Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey
The Countess of Carnarvon
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Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes’s Emmy Award-winning PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell. In this transporting companion piece to the New York Times bestseller Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, Catherine, a beautiful and spirited American woman who married Lady Almina’s son, the man who would become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, presides over the grand estate during a tumultuous time for the British aristocracy. Following the First World War, many of the great houses of England faded as their owners fortunes declined in the new political and social world of the 1920s and 1930s. As war loomed, Highclere’s survival as the family home of the Carnarvons was again in the balance—as was peace between the nations of Europe.
Using copious materials—including diaries and scrapbooks—from the castle’s archives, the current Countess of Carnarvon brings alive a very modern story in a beautiful and fabled setting, paying particular attention to the staff who provide Highclere Castle with continuity between generations.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
I had read and enjoyed the first book about Almina, Catherine's mother-in-law and was thrilled to find this book afterward. I really feel that I have a good idea of how the house was run and lived in back in the high society days of London. I also loved the descriptions of fashion and decorum of the time. As I was reading the book I would at times forget that I was reading true stories instead of fiction. Their lives were at times fun and exciting, then sad and tragic. I'm so glad for the Downton Abbey show, not only selfishly for my own enjoyment, but also for the help that it is giving the current Earl and Countess of Carnarvon to be able to continue taking care of Highclere Castle. You could tell that the current Countess Carnarvon did an amazing amount of research for both books. I highly recommend them both!
The Real Downton Abbey
I am a fan of the TV series and wanted to know about the actual accounts of Downton Abbey or Highclere. I enjoyed reading about the people and their thoughts of Britain and Royalty and servitude during the time of World War I and World War II. Love interests and money intertwined with loyalty and family along with good and bad choices and human reaction always makes for good reading.