Tons of Stuff to Keep You Busy Until Downton Abbey Returns

As we head into the doldrums of the post-holiday season, some of us are disappointed that our favorite shows are on hiatus. If one of your favorites is Downton Abbey, I have compiled a list of TV shows, movies and books to keep your mind off the wind and the cold and the long dark nights ahead:

TV and FILM

The Secret of Crickley Hall — A 3 part mini-series from the BBC based on the novel by James Herbert about a London family renting an old country house which is haunted by its past. The episodes flash between 1943 and 2012, ending in a dramatic revelation. Very well made and addictive to watch.

Upstairs, Downstairs (both old and new) — watch the lives of the nobility and their household servants intertwine amid the complexities of social class structure.

A Room With a View — “Lucy Honeychurch falls in love while on a visit to Florence and must choose between fulfilling her social role or following her heart.”–from Novelist

The House of Eliott — Two sisters, Evangeline and Beatrice, have established a fashion house that creates a sensation in the London of the Roaring Twenties.  The sisters and the House of Eliott face changing times, cutthroat competition and romance as they survive in the world of fashion.  But the world of haute couture is shrinking.  In order to survive, can the House of Eliott realize that ready-to-wear is fashion’s future?

NONFICTION BOOKS (all descriptions below from Novelist)

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The world of Downton Abbey (Dec 2011)
By: Fellowes, Jessica

A companion book to the popular British series about the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants offers insights into the story and characters and background information on British society in the early years of the twentieth century.

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Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey: the lost legacy of Highclere Castle (Dec 2011)
By: Carnarvon, Fiona, Countess of
Examines the life of Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon, and the events in Highclere Castle during the First World War

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Below stairs: the classic kitchen maid’s memoir that inspired ‘Upstairs, downstairs’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ (Jan 2012)
By: Powell, Margaret, 1907-1984
Chronicles the experiences of a 1920s maid working in the great houses of England, detailing the disparate lives of the upper class and their servants, the class struggles inherent in the relationship, and daily life as a servant.

up

Upstairs & downstairs: the illustrated guide to the real world of Downton Abbey (Sep 2012)
By: Warwick, Sarah
A tour of a day in an Edwardian-era manor begins with the work of servants and culminates in a dinner party, in a text containing accounts from masters and servants and profiles of such individuals as Winston Churchill and Virginia Woolf.

life

Life below stairs: true lives of Edwardian servants (Jan 2013), Forthcoming
By: Maloney, Alison
A detailed guidebook to what work was really like for servants during the historical period famously depicted in the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey draws on first-hand accounts to reveal how members of staff were subjected to grueling labor, family secrets and society scandals. By the best-selling author of The Mum’s Book

FICTION 

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Habits of the house (Jan 2013), Forthcoming
By: Weldon, Fay, 1931-
The award-winning writer for Upstairs Downstairs presents a first entry in a new trilogy about the shared lives of masters and servants at the turn of the 20th century, tracing the family life of Cabinet hopeful Lord Robert, who hopes to alleviate financial woes by marrying his son to a disgraced Chicago heiress.

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The uninvited guests (May 2012)
By: Jones, Sadie
One late spring evening in 1912, in the kitchens at Sterne, preparations begin for an elegant supper party in honour of Emerald Torrington’s twentieth birthday.

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The St. Zita society (Aug 2012)
By: Rendell, Ruth, 1930-
Follows the lives of a group of domestic servants who form the Saint Zita Society as a way to air their grievances about their employers.

spy

Her royal spyness (Jul 2007)
By: Bowen, Rhys
A penniless twenty-something member of the British nobility, Lady Victoria puts her sleuthing talents to work when an arrogant Frenchman, who is determined to gain control of her family’s eight-hundred-year-old estate for himself, ends up dead in her bathtub.

maisie

Maisie Dobbs (Jul 2003)
By: Winspear, Jacqueline, 1955-
Maisie Dobbs entered domestic service in 1910 at thirteen, working for Lady Rowan Compton. When her remarkable intelligence is discovered by her employer, Maisie becomes the pupil of Maurice Blanche, a learned friend of the Comptons. In 1929, following an apprenticship with Blanche, Maisie hangs out her shingle: M. Dobbs, Trade and Personal Investigations.

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A lonely death: an Inspector Ian Rutledge mystery (Jan 2011)
By: Todd, Charles
It’s 1920. Three men are dead, all garroted, all war veterans. When a piece of evidence, kept from the public, suggests a much stronger link between the victims and the unknown, it’s up to World War I battered survivor, Scotland Yard Detective Ian Rutledge to find the killer.

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