The Masterpiece Theater tv series, Downton Abbey, is a runaway success. Maybe you are one of the thousands of people who watched and loved it. Season Two recently concluded. What are you going to do while you wait for Season Three of Downton Abbey? I suggest catching up with the first two seasons of the show (click on the links below to get the library’s copy) or spend some time with a good book that takes you to times and places similar to Downton Abbey!
Lord Crawley sees his family heritage, especially the grand country home Downton Abbey, as his mission in life. The death of his heir aboard the Titanic means distant cousin Matthew Crawley, a Manchester lawyer, suddenly is next in line and accepts moving onto the vast estate with his even more modernist, socially engaged mother, who clashes with his lordship’s domineering, conservative ma the dowager. Marrying off the daughters is another concern. Meanwile the butler presides over a staff which serves the family but also lead most of their entire lives in the servants quarters, intriguing amongst themselves.
If You Liked Downton Abbey, Read This!
by E.M. Forster
The book is about three families in England at the beginning of the 20th century: the Wilcoxes, rich capitalists with a fortune made in the Colonies; the half-German Schlegel siblings (Margaret, Tibby, and Helen), and the Basts, a struggling couple in the lower-middle class. The Schlegel sisters try to help the poor Basts and try to make the Wilcoxes less prejudiced.
The American Heiress
by Daisy Goodwin
Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.
The House at Riverton
by Kate Morton
Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace Bradley’s youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever. Grace went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they — and Grace — know the truth. In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer.