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3.42  ·  Rating details ·  10,388 ratings  ·  1,201 reviews
Edith Lavery, an English blonde with large eyes and nice manners, is the daughter of a moderately successful accountant and his social-climbing wife. While visiting his parents' stately home as a paying guest, Edith meets Charles, Earl Broughton, and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield, who runs the family estates in East Sussex and Norfolk. To the gossip columns he is one of ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published January 24th 2006 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.42  · 
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 ·  10,388 ratings  ·  1,201 reviews

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Snobs was initially a pleasurably satirical and snippy read, but after numerous chapters of the seemingly endless and very tedious ins-and-outs of aristocratic society, it started to become - to employ a word used frequently in the book - dreary, and by the end I didn't care what happened. It was well-written, but suffered from the same problem as Fellowes' (superior) second novel Past Imperfect; too many digressions into intricate details of the upper echelons of the class system. Reading this, ...more
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
This is the first book I’ve read by Fellowes though I enjoyed Downton Abbey a lot. Snobs sort of takes one back into that world but in a more modern time (the 1990s) and certainly turned out quite different from what I’d expected. Our unnamed narrator (rather like Nancy Mitford’s Fanny Wincham, but a man) tells us the story of Edith Lavery, born into a middle-class family, who realises that she really can do nothing in life but marry well, and that she does, ‘catching’ Charles Broughton, heir to ...more
Aug 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: light-and-fun
As delicious as fizzy lemonade and only slightly more substantive, this novel by the screenwriter of “Gosford Park” takes you through the courtship and marriage of a middle-class beauty (“I knew she was a social climber; I didn’t realize she was a mountaineer!”) and an aristocratic dullard. No one escapes the dry acerbity of author Julian Fellowes, who was born into the bosom of the upper-class and obviously knows the species intimately. A very light, very fun, very delectably waspish portrait o ...more
Oct 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wow. this guy really nailed it. This book reminded me of someone paring a fish with the ease of a surgeon. Fellows examines social protocol in a certain circle by flaking it from the chaos of conversation, holding it up to the light, and explaining exactly why everything about it is preposterous.

Ever wonder why some people call each other Sausage or Toffee? Turn to page 44. Want to know Fellow's theory about the patented British "stiff upper lip"? Try page 35. Or find out who fits this brillian
May 30, 2008 rated it did not like it
Reads like an essay or etiquette book about the upper classes, disguised as a novel. Self consciously clever and witty insights, but very unoriginal plot. First person narrator knows more of Edith's inner thoughts than makes sense. Only "enlivened" by an implausible ending.

It's a shame, because he's much better as a screenwriter: Gosford Park was wonderful, and the first series of Downton Abbey was excellent (subsequent series bordered on parody, but by then it was an international brand, so the
This was actually a quick re-read of this novel, Snobs, which I believe I originally read a couple of years ago and found delightfully droll. I've noticed that it seems to have made a bit of a comeback on to book shelves, perhaps because of Fellowes' now well known association with writing Downton Abbey.

I found this a subtle book, recounting the story of this rather ambitious yet very decent middle class British young woman, Edith, being star struck by the aristocratic gentleman Charles, wooed
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book had the same effect on me as the screeching sound of chalk on a blackboard. After the first eighty pages I considered dropping it. The all too familiar traits of snobbery just didn't tickle my fancy at all. A snob is a snob is a snob, right?

It felt like detention homework. Please write out the following sentence two thousand times: " Snobs believe they are God's gift to mankind in every which way but death." ( I mean, they truly believe the sun sets over our planet when one of them si
Jul 29, 2012 marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The fourth of four (so far) books in a row that I've abandoned. Maybe it's just me.

I just started watching Downton Abbey a couple of months ago (two years after it began airing) and my reaction was, "why didn't anyone tell me how great this show is?" Then I remembered that, oh right, everyone did. This caused me to also seek out Gosford Park, which I didn't like nearly as much as Downton Abbey, although it did make me feel that Maggie Smith should be in all movies (along with Don Cheadle, about
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was such an entertaining, fun book.

The author, Julian Fellowes, has had an illustrious career in film and television. He wrote the screenplays for the Oscar-winning Gosford Park, The Young Victoria, and Vanity Fair. He also created and writes the spectacular Downton Abbey.

In the same way that Dominick Dunn’s books offer an insider peek into the elite lives of Manhattan’s 5th Avenue, Snobs is a funny, sharp-eyed study on contemporary British aristocracy. The gossipy story is told through a
Susan Branch
Nov 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Slow to start. The characters have too much time on their hands. I read this like a science project, and from that point of view it was interesting. I'm too American for understanding the time wasting that goes on here. Somebody should just forget all this, go into the kitchen and bake a pie. ...more
Feb 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
After being dazzled by two Julian Fellowes screenplays (Gosford Park, Downton Abbey), I had expected to find sparkling little gems of conversaton and observations reformed into this present-day setting. Instead, it was the average girl-meets-rich-boy-then-regrets-choosing-money-over-love kind of a story. The cliche roles of the looming mother-in-law matriarch, the overstuffed, rose-covered couch of a mother, the slightly slimy, ladder-climbing lover... all of it just exasperated me. After seeing ...more
Sep 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: aristo-porn
Welcome to the company of a condescending, judgmental narrator who loves inflicting lengthy discourses, based on clichéd generalisations, on the reader. This guy has no investment in the plot or in the fate of his fellow characters... he doesn't go anywhere as a character... he's boring and humourless... and he's a vehicle for the author's wooden tell-don't-show.
What's to like? Almost nothing. We get the posh-boy-turned-actor narrator describing how a pretty, but talentless and lazy, middle-cla
May 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Listened to this so long ago. Joyce wrote a good review of this title
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: england
Entertaining and somewhat thought provoking, however not a real page turner. It was very slow to start and got more interesting towards the middle and end.
Edith, a beautiful and kind English young woman, is introduced to the Earl of Broughton after touring Broughton Hall. Although not a social-climber herself, she is drawn to his lifestyle and the ways of his class. She agrees to marry him, but suddenly finds life dull. One day, when actors and a camera crew arrive on her doorstep, she is swept off her feet and begins to question her decisions.

