- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Hodder (Oct. 2 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444730843
- ISBN-13: 978-1444730845
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.1 x 19.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #93,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey Paperback – Oct 2 2012
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bright, breezy and unpretentious in style.―Guardian
About the Author
Lady Fiona Carnarvon married the current Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they took over Highclere eight years ago.
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Top Customer Reviews
In reading this book, I was hoping to learn details of the discovery that perhaps had not been well publicized. I was not disappointed. The official stories focus on Howard Carter as the daring archaeologist and Lord Carnarvon as the benefactor, but this image isn't strictly true. I won't go into more detail because I don't want to spoil it for other Egyptophiles. I'll just say that reading Carnarvon's story was fascinating.
Unfortunately, the bulk of the book was not about King Tut's tomb. It was about some family and their home. I jest - the rest of the book was equally interesting for the insight it gave into Victorian class society. I was particularly struck by the complexity of the operation of a country estate. The estate included not only the home and household staff, but also foresters, millers, artisans, etc. Essentially, the Carnarvons supported an entire community. The amount of wealth required to do this is staggering. But the Carnarvons, Lady Almina in particular, weren't content to just maintain their luxurious lifestyle. During WWI, Lady Almina spent her own fortune to turn her home into a hospital, and took charge of the venture personally to ensure recuperating soldiers were well cared for.
My one criticism is that it all seems too wonderful. Lady Almina is too perfect. There were rumours and scandals at the time, there were indications that Lady Almina had a dark side, and certainly Victorian English society was not all rosy. Inclusion of some of the less savoury aspects of life at Highclere would have made for a more well-rounded narrative.
All in all, a great book for history buffs and, presumably, fans of "Downton Abbey".
Lucky for us that Lady Carnarvon took the time and monumental effort to piece together the history of Highclere Castle and the numerous people who have lived there.
This being said I personally had a hard time keeping track of all the dates and the people involved..........too bad for me.
If you enjoy history like I do...........great read with a hot cup of tea!!!!!