Thursday, September 5, 2013

Summer Reading - The World of Downton Abbey

I know, I know, summer is over and I'm still posting about my summer reading list, but I wanted to let you know what I thought of each of them in case you might be interested in reading them. I especially wanted to write up my review of The World of Downton Abbey (by Jessica Fellowes) as I know there are lots of other Downton Abbey fans out there.

Sources: 1   2  

I really enjoyed this book and the information it provided about the world of Downton Abbey.  It covered life in country homes during the early part of the 20th century and the changes that World War 1 brought about to that lifestyle. There were interesting facts about what daily life was like for the wealthy homeowners and also for the servants. There were details on what one was to wear and when and the rules of etiquette.

Fun fact:  Did you know that married women were served breakfast in bed rather than having to go down to the dining room.  This meant they could relax while eating breakfast and more importantly could avoid having to put on a morning dress which meant one less dress change.

The book also gave interesting tidbits about the filming of Downton Abbey.  There are details about how they built the kitchen and servant's level (it wasn't filmed on location), and how the costumes were designed and sourced.

Fun fact:  Did you know that the costumes for Downton Abbey came almost equally from three sources - some were created for the show, some were vintage items, and some were rented (and sometimes had been used in other movies or TV shows).

Some of the information in the book comes from intimate knowledge of the TV series and life in a country home gained by the author Jessica Fellowes as she is Julian Fellowes's neice.  Not only does Julian Fellowes have the inside scoop on Downton Abbey being the creator, executive producer, and writer of some of the episodes, but he also grew up in country homes so has first hand experience of what life is like there.

The book is full of beautiful photos of country houses and scenes from Downton Abbey.  For me personally it was all about the dresses (check out the details in the gowns in the photo below. Gorgeous, right?)  It is hard to ogle the dresses while watching the TV show as they go by too quickly and there is far too much drama happening to also take in fashion so it was wonderful to have great big glossy photos to pour over.  

The World of Downton Abbey is a definite must-read if you are a fan of the TV series.

This is the last book in my summer reading list (Yay me! I read all six books I had planned on reading).  In case you missed the others, they are:

What have you been reading lately?  

p.s.  Want to go on a virtual tour of the Downton Abbey house? Click here to have a look.

Linked to Literary Friday at Art @ Home


  1. I think the day dresses above are so elegant, and the hats! It sounds like a very interesting read.

  2. My favorite show of all time. I have a couple of books about the real Downton....this one looks good.

  3. I would love this book! How interesting! I can only imagine what life must have been like for the lady of the manor then. I need to get caught-up on watching episodes of Downton Abbey. I also need to catch-up on Dexter! ;P

    I love how eclectic your summer reading list is.....great picks!

    Thanks for linking-up to Literary Friday!


  4. This sounds so interesting. I have not seen the show, but have heard people talk about it. I love the fun fact about lounging in bed and eating breakfast in the morning. Can you imagine?

    Grace, I have some serious catching up to do with your blog. I so enjoy popping in here! It's truly my escape. :)

    Hope you have been well this summer!

  5. Sigh. I can't wait for January when I can lose myself in Downton Abbey again. Your book choice is perfection in my opinion! I saw a special on PBS about the family that owns the estate and their history. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing the fun facts!

  6. Oh my, Grace, you have definitely hit my sweet spot. I am absolutely panting at the thought of a new Downton Abbey series starting in January. I have been suffering from acute withdrawal since the end of the last episode, which seems like decades ago.

    Oh, those glorious clothes!!! Even my husband was bowled over by them.