Books to Cure Your Downton Abbey Withdrawal

There were 9.6 million of us riveted to the Downton Abbey finale. No one really asked me, but…in my opinion, writer Julian Fellowes wrapped the series with a very satisfying velvet ribbon bow. Left to find a new Sunday night addiction,  I have a list of books to keep you living in that post-Edwardian opulence a while longer.

If you Love Life in the Abbey

The great home at the center of the Grantham lineage is an important member of the cast.From the grand halls, immense fireplaces (my favorite detail) and innumerable rooms, one can only imagine being a resident within those grand walls. The dichotomy of the upstairs and downstairs residents was at the crux of the juicy tension of the series. How could an estate so vast for one class, be a fortress inescapable for others? Have fun examining the manners, morals, etiquette and style that made life on an estate so stately.Downton Abbey books to love by Pretty Page Turner

If you insist on wearing your elbow-length gloves at all times, A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey is the book for you. By writer Julian Fellowe’s niece, it is a true look into the seasonal life at the Abbey. From the recipes, the decorations and social events, you can reconstruct life as the landed gentry.

Downton Abbey books to love by Pretty Page Turner

If you Love Cora Crawley

Cora is the dutiful daughter of the Gilded Age. The time period from 1870-1900, wealthy American industrialists (disparagingly monikered new money by the likes of Violet Crawley) would marry their daughters to English aristocracy. This matrimonial quid pro quo benefitted everyone. The large American dowry financed the often crumbling English estates while the historic English names lent credibility to the status-hungry American family. To have your daughter become a titled gentry was the final step to attaining the highest social status. Marriages based on such financial foundations were rarely as successful as Robert and Cora Crawley, but if you want to understand the life of an American heiress that becomes the head of an English household, I offer a few selections.
Downton Abbey Books to Love by Pretty Page Turner

Cora’s life in England ended well, but Consuelo Vanderbilt‘s story is the non-fictualized experience of most daughters of priviledge.  An American heiress, Consuelo dutifully married into English aristocracy, but found the life stifling and unimaginative. She eventually found an exceptional balance of how to extrapolate old world elegance into the post WWII world.
Downton Abbey books to love by Pretty Page Turner

If you love the downstairs antics of Bates, Barrow and Branson

The Downton Abbey staff offers another level of drama to each episode.  Don’t forget that Julian Fellowes also wrote “Gosford Park” so he obviously knows the ways of the servant class. We were entranced as we watched people trying to live a life as they served as the background of the upper class.
Downton Abbey era Books to Love by Pretty Page Turner

Rose tells the story of what it was like to have a front row seat to the jet-set social life of Lady Astor, the archetype for Cora Crawley’s mother (brilliantly played by Shirley MacLaine).

Servants tells the exhausting labor intensive life downstairs, just steps away from a world of unreachable opulence.

Downton Abbey Era books to Love by Pretty Page Turner

If you love to spill the tea

If you were able to attain an afternoon visit with Violet Crawley, the Dowager Countess of Grantham, of course there would be scones and finger sandwiches, but there would also be TEA. As the earliest form of social media, the ladies would share the tasty tales of which families were penniless, who’s marriage was failing and the always plentiful royal gossip. Don’t fool yourself, the British may be known for a still upper lip, but the ladies’ lower lips were very loose.
Downton Abbey books to Love by Pretty Page Turner

If You Wonder What happens next

Every moment of the finale I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. Would someone object at Edith’s wedding? Could Mary and her new husband really be able to make a go in business? Would Robert accept Cora’s pioneering work? I was happily satisfied with the sunny ending, but we all know that the leisurely life of this aristocratic family was coming to a close. This book will show you the future that was heading their way.
Downton Abbey era books to love by Pretty Page Turner

 

If you’re really addicted; you will enjoy: