Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey - Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon

Title: Lady Catherine and the Real Downton Abbey
Author: Fiona, Countess of Carnarvon
Pages: 320
Published: 2013
Challenges: Outdo Yourself
Genre: Non-fiction, Biography, History
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Library

Description: Sometimes the facts are even more extraordinary than the fiction...

This book tells the story of Lady Catherine, a beautiful American girl who became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes' award-winning drama Downton Abbey.

Charming and charismatic, Catherine caught the eye of Lord Porchester (or 'Porchey', as he was known) when she was just 20 years old, and wearing a pale yellow dress at a ball. She had already turned down 14 proposals before she eventually married Porchey in 1922. But less than a year later Porchey’s father died suddenly, and he became the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, inheriting a title and a Castle that changed both their lives forever.

Catherine found herself suddenly in charge of a small army of household staff, and hosting lavish banquets and weekend house parties. Although the couple were very much in love, considerable challenges lay ahead for Catherine. They were immediately faced with the task of saving Highclere when debts threatened to destroy the estate. As the 1920s moved to a close, Catherine’s adored brother died and Catherine began to lose her husband to the distractions London had to offer. When the Second World War broke out, life at the Castle would never be the same again. (via Goodreads)

Thoughts: It was okay.  I felt that the first few chapters were pretty good, but once it got into the middle third of the book, it kinda hit a rut and it kinda lagged.  The final third was interesting to a point and felt that the author basically rehashed things that one can grab from anywhere and did get a little dull at times, even though she did put in more personal information about the family at the time.  If I wasn't a fan of Downton Abbey, I don't know if I would have finished the book

Bottom line: I would recommend the book to those are fans of Downton Abbey and are interested in the history of Highclere Castle (where the show is filmed at and whose lovely interiors you see on the screen). Recommended.

Rating: 3/5

Pages for 2013: 18, 601

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