For Downton Abbey fans, the recent conclusion of Season 4 on PBS brings a long wait before we get to enjoy more of Lady Mary, Tom Branson, Anna, and our other favorite characters. If you are missing Downton Abbey, why not try some of the Downton Abbey readalikes that the AADL has to offer? The library has some wonderful fiction and non-fiction books that will transport you back to the time period of Downton Abbey, making the wait for Season 5 a bit easier!
Try Lady Almina and the Read Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, the fascinating story of the real family that inspired the creation of the television show, written by the Countess of Carnarvon, an inhabitant of the castle today. The true story and the show have many parallels, and this amazing book draws on diary entries, letters, photographs and remaining physical materials to paint a vivid picture of life at Highclere Castle during the early twentieth century. This book also has a companion: Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey, which tells the story of the American woman who married the man who would eventually become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon. Similar to Cora and Lord Grantham, Lady Catherine and her husband must struggle to cope with changes in the traditions of the British aristocracy during the tumultuous period after World War I.
If fiction is more your style, try the sweeping novel Belle Cora, the story of a determined woman who was orphaned at a young age, sent into near slavery at her aunt and uncle’s farm, and eventually ends up in Gold Rush California, the adventures piling up along the way. The story paints a vivid picture of the United States during the mid-nineteenth century. We also have A Star For Mrs. Blake, the story of five American women who travel to France in the early 1930s to seek out the graves of their sons, who all died during World War I. The women are drastically different and meet for the first time right before they set out on their journey. Readers of A Star For Mrs. Blake will enjoy this moving story and recognize the book’s descriptions of the post-war era in Europe from the more recent seasons of Downton Abbey.
We also have Park Lane, the story of a young girl who takes a position as a housemaid in 1914 on Park Lane in London and gets caught up in the lives of the home’s wealthy inhabitants, and A Spider in the Cup, a mystery set in 1933 that begins with the discovery of the body of a young woman in the Thames River.
Finally, why not try your hand at a few Downton Abbey-motivated recipes while you wait for Season 5? AADL has The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook and Edwardian Cooking: 80 recipes inspired by Downton Abbey’s elegant meals.
Happy Downton-inspired reading (and cooking)!