January 20, 2012 | SuzyQ
- Movies & Television
- Edwardian England
- World War I
- World War I setting
- May We Suggest
- Historical Fiction
Set in an Edwardian country house in 1912, the popular PBS series Downton Abbey centers on the Crawley family, their servants and their life at their grand country home. However, the death of the Crawley heir aboard the Titanic, sets in motion a succession of changes for both the family and the servants. The second season — which began on PBS on January 8 — has moved forward to the years 1916-17 and portrays the effect that World War I has on all of their lives. This Emmy Award winning series is written by Julian Fellowes and stars Hugh Bonneville, Maggie Smith, and Elizabeth McGovern. If you enjoy this period of history try some of the following titles.
The American heiress: a novel by Daisy Goodwin — Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England.
Below Stairs — The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" by Powell, Margaret — The remarkable true story of a woman who served in one of the great houses of England as a kitchen maid.
The buccaneers [Large print] by Edith Wharton — The story of five rich New York girls who travel to England in the 1870s in search of titled husbands.
A countess below stairs by Eva Ibbotson — After the Russian Revolution turns her world upside down, Anna, a young Russian countess, has no choice but to flee to England. Penniless, Anna hides her aristocratic background and takes a job as a servant in the household of the esteemed Westerholme family.
The Edwardians by Vita Sackville-West — Set in England in 1905, siblings Sebastian and Viola are tied by family duty to upper-crust society — all the while despising it.
The Englishman's daughter: a true story of love and betrayal in World War I by Ben Macintyre — In the first days of World War I four British soldiers found themselves trapped on the wrong side of the Western Front in a tiny village just a few miles from the Somme. Here, the villagers conspired to feed, clothe and protect them under the very noses of the Germans. A true story.
Fall of giants by Ken Follett — The story of five interrelated families — American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh — as they move through the World War I, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women's suffrage.
Falling angels by Tracy Chevalier — At the dawn of the 20th century, Maude — the plain daughter of an upper-crust family, and Livia, the beautiful daughter of a working-class family — begin to forge a friendship. But as the years pass, the friends begin to grow apart as English society is pushed into a new, more liberal age.
The fox's walk by Annabel Davis-Goff — During World War I, ten-year-old Alice Moore is left in the care of her autocratic grandmother at Ballydavid, a lovely country house in County Waterford, Ireland, where she is forced to piece together her world from overheard conversations, servants' gossip, and her own keen observations.
George, Nicholas, and Wilhelm: three royal cousins and the road to World War I by Miranda Carter — The pre-World War I era is brought to life with this history of the three royal first cousins — King George V of Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia — and their growing animosities and rivalries which brought an end to dynastic rule in Europe with the beginning of World War I
Howards end by E. M. Forster — Set in Edwardian England, this is the story of three vastly dissimilar classes of people: the Schlegels (educated and independently wealthy); the Wilcoxes (nouveau riche); and Leonard Bast, an ambitious but struggling bank clerk.
Northrop Hall by Margaret Bacon — In the first decade of the 20th century, life at Northrop Hall for the Arndale family carries on much as it has done for centuries. But the storm-clouds are gathering over Europe, and with the outbreak of World War I , the world of the Arndales and their servants is turned upside down.
The perfect summer: dancing into shadow: England in 1911 by Juliet Nicolson — The story of a glorious English summer in 1911 when the world was on the verge of irrevocable change.
The remains of the day by Kazuo Ishiguro — At the end of his three decades of service at Darlington Hall, an English butler embarks on a country drive, during which he looks back over his career.
Brideshead revisited. Disc 1 [videodisc] by Granada Television — The story of three decades — from the early twenties to World War II — of the wild and eccentric Sebastian Flyte and the aristocratic Marchmain family.
The Edwardians. Discs 1 & 2 [videodisc] by British Broadcasting Corporation — The lives and careers of nine prominent Edwardian figures.
Gosford Park [videodisc] — Set at the country estate of Sir William McCordle in 1932, the lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a hunting party weekend are interconnected when one of the group is murdered.
The House of Eliott. Series 1, Disc 1 [videodisc] — Beatrice and Evangeline Eliott, penniless orphans, find employment and romance in the world of London fashion design during the roaring twenties.
Manor house [videodisc] — A fascinating look at the British class system of the early 1900s.
The remains of the day [videodisc] by Columbia Pictures — The story of blind devotion and repressed love between a fanatically proper butler and a high-spirited, strong-minded young housekeeper employed by a British lord.
The shooting party [videodisc] — A group of aristocratic men and women gather for a shooting party at an estate in the English countryside and go through the elaborate rituals of an Edwardian country house party.
Upstairs, downstairs. The complete first season, Volumes 1 & 2 [videodisc] by London Weekend Television — This 1971 Masterpiece Theatre series follows the lives of both the family and the servants in the London townhouse at 165 Eaton Place.