Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes s Emmy Award-winning PBS show Downton Abbey , and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell.Read more...
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Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes s Emmy Award-winning PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell. In this transporting companion piece to the New York Times bestseller Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, Catherine, a beautiful and spirited American woman who married Lady Almina s son, the man who would become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, presides over the grand estate during a tumultuous time for the British aristocracy. Following the First World War, many of the great houses of England faded as their owners fortunes declined in the new political and social world of the 1920s and 1930s. As war loomed, Highclere s survival as the family home of the Carnarvons was again in the balance as was peace between the nations of Europe.
Using copious materials including diaries and scrapbooks from the castle s archives, the current Countess of Carnarvon brings alive a very modern story in a beautiful and fabled setting, paying particular attention to the staff whoprovideHighclere Castle with continuity between generations.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-11-18
- Reviewer: Staff
This follow-up to the well-received Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey is an excellent depiction of English aristocratic life, notably of the 6th Earl of Carnarvon and his wife, Lady Catherine, during the years leading up to and during WWII. A "flirtatious and fun" beauty, American-born Catherine Wendell married Lord Porchester, nicknamed Porchey, who became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon after his father, a renowned Egyptologist credited with discovering the tomb of Tutankhamun, died in 1923. Catherine and Porchey partied during the carefree Roaring ‘20s with other British nobility until the war encroached, bringing air raids, crumbling infrastructure, death and food shortages; their home, Highclere Castle, became a sanctuary for London's young children, and its expansive property—a troop training ground. Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey is Highclere Castle's fictional "alter ego"; much of the 8th (and current) Countess of Carnarvon's genealogical and historical research—diaries, letters, and photographs—is from Highclere's archives, which create a compelling portrait of the era's lives, deaths, politics, scandals and the war's impact on Porchey and Catherine's family. Lady Carnarvon's narrative is a vivid time-stamp of a tempestuous period in history, aptly incorporating its political situation and social structure, to satisfy history buffs and Anglophiles. (Nov.)