That Woman by Anne Sebba

79%

20 Critic Reviews

. . .this meticulously researched, newsy account may well be the sleeper of the lot.
-Washington Times

Synopsis

The first full scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the Twentieth Century, a character who played prominently in the blockbuster film The King’s Speech.

This is the story of the American divorcee notorious for allegedly seducing a British king off his throne.  “That woman,” so called by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, was born Bessie Wallis Warfield in 1896 in Baltimore.  Neither beautiful nor brilliant, she endured an impoverished childhood, which fostered in her a burning desire to rise above her circumstances.

Acclaimed biographer Anne Sebba offers an eye-opening account of one of the most talked about women of her generation.  It explores the obsessive nature of Simpson’s relationship with Prince Edward, the suggestion that she may have had a Disorder of Sexual Development, and new evidence showing she may never have wanted to marry Edward at all.

Since her death, Simpson has become a symbol of female empowerment as well as a style icon.  But her psychology remains an enigma.  Drawing from interviews and newly discovered letters, That Woman shines a light on this captivating and complex woman, an object of fascination that has only grown with the years.

 

About Anne Sebba

See more books from this Author
ANNE SEBBA is a biographer, lecturer, and former Reuters foreign correspondent who has written eight books and is a member of the Society of Authors Executive Committee. She lives in London.
 
Published February 14, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction
Bestseller Status:
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Peak Rank on Mar 04 2012
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Weeks as Bestseller
Bookmark Counts:
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Critic reviews for That Woman
All: 20 | Positive: 15 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Excellent
Jan 01 2012

Salacious and consuming, this well-researched biography will appeal to readers interested in British political and women's history.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Liesl Schillinger on Mar 09 2012

“That Woman” acquires the propulsive energy of a thriller as it advances through Wallis’s life, picking up speed as she and her royal suitor gain notoriety...

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Feb 05 2012

Ms. Sebba presents this information in clear but not especially lively fashion.

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Publishers Weekly

Excellent
Dec 12 2011

This accomplished biography is smart, eloquent, and unafraid to go beyond the myth of the duchess of Windsor

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Washington Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Sandra McElwaine on Mar 09 2012

. . .this meticulously researched, newsy account may well be the sleeper of the lot.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Sarah Halzack on Mar 30 2012

. . .the discussion of Simpson’s sexuality and her sexual relationship with the king leans too heavily on conjecture.

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The Telegraph

Excellent
Reviewed by Roger Lewis on Sep 02 2011

It becomes abundantly clear in Anne Sebba’s biography that the late Duchess of Windsor did Britain an enormous service . . .

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Lesley McDowell on Jan 22 2012

Sebba's real coup, though, is the discovery of letters between Wallis and Ernest, dated long after she had become involved with Edward.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Maria Puente on Feb 13 2012

. . .this book is clear-sighted unsentimental about but relatively sympathetic to the woman. . .

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Linda Lear

Sebba’s account of what happens after the Windsors’ exit. . .is less convincing.

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Express

Below average
Reviewed by Duncan Fallowell on Aug 26 2011

. . .Sebba races through what has always been for me the most fascinating part of the story. . .

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Open Letters Monthly

Below average
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue

. . .author wades into murky waters of physio-sexuality, where she quickly loses her footing. . .

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The Columbus Dispatch

Excellent
Reviewed by Mark Beech on Mar 08 2012

The book’s final picture is well-chosen. It shows the queen mother observing Wallis’ funeral and wearing a faint smile.

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The Sydney Morning Herald

Excellent
Reviewed by Daphne Guinness on Oct 30 2011

. . .hats off to her for turning a complex slice of history into an easy-to-read, gripping yarn.

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BuffaloNews.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Mary Goldman on Apr 08 2012

The book is not the scandalous page-turner you might expect. Its clinical style, though, does serve to play up the stark drama of certain events.

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Post and Courier

Excellent
Mar 18 2012

The book is meticulously researched, annotated and readable. . .

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TVNZ

Excellent
Reviewed by Steph Zajkowski on Sep 22 2011

. . .fascinating stuff and if you enjoy a good meaty biography, this comes highly recommended.

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Herald Scotland

Excellent
Reviewed by Jonathan Wright on Aug 29 2011

This is as good a biography of Simpson as you’re likely to find, so let’s say well done to Sebba, admit that Wallis wasn’t nearly as interesting as we’d like her to be, and move on.

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UT San Diego

Excellent
Reviewed by Sharon Larsen on Feb 25 2012

Sebba offers some fresh insight and information. . .

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The Jewish Chronicle

Excellent
Reviewed by Jan Shure on Sep 28 2011

Although at times a little didactic, Sebba is consistently illuminating and offers a richly evocative picture of London's social scene between the wars. . .

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Reader Rating for That Woman
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