Thursday, March 5, 2015


Many readers may not remember that the place to discuss and gush over favorite television programs used to be around the water cooler at work. Social media has replaced the proverbial water cooler, but the discussions continue and a favorite topic is the PBS program Downton Abbey. Set in England and beginning in 1912, it is about a fictional aristocratic family, the Crawleys, and their many servants who all live a soap opera existence—with gorgeous sets and costumes. If you have not caught the Downton Abbey bug, it’s not too late as the Monrovia Public Library has the first 4 seasons in its DVD section. The Library also has terrific books about the production and the real life counterpart, the actual estate where the series is filmed.

Filled with color photos, behind-the-scenes tidbits and even recipes that the servants may have cooked and served to the Crawley family, A Year in the Life of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes is a delightful coffee table book. The book covers one year in the lives of the characters.
Downton Abbey is filmed at  the magnificent Highclere Castle in Hampshire England. 


Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle is a non-fiction look at the countess who was the inspiration for our fictional Lady Crawley.  In 1895 Almina, the daughter of an American industrialist, married the Earl of Carnarvon so he could use her dowry to pay for his expensive ancestral home. The author is the current Lady Fiona Carnarvon.

Does the name Carnarvon ring a bell?  It should. He was the Brit who supplied the funding to dig for the tomb of a well-known pharaoh. The Search for the Gold of Tutankhamen by Arnold Brackman is the story how King Tut was found and how a 'mummy’s curse' killed Lord Carnarvon soon after the discovery and left Almina a widow.

That’s the thing about a library. You never know where a book or DVD on one shelf will lead to something equally interesting.

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