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Beautiful Lady

By (author) Patrick Read
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Kingsfield Publications, Wilts, United Kingdom
Published: 3rd Apr 2002
Dimensions: w 156mm h 234mm d 18mm
ISBN-10: 1903988012
ISBN-13: 9781903988015
Barcode No: 9781903988015

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Kirkus UK
There's a whiff of vanity publishing about this book. Some of the characterization is almost stereotyped to an extraordinary level. All the Germans are arrogant, the British toffs are reserved but determined, the lower classes are subservient, decent and honest. And the degree to which the knee is bent to some of the central characters (the British Royal Family) is almost laughable. As such, the publisher's comparisons to the likes of Robert Harris and Len Deighton are somewhat wide of the mark. And yet there is something about the plot that makes the book difficult to put down, and it certainly lingers in the mind. Mixing real and fictional characters, Read has constructed an entirely plausible scenario in which the Duke of Windsor - the abdicated king - and his wife Wallis Simpson (portrayed as a money-obsessed whore) are involved in a plot to force the British government to surrender to Germany in 1940. Also involved is Joe Kennedy, whose Irish background has him doing deals with Joachim von Ribbentrop while his bed is still warm with Simpson. The action culminates in an attempt to kidnap Princess Elizabeth (an implausibly plucky young gel). It's all slightly silly but we know enough about the Duke of Windsor's pro-German sensibilities and those of large swathes of the British aristocracy to know that this isn't such a massive leap of the imagination. Using some real quotes from the then King, Read imagines a situation where the Princess's life and the conduct of the war are in the unlikely hands of Jane Padgett, the rather raunchy daughter of the King's Legal Secretary, and Seymour Jensen, an enthusiastic young American, as the countdown to a possible public surrender by George VI begins. Fast-paced, flawed but well worthwhile. (Kirkus UK)