While I found the social commentary amusing, intellectual, and informative, I had no invested interest in
Sep 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book about the English aristocracy and the ambitious young woman who tries to marry into it, all told from the ironic perspective of a nameless actor who is everyone's confidante.

I went back to look, and this is only the third book I've awarded 5 stars to this year (out of 180 or so). Not a great year.
Apr 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
After I realized that I had already read this book, I kept on reading because I was enjoying it so much. Then I remembered that 'Past Imperfect' was sitting on my shelf, waiting for me! So, I decided to read that instead. ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Delightful book. Social commentary but also much fun; Fellowes is a fluid narrator. It was one of my travel reads and I found myself looking forward to my next reading. Do check it out especially if you like Austen.
Jan 19, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was curious about this book because Joseph Epstein kept referring to it in his book on friendship. The story was diverting, and the insights into Phenomenals' behavior (as seen through the example of British aristocrats' social norms) were very interesting. It only got three stars from me, though, because the author kept slipping into these 1-2 paragraph asides that distracted from the narrative flow. The habit was kind of annoying. ...more
Susan (the other Susan)
Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: snarky-goodness
Downton Abby writer- producer shows us how they'd live in the here-and-now. Deliciously snide! ...more
Loved Downton Abbey and Fellowes' recent novel Belgravia, so I'm not certain how I missed this, which originally came out on audio in 2005--and then I listened to the abridged first, by accident, not realizing it was abridged... But I'm guessing that in whatever format one encounters this, it's a hoot. It's a snarky, fictional skewers of snobbery--particularly the British class system of today but snobbery everywhere. One reviewer calls Fellowes--or perhaps his narrator (which is the same thing) ...more
I quite enjoyed this.
With one notable exception. The author used the term 'miscegenation' to refer to white Brits of differing social classes.
He repeatedly uses this somewhat dated and loaded term incorrectly and it is grating in the extreme.
I listened to this on audiobook so perhaps I misunderstood but I truly don't think so.
Otherwise a solid 3.75 rounded up to 4 stars.
Jan 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
I like Julian Fellowes' TV series Downton Abbey quite a bit, but unfortunately I bought this book before I realized that relatively little of what I like about the show is about the writing, particularly the plotting. It's almost uniformly excellently acted, and the production design is gorgeous. Certainly some of my emotional investment in Matthew and Mary's rocky relationship is thanks to the verbal sparring Fellowes laid out for them, but it's partly due to how Michele Dockery and Dan Stevens ...more
Jun 20, 2012 rated it liked it

Snobs is a particularly juicy look at the lives and loves of aristocratic British society. Except that instead of petticoats and horse-drawn carriages, these fancy-shmancy Brits are living today. Middle-class Edith, who has been brought up by an ambitious mother to want nothing more than to land an upper-class husband, does just that then she meets Charles Uckfield, the Earl Broughton and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield. But instead of a fairy tale happy
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC radio 4 - 15 Minute Drama:
Satire on English snobbery, adapted from his own novel by Julian Fellowes.

1/5 On a visit to the local stately home, middle-class estate agent Edith meets Charles, the extremely eligible Earl.

2/5 News of Edith and Charles's romance hits the gossip columns but Lady Uckfield and the rest of Edith's aristocratic soon-to-be in-laws are not impressed.

3/5. Edith's privileged yet dull new existence is shaken up when a film crew arrives at Broughton Hall, among which is
Apr 01, 2013 rated it liked it
Equal part social satire, equal part comedy of manners – Julian Fellowes gives the classic Girl-Marries-Up story a run for the money. This debut novel is as predictable as it is delicious - neither the plot nor characters matter, but rather who they know and rub titled shoulders with.

"Snobs" chronicles the celebration, downfall then redemption of Edith Lavery, who snares the dim but wealthy Charles Broughton, much to the horror of the formidable Lady Uckfield, and scandalous delight of society a
Ange H
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Julian Fellowes' insider understanding of the rarified world of the British aristocracy is on display again, but set in the '90's instead of the "Downton Abbey" era. Edith, a social climber marries into this world, not for love of the man but for his title. She soon begins to question if her choice was the right one.

I finished the novel and was satisfied with the ending, but this wasn't a page-turner as the pace was rather plodding. The most glaring fault was the odd choice of having a male nar
Maia Chance
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertaining mostly from a curiosity standpoint--that is, if you're curious about 1990's upper crusty British people. The story falls short, however, because none of the characters are sympathetic. Most of them are (as the title would suggest) insufferable snobs--and okay I get it, that's the point. The narrator, however, a disinterested-yet-embroiled observer in a The Great Gatsby sort of way, is never known as a real character. He's not a snob, but he's cool and unknowable. I also did find mys ...more
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Julian Alexander Kitchener-Fellowes (Baron Fellowes of West Stafford), DL. English actor, novelist, screenwriter, and director.

Fellowes is the youngest son of Peregrine Fellowes (a diplomat and Arabist who campaigned to have Haile Selassie restored to his throne during World War II). Julian inherited the title of Lord of the Manor of Tattershall from his father, making him the fourth Fellowes to h

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