Calling All Downton Abbey
Fans! Having trouble waiting for series three and the continuing saga? Here are some good reads to keep you up to snuff.
Tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration for the hit PBS show Downton Abbey
, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and wife of Lord Carnarvon who was famous for discovering King Tut's tomb. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home from the turn of the century through World War I and on in to the 1920's.
World of Downton Abbey
by Jessica Fellowes
The companion book to the popular British series
about the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants offers insights into
the story and characters as well as background information on British society in the
early years of the twentieth century.
Below Stairs: the Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired " Upstairs Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"
by Margaret Powell
Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbey
and Upstairs, Downstairs.
Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. From the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids’ curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlormaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress’s nephew, Margaret’s tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation.
Remains of the Day
In this sparkling memoir, the Duchess (The Pursuit of Laughter) writes about her famously eccentric family and the upper reaches of the British aristocracy with whom she has mingled during her long life (she'll turn 91 in March). She was related to Winston Churchill's wife, Clementine, and to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. In 1938, she met her future husband, Andrew Cavendish, and socialized with the Kennedy's. When her husband inherited his title, she became the mistress of Chatsworth. The Devonshire family estate dated back to the time of Henry VIII and contains fabulous treasures, including original Rembrandt paintings. Wait for Me!
is a unique portrait of an age of tumult, splendor, and change.
by Kazuo Ishiguro
A profoundly compelling portrait of the perfect
English butler and of his fading, insular world in postwar England. In a career that spans World War II, the novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who
is oblivious to the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for
instance, to the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still,
there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect
novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love
into his tightly repressed existence.
The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British
by Sarah Lyall
A razor-sharp . . . wickedly insightful, decidedly biased account of everything
British. Sarah Lyall moved to London in the mid-1990s and soon became known for amusing
and sharp dispatches on her adopted country. Confronted by the eccentricities of
these island people (the English husband who never turned on the lights, the
legislators who behaved like drunken frat boys, the hedgehog lovers), she set
about trying to figure out the British. Part anthropological field study and
part memoir, The Anglo Files
has already received great acclaim and
recognition for the astuteness, humor, and sensitivity with which the author
wields her pen.
Labels: What We Are Reading Now...