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Monday, January 6, 2014

Downton Abbey view-alikes, reloaded

Reposted and updated by Alana T.

Are you fully immersed in Season 4 of Downton Abbey?  Perhaps you can't get enough?  If so, the library has some options for you.  Most of these selections were part of the original blog post in early 2013, but there are some new additions. Enjoy the expanded list of movies and novels to fill your Edwardian cravings.

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, Series 1.  Set in 1920's Melbourne, this Australian series is based on the murder mysteries of Kerry Greenwood.  This series is considerably more light-hearted than Downton Abbey, but covers the myriad changes taking place in Australia after WWI.  The characters are fantastic, but the hidden gems are the clothes and setting.  A must see!

Cold Comfort Farm (book by Stella Gibbons).  This 1932 novel is a cutting and hilarious tale about a city-bred young, 'orphaned' woman and her move to the country to live with her poor (and ill-mannered) relatives.  The DVD features some well known Brits (Kate Beckinsale, Stephen Fry, Ian McKellen) having a great time mocking the class system of the post war 20's

The Buccaneers (book by Edith Wharton and BBC adaptation). A visually rich production, the DVD follows four American heiresses, marrying into titled British families who are nonetheless desperate for American money.  The story follows the generation of Brits that created the Crawley dilema featured in Downton Abbey - her American money tied to his British estate.

Gosford Park (DVD)  set in the 30's, written by Julian Fellowes (creator of Downton Abbey), stars Helen Mirren, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Clive Owen   The story follows the the untangling of a murder and the intricate and delicate relationships among the staff and family.  The unsung star is an amazing house, very similar to the one featured in Downton Abbey

House of Eliott (DVD) Set in London during the 1920s, the series follows the story of two British sisters who turn their dressmaking business into a fashion house.  It is a complementary look at a changing British society set after the first world war..

Looking for a good read?
Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That "Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Margaret Powell. Looking for a good non-fiction read?  This is the one.  A fascinating read about a woman who served in great houses, saw everything, and wrote it all down.

The Crimson Rooms by Katherine McMahon may take place in 1924, but Edwardian morals and the ghosts of WWI infuse the tale with a sense of repression and unease. It tells the story of a young female lawyer as she deals with her first murder case, a family scandal, and an illicit love affair.

The Fox's Walk by Annabel Davis-Goff. After 10-year-old Alice Moore is left in the care of her autocratic grandmother at a country estate during World War I, she is forced to piece together her world, which is on the brink of revolution, from overheard conversations, servants’ gossip and her own keen observations.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. A story set in England between the two world wars about an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (also a DVD adaption). A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England.

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