Murder in the Prince Regent's library? Oh the cheek of Barron's ironic humor is nonpareil. It was great fun to be sleuthing in post-Waterloo London wiMurder in the Prince Regent's library? Oh the cheek of Barron's ironic humor is nonpareil. It was great fun to be sleuthing in post-Waterloo London with Jane Austen and her friend Raphael West, who we were introduced to in the previous mystery, Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas. They make a great detective team, with romantic possibilities. Fast paced, emotionally gripping and historically entrenched, Waterloo Map is Barron's finest novel to date in this very popular series.. ...more
Those who enjoyed the movie Out of Africa, based on the memoirs of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), will be enthralled by this lush, and surprisingly taugThose who enjoyed the movie Out of Africa, based on the memoirs of Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), will be enthralled by this lush, and surprisingly taught historical fiction of Beryl Markham's years in Kenya. The physical descriptions were wondrous and the prose delightful, but readers might have a hard time connecting to the heroine, who rebels against convention and herself continually. The historical research was quite amazing, revealing a very vivid picture of Africa during the 1910-30's. Her many doomed marriages and romances might leave you as empty emotionally as she was, however, her spirit and spunk soared high above the emotional losses, financial hardship and moral choices she made. ...more
A beautifully researched and written historical fiction novel focusing on actress Loretta Young and her 1935 love affair with actor Clark Gable duringA beautifully researched and written historical fiction novel focusing on actress Loretta Young and her 1935 love affair with actor Clark Gable during the filming of the movie Call of the Wild. Trigiani's take on the famous "secret" affair (Gable was married at the time) and their child will be an eye opener for some.
Based on facts and including many Hollywood names from the Golden Age of film, readers will be swept up in the era and the lives of many of the famous and fabulous. The love of the subject and the detail of characterization is evident on every page. I found Trigiani's channeling of Gable's "voice" through the novel especially gratifying, but found the plot at times slow and ponderous, burdened by a devotion by the author to tell the Young/Gable story in such detail. If I have one niggling complaint, it is with the pacing.
Some readers will be aware of the new information about the actual events regarding the couple's sexual relationship that came out after this book was put to bed with its publisher. While this could have changed Trigiani's decision to write this book at all, I am glad that she did not re-write it or pull it all together.
Regardless, this is a fictionalization of the most famous love affair that could never be more than that, and their secret love child that grew up never knowing, beyond gossip, who her father was.
The final season of the wildly popular television series 'Downton Abbey' is drawing near. To prep yourself for the further drama of the Crawley familyThe final season of the wildly popular television series 'Downton Abbey' is drawing near. To prep yourself for the further drama of the Crawley family and their servants, fellow Downtonites can revisit the fabulous plots, locations and characters by reading the final companion volume to the series, 'Downton Abbey – A Celebration', by Jessica Fellowes. This is her fourth large and lavish book spotlighting the phenomenally popular, award winning television series. And, it truly lives up to its title—a jubilant fête worthy of her uncle Julian Fellowes’ vision of portraying the changes in the British aristocracy through the Crawley family and their servants from the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 to the Jazz Age of 1925.
The cover boasts “Companion to All Six Seasons” which could be a bane or boon to the reader depending on if they abhor spoilers or not. They are a middlin’ amount. Much less than you would find in a Google search on the subject or happen across on Twitter—and no information on the finale episode which will air in the UK on Christmas day and in the US in March, 2106. Notwithstanding the distractions, we are cleverly guided through Downton Abbey – A Celebration by visiting the rooms of the abbey arranged by sections and chapters. Beginning upstairs through the Great Hall, drawing room, dining room, library and family bedrooms to “Behind the Green Baize Curtain” downstairs to the Servants Hall, the kitchen and servants attic where they sleep. This physical approach of touring the rooms seems very fitting; each described and placed in historical and social context while we revisit key scenes played out there with the characters. Who could forget the Dowager Countess Grantham asking “What is a weekend?” in the dining room during season one, Matthew Crawley proposing to Lady Mary on the steps of the entrance in season two or when Anna is arrested in the Servants Hall and taken to jail in season five? Each, a riveting moment in the drama that bonds us to the characters and the home in which they live.
