Is anyone else out there STILL mourning the fact the Downton Abbey is no longer running? Hands down my favorite TV show, I was elated to find Belgravia, a book written by the creator of Downton, at my local library!
Belgravia tells the story of two families who become intertwined in an unexpected and scandalous way following the Duchess of Richmond’s grand ball on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Both families share an interest in young businessman Charles Pope, though no one else in society can understand why. The truth getting out would mean ruin for one family and delight for the other. This story contains everything we loved about Downton Abbey – love and loss, secrets and risk, intrigue and drama.
I thoroughly enjoyed being transported back two centuries, as Fellowes paid particular attention to period details such as the intricacies of ladies’ dress, the ins and outs of 19th-century cotton trading, and the complexities of Victorian-era social classes.
I also appreciated Fellowes giving his readers insight into the thoughts, motivations, and inner struggles of his web of characters as the story unfolded. He was not shy in disclosing the faults of the “good characters” and the admirable qualities of the “bad characters”.
Some of the middle sections became slightly dull, but even so, I thought the book took a pleasant pace with just the right amount of twists and turns.
Belgravia was originally serialized, meaning it was published in sequential installments, in the true form of many 19th-century novels. There are several accompaniments to the novel as well, including the free mobile app (or website) and the youtube channel, which provides context for the story (covering topics anywhere from “How Victorian Ladies Shopped” to “Life Below Stairs” to “Underwear“). The audiobook version, narrated by Juliet Stevenson, has raving reviews on Audible.
As I read, I got lost in the world of Belgravia in the best way possible. This novel has calmed my craving for Downton-esque entertainment, at least for now…
Author: Julian Fellowes
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
Published: July 5, 2016 by Grand Central Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction