Habits of the House

By Fay Weldon
(St. Martin's Press, Hardcover, 9781250026620, 314pp.)

Publication Date: January 15, 2013

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Description

From the award-winning novelist and writer of Upstairs Downstairs, the launch of a brilliant new trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey

As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers.

As the writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs, Downstairs—Fay Weldon brings a deserved reputation for magnificent storytelling. With wit and sympathy—and no small measure of mischief—Habits of the House plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct.




About the Author
FAY WELDON is an English novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who, at the age of sixteen, lived in a grand London townhouse as the daughter of the housekeeper. In addition to winning a Writers' Guild Award for the pilot of the original "Upstairs Downstairs, " she is a Commander of the British Empire whose books include "Praxis", shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction; "The Heart of the Country, " winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize; "Worst Fears, " shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award; and "Wicked Women, " which won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. She lives in England.
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