This is an investigation into the last years of the Duchess of Windsor. Once the epitome of glamour, Wallis Warfield Simpson Windsor spent her last days alone and ill in her Paris chateau, guarded by her lawyer Maitre Suzanne Blum. This book tells of the author's quest for the Duchess and her encounters with Blum. Blackwood came to the shuttered ...
This is an investigation into the last years of the Duchess of Windsor. Once the epitome of glamour, Wallis Warfield Simpson Windsor spent her last days alone and ill in her Paris chateau, guarded by her lawyer Maitre Suzanne Blum. This book tells of the author's quest for the Duchess and her encounters with Blum. Blackwood came to the shuttered house in the Bois de Boulogne in 1980, commisioned by the "Sunday Times" to write a piece to accompany a photo-session with the Duchess by Lord Snowdon. But the photographs were never taken. Instead, Maitre Blum became the subject of both photographs and interview and her passion for the Duchess aroused Blackwood's curiosity. Why was the Duchess's lawyer so keen to prevent anyone from seeing her, even her oldest friends? What was it about the Duchess that evoked such depth of feeling in her lawyer? In answering these questions, this book takes the reader behind the facade of the Windsor myth to give an account of the life - and death - of the Duchess.
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-01-16 Novelist and journalist Blackwood has pulled off quite a coup here: she has written a biographical portrait of the late Wallis Simpson, duchess of Windsor, without ever having seen more of her than the outside of her magnificent house near Paris and a murky photograph taken through the window by an Italian paparazzo. In 1980, the Sunday Times of London sent Blackwood to interview the 84-year-old duchess for a piece to run with photographs by Lord Snowdon, Princess Margaret's husband. The assignment was dynamite, but the pair are stopped dead by Suzanne Blum, an 83-year-old eccentric and vitriolic French lawyer known as Ma?tre Bloom, who identifies so closely with the duchess that her life is a round of suing newspapers, perpetrating both lies and legends of her charge's beauty and good health. Ma?tre Bloom firmly takes over this book. A few derivative chapters cover the well-known details of Wallis Simpson's early life, but Ma?tre Bloom shapes every page with her tantrums and vanities. The portrait is interesting psychologically and one admires this poised effort to salvage an aborted assignment. However, the absence of denouement-neither Blackwood nor Lord Snowden make it past the ferocious protector-makes the reader wonder why she is paying this much attention to a little-known, if complex, eccentric. In the end, one can only feel sorry for both the obsessed and the object of her obsession. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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