Publisher’s Weekly had an article recently saying that the whole world is watching Downton Abbey, the Public Broadcasting series about a family of the aristocracy and their servants in Great Britain before the First World War. Steele Memorial Library has the first season of the series on DVD; so if you missed it or a part of it and want to catch up, come to the library and check out one of the DVDs. Downton Abbey reminds a lot of people of the similar television series from Great Britain called Upstairs, Downstairs, about another family and their servants in Great Britain (we have that on DVD also). If you like those two, you might also want to check out Gosford Park, a mystery set in the 1932 country estate of Sir William McCordell.
If you are familiar with these and like to soak up the atmosphere with a book, Deborah Mitford Cavendish the Duchess of Devonshire, age ninety, has written a memoir called Wait for Me. She is the youngest of the scandalous Mitford sisters, members of the British aristocracy. You can find it in the new book section under call number BD5111. Another recent book about the British aristocracy is That Woman: the Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, call number BW 7661s. We also have Below Stairs: the classic kitchen maid’s memoir that inspired Upstairs, Downstairs by Margaret Powell (call number for that is BP 885). There are lots of biographies of the nobility in Great Britain in the biography section of the library. Stop at the reference desk for suggestions or just type in nobility AND Great Britain and click on “everything” in the online catalog.
A fiction book that has won awards this year and is the story of an American who goes to England to find a husband among the nobility of Great Britain (as did the wife of the Duke in Downton Abbey) at the turn of the twentieth century is titled American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin. Those who love history will remember that the great robber barons of Newport’s daughters often did the grand tour in hopes of gaining a title. Jennie Churchill, the mother of Winston Churchill comes to mind and one of the books about her is called: Lady Randolph Churchill; the story of Jennie Jerome by Anita Leslie.
Phyllis Rogan, Reference Librarian
Steele Memorial Library