Books

Friday Reads: The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

I had a technical glitch or two making this video (and forgive my crappy camera–but that means you should buy the book to see it all crisp and clear. *ggg*), but without further ado, here is a video of the official companion book, followed by my review!

As you can hopefully see in the video, the book is absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. From the robin’s-egg blue of the actual book, to the luminous dust jacket, to the fonts, and really, the entire book design, everything looks very elegant and Edwardian. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, or read books about the Edwardians, some of the historical content isn’t exactly new per se, but Fellowes does a great job of placing the cold, plain facts of the era in the context of Downton Abbey’s inhabitants. The book kicks off with a forward by Julian Fellowes, where he discusses his philosophy towards the series and continues to share his deep love affair with the long-gone society that inhabited the English country house.

Fellowes (Jessica, that is), takes us literally through the world of Downton Abbey, starting with family life, touching on society and its changes, life belowstairs, fashion of the age, the function of the country estate, romantic relationships, and war. Last but not least is the chapter devoted to behind the scenes of the series, though the entire book is interspersed with tidbits of the actual production. The amount of work that goes into creating this incredible high drama is astounding, and without pictures of the sets and costumes and crew I would find it difficult to believe this wasn’t pulled together with the wave of a wand.

Best yet are the mini-interviews from the cast and crew, whose interesting–and sometimes entertaining–recollections of filming series one and two (based on the synopses I’ve placed on the site, the book hints at happenings up to the second or third episode) are a treat. The one that stands out to me is historical adviser Alastair Bruce’s conversation with Sophie McShera (Daisy), who complained that she never got to see the house since, as scullery maid, Daisy rarely left the kitchens! The only downside is that there are no quotes from Dame Maggie Smith! I would have loved to hear her thoughts on the series and its success, as well as her position as Grand Dame on the set, but alack alas alack–at least there are plenty of “Violetisms” sprinkled throughout the text.

But yet again I cannot express how lovely this book is! I spent the first day or two just looking at the book because it’s so beautiful, and the following week was spent absorbing all of the information in the book–and even then I’ve saved a few sections to read later on. Basically, The World of Downton Abbey is the entire series in print format, and for all of you Downtonites, this book is well worth purchasing!

FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for review from HarperCollins

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Comments

4 thoughts on “Friday Reads: The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes”

  1. Great idea to make a video showing the book for the review! I couldn’t read the comment bubbles because they were mostly cut off, but it looks beautifully designed.

  2. The comment bubbles are only cut off it you view the vid here, in small. click on the youtube icon in the lower RH corner of the vid window (‘watch on youtube’) and they come up fine. 🙂

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