The World of Downton Abbey
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The World of Downton Abbey

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  4,494 ratings  ·  554 reviews
A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey
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 thous
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Hardcover, 304 pages
Published December 6th 2011 by St. Martin's Press (first published 2011)
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Nancy
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

As a huge fan of the Downton Abbey TV series, I was thrilled to find this book beckoning to me from the library’s front desk display.

It’s a lovely book with gorgeous photos and historical information about British life during the World War I era. It shows the contrasts between the wealthy Crawley family and the servants below stairs and goes into detail about the servants’ duties and the hierarchy within the staff. There are also tidbits about the people and places that...more
Traci
Normally I don't read TV companions like this, but I had to make an exception for Downton Abbey, and I'm glad I did. This show is like crack for anybody who enjoys period dramas and is also an excellent beginning series for those who aren't so into this kind of stuff (I swear that my husband is anticipating the second series more than me). The book has a beautiful layout and contains enough researched information from the time period (the series starts in 1912... two years in George V's reign) t...more
Lisa Vegan
Sep 18, 2012 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all fans of the show who’ve seen seasons 1 & 2 but preferably before viewing season 3
Recommended to Lisa by: Lance Greenfield
This is an excellent companion book to the television show with the same title.

There is much about the show, including many terrific photos, behind the scenes information about settings and characters, etc. etc.

There is also a lot of non-fiction historical information about the period.

I enjoyed it all.

It’s a beautiful coffee table type book, with quite a bit of substance.

I kind of rushed through the last couple chapters (unfortunately) because it’s due back at the library and there is a queue...more
Barbara

This attractive book practically jumped off the library shelf into my arms. I could not resist the temptation to peruse these pages after savoring each episode of the companion Masterpiece presentation.
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This is a lovely book, with fine, detailed photography. It was a pleasure poring over the pictures and reviewing the stories of each character, each episode and each place. The clarity of the photos seemed to again bring alive all those people and the residen...more
Hannah
If you loved the series, you should also enjoy this in-depth companion book. Filled with behind-the-scenes info., a historical perspective of the time period, and some gorgeous photos, I sat and read this from cover to cover in one afternoon.

1 star deducted because some parts seemed a bit disorganized in the presentation. Otherwise, great stuff for those of us going through Downton Abbey withdrawal symptons.

Connie
I was impressed with both the gorgeous color photographs and the written content in this companion book to the first two seasons of "Downton Abbey." The plot is not revealed, except in very general terms, so the book is not a spoiler for the reader who has not seen all the episodes. It gives insight into the lives of both the wealthy Crawleys and their servants in Yorkshire in 1912. The oldest daughters were presented to Society in the hopes of making a good match in the first few episodes. Ther...more
Heidi
Yes, I love the TV series, but that's not the reason I gave this book five stars. Not only does it give background on the major characters but it delves into history and customs as well. The author, niece of the series creator, gives us the opportunity to peek into the lives of not just the characters we have come to love but also real-life people who lived in the English country homes, both the servants and the homeowners. The photographs beginning chapter one are a good reminder of who does wh...more
Amy
In December, when all the great gift books are released, I usually purchase myself a book that will be a delight for years to come. This year I struck gold with The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellows. With the broadcast of season two beginning on January 8th on PBS I eagerly devoured the book which is filled with information on both the production and the history of the time depicted. With chapters devoted to subjects like “Life in Service” and “House and Estate” readers gain insight into...more
Indiaskye
Oct 01, 2011 Indiaskye rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of tv series "Downton Abbey" or people interested in the time period (early 20th Century)
The World of Downton Abbey" is a stunningly beautiful companion book to this wonderful television show --- you can see that it was put together with a lot of thought and attention to detail! It is a hardcover book printed on glossy paper, and on its 303 pages it offers a wealth of pictures and information.

The book begins with a foreword by series creator Julian Fellowes and is split into 9 different sections after that:

Family Life
Society
Change
Life in Service
Style
House & Estate
Romance...more
Kathryn
Nov 26, 2012 Kathryn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of DA looking for behind-the-scenes tidbits and real-world history to compliment the series
Hoping to check this out again as I did not finish it before some other eager DA fan placed a hold on it at the library. It's absolutely gorgeous, though--lots of great photography from the miniseries, behind-the-scenes, and vintage ephemera. The "world" of Downton Abbey is explored both in terms of the real world in which the miniseries is set as well as in the behind-the-scenes world of the production. I wanted a bit more in some cases, but all in all it's entertaining and informative.

