Lynne Tull's Reviews > Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Fiona Carnarvon
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Jul 01, 12

bookshelves: biography
Read from June 17 to 30, 2012, read count: 1

I admit I have not watched the Downton Abbey TV series. I am not sure I will, but I am very glad I read this book. It gave me a real sense of the history of England from the end of the Victorian Era until the end of World War I. The aristocracy and its strict rules of personal conduct began to unravel during this period. (As was pointed out in the book, it really didn't become as we know it today until the end of World War II.)
The book was written by the present Countess of Carnarvon who had available to her a lot of the family documents. I felt a real sense of connection to the Carnarvon's and their social circle. Of course, of special interest was the fact that Lord Carnarvon along with Howard Clark was responsible for finding the unopened tomb of Tutankhamen. In fact, without his and his wife's financial support I am not sure when or if it would have ever been discovered. I was especially interested because I did see the King Tut exhibit when it came to Memphis, Tennessee, in the '80's.
More importantly...the horrors of World War I were all too real. Almost a whole generation of British men were lost in the war. After the end of the war more that 50 million people worldwide died from the Spanish Influenza, more than had died in the war.
Lady Almina played her part by turning Highclere, their country estate, into a hospital using the funds from her father, Sir Alfred Charles de Rothschild. He was very generous with his money. Lady Almina was generous with money, but also with her time and energy. She found her life's work in nursing the ill when she founded the hospital.
I highly recommend you read this book. You will shed a few tears, both happy and sad. You will close the book with a better sense of the difference between war then and now.
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Reading Progress

06/22/2012 page 121
39.0% "So far this has been a good peek into the world of the aristocracy in the Victorian times...also, the obsession with anything Egyptian."
06/22/2012 page 121
39.0% "The Earl of Carnarvon, Lady Almina's husband, discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen with Howard Carter."

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Oooohhh...I want to read this.


Lynne Tull CALS has 4 copies...only a couple of people waiting. I'll turn mine in Sat. I see you added to your TBR list...


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