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Review: Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era

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Review: Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era

08 Mar Posted by in Reviews | 1 comment
Review: Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era

Reviewed by: Lori Twichell
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: November 13, 2012

The Great War has ended. Almost everyone made it home and the residents of Downtown are beginning to pick up the scattered pieces of life before the conflict. However, with war, many changes have come, and going back to the way it used to be is not nearly as simple as one might imagine.

It comes as no surprise to many of you that I am a huge fan of Downtown Abbey. I loved the first book (check out my review here) so when I saw that there was another one scheduled to coincide with the new season, I wasted no time in requesting it.

Similar to the first book, this is a coffee-table-type book with huge, glorious photos and lots of incredibly detailed descriptions to explain how much work is involved in keeping the show authentic. As someone who has worked on film sets, I remain highly impressed with the caliber of the production on the program and the book matches that same level of perfection. With intricate detail, the authors share what seems like every single thing that goes into a project of this magnitude. From the food to the clothes and even the props, nothing has been left behind or ‘shaved’ in order to cut corners. As much as possible, this family, these characters, and this setting has been re-created down to the smallest jot and tittle on set. If there was ever a doubt about the authenticity, this book will dispel it quickly.

While the previous book shared more of the thoughts behind the storylines and the set, this one highlights each character and fills in far more of the story than you’d ever learn by just watching the show. No matter who you like (or love to dislike!) on the show, you can find out back story and history as well as where the inspiration came from for the characters.

Though it’s written as a foreword, Julian Fellowes’ thoughts on the series read much more like a chapter of its own. With direct references to family members and those who have helped consult on the show, he is honest in sharing where he got the ideas for some of the most notorious characters in Downtown. I, personally, loved his stories about O’Brien. She’s one of my favorite characters to absolutely hate and, according to him, one of his favorite to write. She was based on a lady’s maid that he knew from his own family.

I deeply enjoyed learning more about these characters. What drives Lord Grantham? How does Cora deal with stress? What’s behind some of the anger and passion in Edith and Mary? And what about the staff? Thomas and Daisy and Carson…this book is full of information about every character.

If you are a Downtown geek, this book is a necessity. It has added layers upon layers to my enjoyment of the show. In fact, I’ve been re-watching the series with my husband and teenage daughter and have found myself referring back to this book countless times with tidbits of information and knowledge that have sometimes explained entire scenes to me.

I loved Downtown before reading this book. After reading it, I can say that I am even more impressed and delighted with the entire series. I cannot wait until season four airs here in the U.S. and I hope that another book will come along with it.

Rated G: Not a single thing to worry about in it!

                                                                    Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!



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