Jan 12 2012 12:07pm

The Books of Downton Abbey

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

Today the New York Times has a piece on how publishers are recognizing that fans of Downton Abbey (and PBS in general) are more likely to be readers, and are promoting their releases with a Downton Abbey slant.

One of the books that ties in the most directly is one of the books (the other is Below Stairs by Margaret Powell; more on that later) Heroes and Heartbreakers is giving away as part of its Downton Abbey sweepstakes. The World of Downton Abbey is penned by Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes’s niece, Jessica. Jessica says her uncle “has been deliberate about dropping open-ended references into the scripts” because he wants to “drive people to find out more for themselves, whether through Google or in books.”

Here’s more about the book:

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

April 1912. The sun is rising behind Downton Abbey, a great and splendid house in a great and splendid park. So secure does it appear that it seems as if the way it represents will last for another thousand years. It won’t.

Millions of American viewers were enthralled by the world of Downton Abbey, the mesmerizing TV drama of the aristocratic Crawley family—and their servants—on the verge of dramatic change. On the eve of Season 2 of the TV presentation, this gorgeous book—illustrated with sketches and research from the production team, as well as on-set photographs from both seasons—takes us even deeper into that world, with fresh insights into the story and characters as well as the social history.

What intrigues you most about the Downton Abbey world? Why do you watch each week?

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1. EvangelineHolland
Funny how the Edwardian Era is practically taboo in historical romance (most publishers' guidelines state 1900 as the cut-off date), but Downton Abbey has now created a desire for this setting!

As for why I tune in each week: the characters. They may frustrate or anger me, or make me root for or against them, or even surprise me by their actions, but each character works together to make Downton Abbey unforgettable.
Megan Frampton
2. MFrampton
@EvangelineHolland: I am wondering if this will spur more interest in Edwardian-set romance. I hope so! I like the clothing.

And yes, the characters are what make me tune in.
Will Cross
3. Will Cross
Visitors to your site, and book lovers generally may wish to know that in addition to the above especially the much sanitised "Lady Almina And The Real Downton Abbey..”…there is a much more controversial account of Almina’s nine decades of living in a book entitled “ The Life and Secrets of Almina Carnarvon.” "A Candid biography of the 5th Countess of Carnarvon of Tutankhamun fame.” Also from the same author, William Cross, FSA Scot, is “ Lady Carnarvon’s Nursing Homes : Nursing the Privileged in Wartime and Peace” which deals with Almina’s role as a uncompromising matron of Highclere Military Hospital during the Great War, and her later years running private hospitals in London. Many of Almina’s famous patients are revealed in these books. The testimony within these titles comes from the memories and recollections of one of Almina's godsons, whose mother was Almina's housekeeper and companion for over thirty years. The books contain several other testimonies from soldiers treated by Lady Almina at Highclere Military Hospital and at her London wartime hospital of 48, Bryanston Square. This included several Canadians.
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