Downton Abbey Reading List - Get Ready for Season Four

Are you eagerly awaiting Season Four of Downton Abbey?

Maybe reading a few Downton inspired books or watching a DVD about Highclere Castle will help pass the time between episodes!

Summerset Abbey

By T.J. Brown

Reminiscent of Downton Abbey, this first novel in a new series follows two sisters and their maid as they are suddenly separated by the rigid class divisions within a sprawling aristocratic estate and thrust into an uncertain world on the brink of WWI…Rowena and Victoria, daughters to the second son of the Earl of Summerset, have always treated their governess’s daughter, Prudence, like a sister. But when their father dies and they move in with their uncle’s family in a much more traditional household, Prudence is relegated to the maids’ quarters, much to the girls’ shock and dismay. The impending war offers each girl hope for a more modern future, but the ever-present specter of class expectations makes it difficult for Prudence to maintain a foot in both worlds. Vividly evoking both time and place and filled with authentic dialogue and richly detailed atmosphere, Summerset Abbey is a charming and timeless historical debut.

Call # Fiction Brown

Habits of the House

by Fay Weldon.

Conflict between the Boers and the British in South Africa could spell financial ruin for the Earl of Dilberne. The goldmine in which he has invested most of his assets, including his wife’s inheritance and children’s trust funds, has been destroyed by the fighting. Despite dire warnings from the solicitor who manages his business affairs, the Earl and his wife, Isobel, must maintain appearances. How to cover tailoring bills and gambling debts while maintaining Dilberne Court in Hampshire plus a London household? Arthur, the son and heir, must marry for money. He agrees as long as he can continue experimenting with steam cars and supporting his mistress. Enter Minnie O’Brien, daughter of a wealthy meat packer, who needs a titled husband to erase Chicago gossip about her affair with a married man. Weldon, who wrote the pilot for Upstairs, Downstairs, travels well-worn territory here, but she does so effortlessly and adroitly. Fans of Downton Abbey and similar sagas will enjoy exploring the twists and turns of life in the extended Dilberne household. This is book one in Weldon’s Love and Inheritance trilogy.

Call # Fiction Weldon

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: a New Era

By Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis

The Chronicles of Downton Abbey , carefully pieced together at the heart and hearth of the ancestral home of the Crawleys, takes us deeper into the story of every important member of the Downton estate. This lavish, entirely new book focuses on each character individually, examining their motivations, their actions, and the inspirations behind them. An evocative combination of story, history, and behind-the-scenes drama, it will bring fans even closer to the secret, beating heart of the house. Call # 791.4572 FEL

Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey

By the Countess of Carnarvon

The countess seamlessly weaves her home into the bigger historical picture through Highclere’s revolving door of impressive guests of the time, from King Edward VIII to Gen. George Patton. Considering the long honored British tradition of primogeniture, it’s refreshing to see Catherine as the focus here, rather than her husband the count. This easily digestible history will delight fans of the beloved BBC/PBS series, serving up as much drama and intrigue as the fictional Crawley family.

Call # 941.082 CAR

Secrets of Highclere Castle (DVD)

Produced and directed by Vicky Matthews

It may be more famous now than any time in its 1,300-year history as the setting of Downton Abbey, but England’s Highclere Castle has its own stories to tell. In its heyday, Highclere was the social epicenter of Edwardian England. See how all the inhabitants of Highclere lived, from the aristocrats above to the army of servants toiling ‘below stairs’. Also find out from the current inhabitants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, what life in a fairytale castle is like today.

Call # DVD 942 SEC

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