As a huge fan of Downton Abbey, I think I had higher expectations for this novel. The writing was okay, the story cute, although dragged out unnecessarily at times, and the characters were rather predictable.
Very disappointed with this. If you want to read a good book about the British Regency, look elsewhere. Seriously.
For very good Regency romances, read Georgette Heyer. For the best Regency romances, read Jane Austen.
I expected so much more. It was a watered down version of early 1800's aristocracy with a love child that wasn't really. The story wasn't exciting and I found myself skimming without missing any real important parts of the story. Maybe it would work as a TV movie.
Sophia Trenchard and Lord Edmund Bellasis fall in love and get married in a top secret elopement. But is the marriage legal? And was the child conceived that day the legal heir of illegitimate?
Apparently this novel was first released in 11 weekly episodes, but I read the whole book over the course of two days.
The book is set predominantly in 1841. Fellowes takes the reader by the hand and takes them through a mystery and a romance filled with class issues that range from the servants to the upper echelons of society.
If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, you will probably enjoy this book as it takes care to make sure details are all correct and accounted for. Julian Fellowes is well able to write a historical book with ease. Plot points range from the legitimacy of a marriage to the future of the offspring of said relationship. It looks at class conflict with servants, traders, and upper class all being put on display. The story isn't a huge revelation of a new storyline, it is a romance of sorts, but rather wraps itself around tried and true topics that makes Fellowes an ace at the genre.
There is only the briefest of chapters to introduce us to Sophia and Edmund. From this speedy introduction the reader is left to try and determine if Edmund was a scoundrel who seduced the innocent Sophia or if he was an honourable man. Then we are taken 25 years into the future where the progeny of this relationship and is shown to be good looking man, kind, honourable, and blessed with a natural ability in business. In a manner, he was the perfect son born unfortunately into illegitimacy. Fellowes explores the uncomfortable mixing of class ranks in this book.
A great read for the historically minded.
Julian Fellowes is a genius especially when he puts his stories on film. I've never been a fan of long drawn out British historical novels or films until I came across Downton Abby; I loved every moment of it. So when I picked up Belgravia, I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into it. From a reader's standpoint, I found the characters one-dimensional. It was as if Julian had a specific actor or actors in mind when he was penning this and as a result, the characters didn't emerge well on paper. I didn't "get" the tension on the eve of the battle of Waterloo or the intricacies of having a supplier as a guest at a grand ball. Figuring that there will be a BBC or Masterpiece Theatre production down the line, I closed the book and will wait for the movie where actors can bring the scenes and characters alive.
Although enjoyable, this book was not exactly great. I agree with the NYT reviewer about the characters being underdeveloped.
But a nice enough read for those of us who are in Downton withdrawal.
Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame has written a richly-detailed study of 19th- century English social life. Reminded me of Cynthia Harrod-Eagles Morland Dynasty books.
Couldn't put it down. Gave myself a migraine.
This was written by Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, and it shows -- this feels a lot like a season of Downton (albeit in an earlier time period), with lots of upstairs-downstairs gossiping and shenanigans, family secrets, evil plots that backfire, etc. I actually think it would have worked better as a miniseries than as a book -- some of the characters are a bit one-dimensional, in a way that I think would feel less jarring onscreen than on the page -- but it's a fast and enjoyable enough read for fans of British period pieces.
Two families are united by a secret after the Battle of Waterloo. As the setting moves from Belgium to England, issues of social status play a role in the plot's development.
Per the talent of Fellowes' writing, the reader becomes acquainted with many characters in the novel. Their personalities are flawed, but most are likable and they become as familiar as the characters on Downton.
Although Downton is referenced herein, I consider this novel to be unique in its own printed word. Very fun read!
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