Monday, March 19, 2012

World of Downton Abbey

The World of Downton Abbey Jessica Fellowes

I still have a slew of Cybils-related reviews to parcel out on Nonfiction Monday, but I really wanted to share this one today, which is For Fans Only! (Which I know is large parts of the kid/teen book blog world. I read your recaps every Monday.)

Fellowes (wife of series writer and creator Julian Fellowes) gives us a beautiful companion book to help us through now that Season 2 is over.

The best part is that, for the most part, this book is not about the mechanics of the show, but placing the show in the greater context of history and giving the fan more background. There are chapters on such things as family, society, war, style, and estates. General information about things like typical aristocratic Edwardian family life is given and then tied into the show-- examples often come from history and the series. The series examples are the best, because they often give us story and character background that we don’t know. Like the fact that Cora’s from Cincinnati and her father’s fortune was in dry goods.

It’s lushly illustrated with large stills from the series (often with insight and commentary from the actors), as well as historical memorabilia and photographs. There are many side bars and pull-out boxes that are, frankly, often in a weird spot. flow wise. Eventually I went back to reading the way they taught us in junior high-- read all the side bar stuff first and then go back and read the chapter.

Then, of course, there is a chapter on the workings of the show. This is where you learn about their continuity issues-- the downstairs set is in the studio outside London, and the upstairs set is on location at Highclere Castle. So, when a footman is filmed carrying a dish upstairs from the kitchen... it has to appear the same way 2 weeks later and 60 miles away when he’s filmed coming into the dining room.

It’s fascinating and beautiful, just like the show itself.

Book Provided by... my local library

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