Thursday, September 3, 2020

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull

I learned about The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull in July through BookClubbish as this novel was their August book club selection. I loved attending their online book club meet up in July via Facebook Live, so figured why not read their August book club selection?

I love reading historical fiction novels and The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull fit the bill in spades on this front. Also, the idea of reading a novel about the Windsors, Vanderbilts, and a royal scandal sounded intriguing to me. 

The Woman Before Wallis is Bryn Turnbull's debut novel. It's a really well written book and deeply engaging from start to finish. I truly enjoyed reading more about the life of Lady Thelma Furness. Lady Thelma Furness was kind of like the Kim Kardashian of her day... Famous for being famous. 

Lady Thelma Furness was an American who married and had a son with Lord Duke Furness. She later became the mistress of King Edward VIII while he was still the Prince of Wales, prior to his relationship to Wallis Simpson. 

In addition to that, Lady Thelma Furness's twin sister, Gloria, was married to Reggie Vanderbilt. Gloria Vanderbilt became the mother of 'Little Gloria' who was later to become a fashion designer and mother to Anderson Cooper. Gloria Vanderbilt (senior) later became embroiled in the infamous child custody of the 20th century, which ended in her losing custody of her daughter ‘Little Gloria’ to her sister-in-law.

The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull skillfully weaves these two stories together... And what an engaging story it is. In some ways it may seem like a love story between Lady Thelma Furness and the Prince of Wales, but is really a testimony of the love and loyalty between sisters.

Below is the plot summary for The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull from GoodReads:
This novel is the fictionalized 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.
I am giving The Woman Before Wallis by Bryn Turnbull a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. This is an historical fiction I would like to read!

  2. This is the kind of historical fiction I always enjoy reading, too. :)

  3. I bought the book in hopes that I'll be able to participate but *sigh* work got in the way.
    Were you able to attend the book club meet up?

    1. I attended the book club meet up, but it wasn't as fun as the book club meet up the previous month. A lot of the stuff discussed during the virtual book club was in the back of the book in author interview section.

  4. I don't read a lot of historical fiction but this sounds like one I'd really enjoy!