Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey
By The Countess Of Carnarvon
(Broadway Books, Paperback, 9780385344968, 368pp.)
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
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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 who provide Highclere Castle with continuity between generations.
FIONA, the 8th Countess of CARNARVON married Geordie, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they acceded to Highclere ten years ago upon the death of Geordie’s father. Highclere has become one of the most famous houses in England as the location for the PBS series Downton Abbey.
“Downton Abbey diehards busy speculating about what the future might hold for Lady Mary Crawley and the rest of the Grantham family might want to sate their obsession with this well-timed history of the castle’s real inhabitants from 1923 to 1945.”— BUST
"The lives of the actual people who experienced love, heartache and service at Highclere Castle, the real name of the majestic building showcased on Downton Abbey, are told in this riveting book. Although technically a historical biography, the Countess of Carnarvon has written a book that reads more like an exceptional novel."— Deseret News
"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."— Publishers Weekly
“Gossipy and fun, with a good history lesson—sure to delight Downton Abbey fans.” — Kirkus Reviews
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