MUST READS

MUST READS

TRAITOR KING by Andrew Lownie (Blink £10.99, 432pp)

TRAITOR KING 

by Andrew Lownie (Blink £10.99, 432pp)

It is almost 86 years since the Abdication crisis, when Edward VIII announced that he had ‘found it impossible’ to ‘discharge my duties as King… without the help and support of the woman I love’. 

He was finally free to marry divorcee Wallis ­Simpson. But the couple’s problems — and those of the Royal family — had just begun. What was to be done with an ex-King whose behaviour grew steadily more troublesome as war with Germany approached? 

Admiring of Hitler and resentful of their treatment by the Royal Family, Edward and Wallis were surrounded by shady associates with Nazi affiliations. 

Andrew Lownie’s portrait of the Windsors in exile gives a grotesque account of their greed, petulance and freeloading, and makes a convincing case that in Britain’s darkest hour, Edward was a traitor to his country.

LOVED AND MISSED

by Susie Boyt (Virago £8.99, 208pp)

Is there any failure worse than the feeling that you have failed your own child? 

When Ruth’s daughter, Eleanor, was young, they were a loving pair. But as a teenager, Eleanor seemed to hate not just her mother, but herself, too, in a disastrous trajectory of drugs, addiction and homelessness. Hope returns when Eleanor gives birth to a daughter, Lily. 

But an appalling discovery drives Ruth to a decision: Lily must come to live with her. 

Lily is kind, funny and beautiful, and, as she grows, she brings back to Ruth’s life the joy that had vanished with the loss of Eleanor. 

Susie Boyt’s novel is an elegant study of the bonds between generations, of the ways that love can destroy and heal, and of the consolations of small things: kindness, friendship and moments of unexpected grace. 

LOVED AND MISSED by Susie Boyt (Virago £8.99, 208pp)

DON’T LAUGH, IT’LL ONLY ENCOURAGE HER 

by Daisy May Cooper (Penguin £9.99, 320pp) 

In 2017, Daisy May Cooper and her brother, Charlie, erupted onto screens with BBC3’s This Country, a Bafta-winning mockumentary of life in rural England. 

As Daisy points out in her raucous memoir: ‘It wasn’t as if my life’s trajectory was mapped out for me.’ Born in Cirencester in 1986, she grew up in a household where money was short but creativity was plentiful. As the Angel Gabriel in her school nativity play, Daisy floored the entire cast with her outsized wings. 

With each new disaster, her mum would say: ‘Don’t worry, it will be a good read for your memoir one day.’ 

How right she was: swerving giddily from one catastrophe to the next, this riotous chronicle of dodgy boyfriends, terrible jobs and gritty poverty will have you cheering for Daisy and Charlie when success finally comes. 

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