England, 1936. After the recent death of George V, the nation has a new king, Edward VIII. But for all the confident pomp and ceremony of the accession, it is a turbulent time. Terrible poverty and unemployment affect many, but trouble few among the ruling elite; for others, Oswald Mosleys New Party, which offers a version of the fascism on the rise in Germany, seems to offer the vision of the future. Nineteen-year-old May Thomas has just disembarked at Liverpool Docks after making the long journey by steamer from Barbados to escape the constraints of her sugar-plantation childhood. Her first job as a secretary and chauffeuse to Sir Philip Blunt, Chief Whip in Baldwins Conservative government, will open her eyes to the upper echelons of British society... The unlikely friendship she forms with Evangeline Nettlefold, American god-daughter of the Chief Whips wife and an old school friend of Wallis Simpson, will see her through family upheavals including the shocking, sudden loss of her mother; but more significant for May, the Blunts son Rupert has an Oxford University friend, Julian, a young man of conscience for whom, despite all barriers of class, she cannot help but fall. Secrets, hidden truths, undeclared loves, unspoken sympathies and covert complicities are everywhere - biggest and most dangerous of them all, the truth about the new Kings relationship with a married woman, and the silent horror that few in Britain dare voice: the increasing inevitability of another world war...

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