Sections...more
Luke Devenish
I'm a tragic fan of Downton. TRAGIC. Not ashamed of it either! I've got the soundtrack as well. I play it on high rotation when walking my dogs. My expanding waistline was already making me feel like stiff-lipped Lord Grantham getting the bad news about his war effort, so the music leaves me pretty much stinking of noblesse oblige. Therefore, I bloody loved this book. If I could have taken it out walking with me too, I would have. Common sense and a fear of limb fractures stopped me. This book w...more
Jeannette
Very nice companion to the series. The book is full of color photos, both from the televised production, and from behind the scenes. There is also quite a bit of historical background given, with historical images and quotations.

I didn't read through it this time, I just skimmed. It is a very high quality book.
Tatiana
It goes without saying that The World of Downton Abbey is for fans of the ITV and PBS hit period-drama, Downton Abbey, now two series in and counting. The behind-the-drama companion gave historical background to the comings and goings of the characters, both upstairs and downstairs. I like to think that I have a working comprehension of this period in British history (mostly due to my infatuation with Titanic years ago), but one can always gain more knowledge.

Everything from family life to life...more
Laurel
Season two of Downton Abbey has concluded and we are left in limbo until it returns next Fall in the UK and January 2013 in the US.

*deep sigh*

For those like myself who, have watched and re-watched every blessed minute, yet, just can’t get enough of the award winning ITV/PBS television mini-series Downton Abbey and are in total Downton withdrawal, may I suggests this stunning full-color coffee table-sized book about the series, THE WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY?

The publisher touts it as a “lavish look...more
Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
This companion to Downton Abbey(seasons one and two) is filled with such lush and arresting visuals I had to do more than merely write a review! I hope this little video I made of the chapter pages and included flip-through help illustrate the gorgeous artwork, stunning layout, and massive amount of information to be absorbed in these pages.

Fans of the ITV/PBS miniseries will delight in learning more about the Edwardian time period, the daily routines and lifestyles of aristocrats and servants,...more
Staci
Why I wanted to read it: Because I am hopelessly addicted to the series and can not get enough about this time period, location, and these fascinating people!

Source: Public Library


The pictures are beautiful and this is an absolutely gorgeous book to behold! But even more important than stunning eye candy, this book is filled with wonderful historical stories, ephemera from the time period, and suggestions for further reading and viewing. Let's take a look inside, shall we?

Family Life- the author...more
Terri Lynn
This book is delicious. I enjoyed it as I would a fine dessert. For those who love Downton Abbey as I do, this book is a must-read.

There is a nice mix of information about the history of the time and place in which Downton Abbey is set, juicy gossip about the royalty and aristocrats of the time, fascinating information in great detail about the lives of both the aristocratic families and the servants. Far from boring, this book is a real treat and it comes with beautiful full color photos of th...more
Jaylia3
This is a gorgeous book full of beautiful color photographs so I can't imagine it on a small black and white eReader screen. It doesn't recount the plot line, but what faithful viewer needs that? Instead it gives background information about individual characters that isn't explicitly spelled out in the show, and that's fascinating. It also provides historical and sociological context for the early modern era surrounding WWI that would be interesting anyway, but is especially intriguing because...more
Kiran
I would only recommend this book for diehard Downton Abbey fans, although I think these fans are smart enough to avoid such ploys to capitalize on the show's popularity. The majority of the pages are covered in beautiful TV stills, but the accompanying text is redundant and does nothing to expand on what is already gleaned from the show. I would have loved to learn more about the real-life inspirations behind the show's setting and characters, but such information was few and far between, making...more
Rebecca Huston
If you are a fan of the BBC series Downton Abbey you deserve to buy this book for yourself. Mouthwatering photos, lots of background information on the backstory of the characters and the time and place.

For the longer review, please go here:
http://www.epinions.com/review/Jessic...
Carrie Turansky
This was a fun read...especially for all the Downton Abbey fans. Very interesting look at the time period, the characters, and program.
Lisa
Jan 18, 2013 Lisa rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Downton Abbey fans that want to know the history of the time period.
Shelves: nonfiction, 4-star
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In the popular series Downton Abbey, Lord Grantham remarked,"My dear fellow. We all have chapters we would rather keep unpublished."

I am glad this companion book to the series was published so I could better understand the culture and history of England.

This book contains beautiful pictures from the series and the actual time period, as well as, chapters on:
Family Life
Society
Change
Life in Service
Style
House and Estate
Romance
War
Behind the Scenes

I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys...more
Amanda
I really enjoyed this book.

As a fan of the show Downton Abbey I was excited to learn some new information about season 1 and gain some insight into season 2. Instead what I received was both information about series 1 and 2 and an exciting history lesson on the early 20th century.

I was really surprised at how much depth and history the novel went into regarding the life the characters would have lived. Topics included Society, War, Romance, Fashion, Life in Service etc.

