If you like Downton Abbey...Similar books and films for obsessive fans!
Annotation:For all of us wanting the real scoop on living "below stairs" this is the book! Apparently, it was also the inspiration for the Robert Altman film "Gosford Park".
Annotation:First aired during the 1970s and depicts life in a London townhouse (masters and servants) between the years 1903 to 1930. It is a wonderful show, but be prepared to spend hours watching it. I watched one to three episodes five days a week, and it still took me three months!
Annotation:Focuses on several aristocratic and artistic families from 1895 to 1914. Shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker prize, it touches on social issues, the Arts and Crafts movement, and the politics of the era.
Annotation:For the more ambitious reader. It follows several different families from many countries as they face the juggernaut that is World War I. At 1,000 pages, you will be reading for awhile, but it gives a great understanding of the war and how it changed the world and society.
Annotation:At the end of the Edwardian era, a scandal at house party threatens a family's way of life. Years later, a woman who was a young maid at the time will hold the key to the family's secrets.
Annotation:Like Cora, Countess Grantham in Downton Abbey, it features a wealthy and naïve American girl (also named Cora) who marries into British high society in the 1890s, as well as the changes she must make to survive and thrive.
Annotation:Written by Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton), it is an upstairs, downstairs story of a 1930s house party, a murder and people with too many secrets. Stars Helen Mirren, Clive Owen, Kristin Scott Thomas and a bunch of other people you will recognize.
Annotation:For those looking for a non-fiction documentary series, back in the early 70s the BBC produced an eight-part series depicting the movers and shakers of the era, as well as dramatizations of pivotal events.
Annotation:The granddaughter of the scandalous literary couple Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson, Juliet Nicholson has written a fascinating anecdotal history of Edwardian high society at it’s zenith during one long, hot summer.
Annotation:A follow-up to The Perfect Summer which depicts the years immediately following the war, England’s attempt to deal with the horror of all the dead and wounded, social upheaval, and the emergence of the Jazz Age.
Annotation:Skewers Edwardian high society with all it’s decadence and decorative, inbred aristocrats. It focuses on young heirs Sebastian and Viola and a lavish house party that changes them forever.
Annotation:Knole house is one of the largest private houses in England that has been inhabited for over 400 years by 13 generations of one eccentric family — the Sackvilles. Author Lord Robert Sackville-West gives us if-these-walls-could-talk stories and larger-than-life characters that have the fictional Downton Abbey paling in comparison, proving that truth is stranger than fiction.
Annotation:One of those larger-than-life characters was Idina Sackville. Written by her great-granddaughter Frances Osborne, we learn of a young woman who rejected Edwardian morals, left her children and husband at the end of World War I, and embarked on a life of parties, scandalous love affairs, and a decadent life in Kenya.
Annotation:Set at an English country house at the end of WWI, it is the story of a Russian aristocrat/refugee who gets a job as a housemaid. An all-time favorite of mine, the book may be a light romance, but it still manages to discuss the plight of WWI veterans, the Russian Revolution of 1917, anti-semitism among the British aristocracy, and the appalling Eugenics movement which would soon manifest itself in Nazi Germany.
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For obsessive fans of the British/ Masterpiece series Downton Abbey! Set in England, during the Edwardian Era i and up through the years of World War I, it is the story of the Earl of Downton, his family the Crawleys and family's servants. I have put together a list of books, dvds and websites that explore similiar stories, give you background on British society and culture of that time period and give you information on the series itself. Enjoy!