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Books & Authors

If you like Downton Abbey...

Fans of the Masterpiece TV series "Downton Abbey" are anxiously awaiting the premiere of the third season on January 6th. The books and DVDs on this list might help fill the void until the next season starts.


 The American Heiress: A Novel by Daisy Goodwin. The story of a wealthy American heiress traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the 20th century to seek a titled husband.



 Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell. The remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though her position was lowly, never stopped aiming high.


 A Bitter Truth by Charles Todd. A battlefield nurse during World War I, Bess Crawford, returning to London for a well-earned Christmas leave, finds her holiday fraught with mystery and murder when she agrees to help a bruised and battered woman return to her small village in Sussex.


 Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh. Tells the story of the Marchmain family, as narrated by friend Charles Ryder. Aristocratic, beautiful, and charming, the Marchmains are indeed a symbol of England and her decline; the novel is a mirror of the upper-class of the 1920s and the abdication of responsibility in the 1930s.


 The Children's Book: A Novel by A.S. Byatt. The story of a friendship between a well-to-do author’s son and a runaway named Philip who he finds sketching in the basement of the new Victoria and Albert Museum.



 A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson. The story of Anna, a young Russian countess, who has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family.


 The Crimson Rooms by Katharine McMahon. A dramatic mystery about love, secrets and discovery in post-World War I London.



 Fall of Giants by Ken Follett. Follows the fates of five interrelated families -- American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh -- as they move through the dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution and the struggle for women's suffrage.


 Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier. An exploration of social and political history that examines the prejudices and flaws of a changing time. The Colemans and the Waterhouses are divided by social class but forced to interact when their daughters become friends.


 Flirting with Destiny by Sara Hylton. A First World War saga of four privileged young women who prepare to leave school and embark on adult life.



 The Fox's Walk by Annabel Davis-Goff. After 10-year-old Alice Moore is left in the care of her autocratic grandmother at a country estate during World War I, she is forced to piece together her world, which is on the brink of revolution, from overheard conversations, servants’ gossip and her own keen observations.


 The House at Riverton: A Novel by Kate Morton. A story set in England between the two world wars about an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades.


 Maisie Dobbs: A Novel by Jacqueline Winspear. In the first installment of Winspear's Masie Dobbs series, private detective Maisie Dobbs must investigate the reappearance of a dead man who turns up at a cooperative farm called the Retreat that caters to men who are recovering their health after World War I.


 No Graves as Yet: A Novel of World War I by Anne Perry. The first installment in Perry’s World War I series sweeps readers into the golden summer of 1914, a time of brief enchantment when English men and women basked in the security of wealth and power, even as the last weeks of their privileged world were swiftly passing.


 Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes. Wishing to track down a past girlfriend who claims he had fathered her child, the rich and dying Damian Baxter contacts an old friend from his days at Cambridge. The search takes the narrator back to 1960s London, where everything is changing -- just not always quite as expected. (Written by the creator of “Downton Abbey.”)


 The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro. A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England.



 The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller.
In the aftermath of the Great War and a devastating family tragedy, Laurence Bartram has turned his back on the world. But with a well-timed letter, an old flame manages to draw him back in.


 A Room with a View by E.M. Forster. A story set in Florence, Italy, and Surrey, England during the early 1900s about young Lucy Honeychurch's choice between propriety and love.



 Snobs: A Novel by Julian Fellowes. A wickedly astute portrait of the intersecting worlds of aristocrats and actors provides an insider's look at a contemporary England that is still not as classless as is popularly supposed. (Written by the creator of “Downton Abbey.”)




 George, Nicholas and Wilhelm: Three Royal Cousins and the Road to World War I by Miranda Carter.
In the years before World War I, the great European powers were ruled by three first cousins: King George V, Kaiser Wilhelm II, and Tsar Nicholas II. Carter uses the cousins' correspondence and a host of historical sources to tell their tragicomic stories.

 Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by The Countess of Carnarvon.
Tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes's Emmy Award-winning PBS show, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.

 The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm by Juliet Nicolson.
The Perfect Summer chronicles a glorious English summer a century ago when the world was on the cusp of irrevocable change. Drawing on material from intimate and rarely seen sources and narrated through the eyes of a series of exceptional individuals, this is a vividly rendered glimpse of the twilight of the Edwardian era.

 To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918 by Adam Hochschild. A riveting, suspenseful narrative with haunting echoes for our own time. Hochschild brings World War I to life as never before by focusing on the long-ignored moral drama of the war’s critics, alongside its generals and heroes.


 The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes. A lavish look at the real world -- both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama -- of the spellbinding Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey."



 Berkeley Square. Starring Clare Wilkie and Victoria Smurfit. Mini-series about the friendship between three young women working as nannies in wealthy London households.



 Brideshead Revisited. Starring Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. Spans three decades from the early 1920s to World War II in Charles Ryder's relationship with the wild and eccentric Sebastian Flyte and the aristocratic Marchmain family.


 The Buccaneers. Starring Carla Gugino and Mira Sorvino. Four young American women journey from America to England in search of romance and adventure in this exquisite production of Edith Wharton's final book. 



The Forsyte Saga. Starring Gina McKee and Rupert Graves. Tells the story of three generations of an upper-middle class British family, from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. (Volumes 1-3)

 Gosford Park. Starring Helen Mirren and Maggie Smith. Drama set at the country estate of Sir William McCordle in 1932, showing the lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a hunting party weekend when one of the group is murdered.


 Manor House. A fascinating look at the grand and grueling British class system of the early 1900s by placing contemporary people into the lifestyle of a previous historical era.



 The Remains of the Day. Starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson. The story of blind devotion and repressed love between a fanatically proper butler and a high-spirited, strong-minded young housekeeper employed by a British lord who is unwittingly a Nazi dupe.


 Upstairs, Downstairs. Starring Jean Marsh and Gordon Jackson. Classic British television series about the lives of an aristocratic English family and their servants during the first two decades of the 20th century. (Seasons 1-5)


Downton Abbey | Masterpiece | PBS Features on this site includes behind-the-scenes information, a chance for you to rate how you feel about each character and a quiz to find out which Downton character you are. Plus, every episode from season 1 is available to watch online (until Jan. 17) and season 2 episodes become available to watch online as they air.

Edwardian Promenade A website devoted to all aspects of the Edwardian time period. Contains a section on "Downton Abbey."

Highclere Castle The website for the actual castle where "Downton Abbey" is filmed.


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