Moving outside of the great manor house the book also encompasses the entire Downton estate including the grounds, farm, cottages, Dower House and the village to “Beyond the Boundaries” to London, Yorkshire and Scotland—covering many (if not all) locations visited by the Crawley family and their friends during the series. Filled with hundreds of full-color photographs, several cast interviews, pertinent quotes from the screenplay and an introduction by the Great Man himself, Julian Fellowes, readers will find the helpful episode guide an invaluable aid to refresh their memories on the who, what, when and where, and help them win at Downton Abbey Trivial Pursuit when it is created. And, you know it will be.
Ms. Fellowes’ writing is fluid and engaging. With so many facts to convey, nonfiction writing can be a challenge. You can feel her passion for the subject with the detail and energy that she brings to the text.
“On rare occasions, others have been lent the rooms for their own privacy, too. Fortunately, only Mrs. Hughes knows there’s a grating in the wall that means any conversation in here can be eavesdropped on – something that she found came in handy when Vera Bates arrived to threaten her husband. Mrs. Hughes offered the room for them to talk in – and through the grating she heard Vera tell Bates she will go to the papers with the story about the Turk* dying in Lady Mary’s bed, and that Anna will feature in the story as the woman who helped to move the corpse.” (128) in the section on Mrs. Hughes’s Sitting Room
*The Turk mentioned in this quote is Kemal Pamuk, a handsome Turkish diplomat who expired in Lady Mary Crawley’s bed, requiring Countess Grantham, Lady Mary and Anna the maid (Bates’ girlfriend) to carry the body in secrecy back to his room. Any true Downtonite knows that Mrs. Hughes would never permit anyone on the staff, or upstairs, to be Pamuked by anyone, so Vera is toast!
Filled with sumptuous images and photographs, Downton Abbey – A Celebration is a comprehensive, beautifully designed edition perfect for holiday gift giving to history buffs, period drama and Downton Abbey fans. WARNING! Be sure to buy two copies, or you will never gift it away....more
Will we ever be able to explain the phenomenon that is the television series Downton Abbey? Watched by millions and showered with awards, I find the rWill we ever be able to explain the phenomenon that is the television series Downton Abbey? Watched by millions and showered with awards, I find the reason for its success as elusive to pinpoint as Jane Austen’s lasting appeal. It means so much to so many. In two hundred years time will people be watching and reading about this period drama as passionately as we do Austen’s novels?
Quite possibly so. Their common link is the witty writing. Clever bon mots and cheeky retorts never go out of fashion. They make us smile, laugh-out-loud and reflect upon what makes us tick as humans. They are a window into our souls.
The Wit and Wisdom of Downton Abbey, by Jessica Fellowes is a collection of those fabulous zingers that make this series so “light, bright and sparkling” to Austen fans and the bazillion other viewers around the world. Creator and writer Julian Fellowes must love Austen as much as this Janeite. He certainly recognizes how her prose can sing with humor and social reproof using the same technique in his own dialogue. Whenever anyone complains about anything I am tempted to use a little Lady Catherine, oops, Lady Violet on them…
“Don’t be defeatist dear. It is very middle class.”—Dowager Countess Grantham
This slim volume of witty and wise one liners has been compiled by Jessica Fellowes. Being the niece of the creator does give you the inside scoop. However, Jessica is a tour-de-force all on her own. Author, journalist, and public speaker, Fellowes is formerly a celebrity interviewer at the Mail on Sunday and deputy editor of Country Life magazine. Readers familiar with her work will know that she has also written four lavish coffee-table books on the series: The World of Downton Abbey (2011), The Chronicles of Downton Abbey (2012), A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey (2014) and recently Downton Abbey: A Celebration (2015). She opens this beautifully designed book with an insightful introduction offering a “cocktail of an answer” as to way the series works so well. The book is structured into five chapters: Life; Love and Family; Work; Play; and Downton Abbey. Not only does it contain many (if not all) of my favorite quotes from characters ranging from the dry Mrs. Patmore to haughty Lady Mary Crawley, it includes full-color photos from the production.
“After four Seasons, one is less a debutante than a survivor.”—Lady Rosamund
My number one choice this season as a stocking stuffer for my Downtonite friends, The Wit and Wisdom of Downton Abbey will help you remember why we love this series so much and prime you for the final season (sob) which premieres in the US on MASTERPIECE Classic on Sunday, January 3, 2016.
“Daisy? What’s happened? I said you could go for a drink of water, not a trip up the Nile.”—Mrs. Patmore