lot. Of course there’s a lot of truth intertwined in the story however I absolutely enjoyed the fictional parts too.
In a brilliant way we follow two stories, the horrific event in 1997 and the car crash in which much beloved Princess lost her life and the friendship between Mary and Wallis. One beautiful day and the most romantic day in Rachel’s life turns into a day she’ll want to forget. The day she’s proposed by her boyfriend is the day the whole history will remember as one of the saddest days, as Princess Diana is found dead in a car crash. Alex, as TV producer takes a great interest in following this story and even though I liked reading their parts, I have to say the story of Mary and Wallis fascinated me more. There were some moments I didn’t see coming and was shocked to see how things evolved.
As expected this was a completely enjoyable story, well researched and a very thought provoking one. It’s complexed and layered, told from multiple POVs which blend perfectly. While I definitely found the Romanov’s story in The Secret Wife much more fascinating, I am a absolutely pleased with how Gill managed to intertwine real past events with fictional. If you’re a fan of historical fiction I definitely recommend this book.