Sunday, February 23, 2014

Review: Long Live the King by Fay Weldon

Description (from cover):

'As 1901 comes to an end, there is much to be grateful for: the Dilberne fortune has been restored by the recent marriage of Arthur Dilberne to Chicago heiress Minnie O'Brien, and the grand Dilberne Court, with its one hundred rooms, has been saved. London Society is in a frenzy of anticipation for the coronation of the new king, Edward VII, and Lord Robert and Lady Isobel are caught up in the lavish preparations of the Royal household. Still, Lady Isobel has ample time to fret over the future of her family.

Minnie is pregnant with a potential heir, but is still completely untrained in the particular ways of the English aristocracy. Lady Isobel's plain but clever daughter, Rosina, is refusing to accept a maidenly spinsterhood and is threatening to elope to Australia. And the fate of the Dilberne's recently orphaned niece, sixteen-year-old Adela, is the cause of some debate. Isobel and Minnie want to take her in; Robert and Arthur do not. While they argue, Adela runs away and joins a traveling group of spiritualists and has a lifesaving run-in with the king.

With Long Live the King, Fay Weldon continues the magnificent trilogy that began with Habits of the House. As the award-winning writer for the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs, Weldon brings her deservedly famous wit and insight to this novel of love and desire, morals and manners.'

My thoughts:

This book is continuously being touted to the Downton Abbey set, but while it has similarities, it is quite different from the popular television show. The characters are nothing alike, the only thing is that they live in quite similar times with the servants and the upper household being two separate worlds. I like this series, for the similarities, but mostly for the differences. Weldon does a fabulous job of creating characters that are engaging, but the plot is very predictable. There is nothing that is shocking in this story and everything ends up exactly as you think it will when you open the book and begin reading on the first page. 

I love the changing times that this book portrays after the death of the overbearing Queen Victoria. At that time, the world was a changing stage with old traditions falling off and new ones making a way among the fashionable set. The downstairs servants are quickly having to adapt to the new ways of life and it was a very interesting time. I can only imagine how hard it was for people to adapt to the old traditions that had been followed for hundreds of years being replaced by automobiles and women taking more a presence in politics and the world.

I like the characters and this trilogy, so I will continue reading the last in this series, The New Countess. This series really doesn't knock my off my feet, but it is entertaining in its own way. I really want to read the last one to see how everything ends up, but this series definitely isn't one that will be unforgettable. I regret to say that, but it's like everything else that has been done a million times. There is really nothing that sets this series apart from the slew of Downton Abbey literature that has taken over the book world. 

Overall Rating: 2.5

Title:  Long Live the King
Author:  Fay Weldon
Series:  Love and Inheritance #2
Publisher:  St. martin's Press
Publication Date:  May 7, 2013
Pages:  352
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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