It provides information...more
Claire
Nov 10, 2011 Claire rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Downton Abbey
Pretty is not a word I'd usually describe a book with, but this is a pretty, pretty book, with gorgeous pictures.
It puts the tv series in historical context, explaning how the aristocrats lived, how life in service was, and the social and political background.
As I tend to be kind of obsessive when I really like a show, I knew some of this stuff already, but it was an interesting read nonetheless, with insights as to how Julian Fellowes came up with some of the ideas for the plot.
I found particul...more
Kelli Oliver George
I don't give many books a full 5 stars but......I picked this book up yesterday morning and couldn't put it down until I had finished it! If you are a Downton Abbey fan, this is a MUST READ. It is chock full of gorgeous photography and great behind-the-scenes details. But what really makes this book stand apart from other "Making of" books*are all of the stories of real-life folks who provided inspiration for plotlines -- both upstairs AND downstairs. If you are interested in this particular per...more
Lisa
Books like these are why libraries are important. I enjoyed reading the book, but I really don't want to own it. It was interesting, but not completely logical or succinct in the layout.

The book would have benefited from having more stories tied to the photographs. Some where, but not all. Some quotes of characters/actors were on photographs that they weren't even in the picture. It was distracting.

The text was overwhelmed by the photos...it was hard to keep reading in order.

But all in all, I...more
Alice Beyrent
For fans of Downton Abbey, this is a really interesting read. Chock full of photographs from the series along with interesting facts. There are also photographs of artifacts from the Edwardian period. Jessica Fellowes has done a good job of researching the historical context of the Edwardian period so that what is seen in the series makes sense in terms of the background of history. The book is divided into chapters about family life, society, life in service, style, house and estate, and war. T...more
Amanda
Feb 26, 2012 Amanda rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of the TV series, 'Downton Abbey'
This is the companion book to the television series 'Downton Abbey'. It gives background information regarding making the series and puts the story into its historical and social context. I especially enjoyed the inserts about real people of the time on whom some of the characters in the series may have been loosely based (though I found the way they were inserted in the middle of chapters mildly irritating).

It is a beautiful book, lavishly illustrated with photos from the series and historical...more
Joyce
IF YOU WATCH DOWNTON ABBEY YOU WILL LOVE THIS TABLE TOP BOOK. IT IS FILLED WITH WONDERFUL COLOR PICTURES AND LOTS OF BACK STORY AND INFORMATION ON THE CHARACTERS WE LOVE. WE READ ABOUT THE HISTORY DURING THIS TIME PERIOD. LOTS OF INFO. ON HOW AND WHERE THE SHOW IS FILMED. I LOVE SEEING THE ADS FROM THAT PERIOD AND THE PERSONAL ITEMS EACH CHARACTER USES ON THE SHOW. WHAT CAN I SAW I AM HOOKED ON THIS SHOW AND CAN'T READ ENOUGH ABOUT IT.
Beth Knight
I usually wouldn't read a companion book to a television show but I'm so obsessed with the series Downton Abbey I had to make an exception. While the writing itself was nothing exceptional the pictures were gorgeous. I enjoyed looking at the detail of all the costumes and it was fun learning all the details about how the show is put together. There was even some history about life during the Edwardian period so it wasn't just about the show. Overall, the book was very enjoyable and I'd recommend...more
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I'm such a Downton Abbey fan that ____________. 2 6 Jul 21, 2014 06:56AM  
Downton Abbey 6 23 Oct 05, 2013 01:36PM  
  • Behind the Scenes at Downton Abbey
  • The Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life Was Really Lived in Stately Homes a Century Ago
  • Upstairs & Downstairs: The Illustrated Guide to the Real Life of Masters and Their Servants from the Victorian Era to the Second World War
  • Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle
  • Up and Down Stairs: The History of the Country House Servant
  • Downton Abbey: The Complete Scripts, Season One
  • To Marry an English Lord: Or How Anglomania Really Got Started
  • The Perfect Summer: England 1911, Just Before the Storm
  • Beyond Downton Abbey
  • Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor
  • The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy
  • Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"
  • The Making of Pride and Prejudice (BBC)
  • The Sense and Sensibility Screenplay and Diaries: Bringing Jane Austen's Novel to Film
  • The Life and Times of Call the Midwife: The Official Companion to Season One and Two
  • The Edwardians
  • The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey - Official Movie Guide
The Chronicles of Downton Abbey: A New Era Lady Mary Crawley and Matthew Crawley Esq. (Downton Abbey Shorts, #1) Lady Sybil and Mr Tom Branson (Downton Abbey Shorts, Book 4) Mud & the City: DOS and Don'ts for Townies in the Country Mud and the City

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“Violet, the Dowager Countess: ‘I have plenty of friends I don’t like.” 24 likes
“Matthew: Shall I remind you of some of the choicest remarks you made about me when I arrived here? Because they live in my memory as fresh as the day they were spoken.

Mary: Oh, Matthew. What am I always telling you? You must pay no attention to the things I say.

When they kiss, it is a long kiss, all the more passionate for being delayed far longer than it should have been.”
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