'Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes' Emmy Award-winning PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell. In this transporting companion piece to the New York Times best seller Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, Catherine, a beautiful and spirited American woman who married Lady Almina's son, the man who would become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, presides over the grand estate during a tumultuous time for the British aristocracy. Following the First World War, many of the great houses of England faded as their owners fortunes declined in the new political and social world of the 1920's and 1930's. As war loomed, Highclere's survival as the family home of the Carnarvons was again in the balance--as was peace between the nations of Europe.
Using copious materials--including diaries and scrapbooks--from the castle's archives, the current Countess of Carnarvon brings alive a very modern story in a beautiful and fabled setting, paying particular attention to the staff who provide Highclere Castle with continuity between generations.'
I am not a huge fan of nonfiction books, but when it comes to history and clever writing, well I can read anything. This book was a great read and it was jam packed with information and historical details. I thought that Catherine Wendell was an interesting person and I enjoyed learning about her life. Catherine was born in America and her parents have taken her on an European tour in the hopes of finding a titled husband. As luck would have it, Catherine ends up meeting and falling in love with the Earl of Carnarvon. This book is the story of Catherine and the 6th Earl of Carnarvon and it was wonderful to read from the first page until the very last.
I have read The Countess of Carnarvon's previous book Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey and enjoyed that one immensely and knew that I would enjoy this one as well. I find it interesting that the current Countess of Carnarvon would want to write about her family's past. I also find it interesting that they have so much information about their ancestors. Highclere Castle has become famous over the past couple of years due to the filming of Downton Abbey and I like learning about the castle's storied past.
If you love Downton Abbey and want to learn more about the castle where the series takes place, I would highly recommend this book and its predecessor as good reads to inquire about. The writing is engaging, creative and not one bit boring. The people that this book is focused upon are interesting and I found learning about them to be quite fun.
Overall Rating: 5
Title: Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey
Author: Countess of Carnarvon
Publisher: Broadway Books
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Get It: Amazon; Barnes & Noble
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the Publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.