A Great Read Reminiscent of Downton Abbey
By Fay Weldon
St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 312 pages
For those who have fallen in love with the British drama Downton Abbey, the time between the airing of one season and the next can seem painfully long. However, relief may be had in the form of Fay Weldon’s Habits of the House.
In Habits, we meet the Earl of Dilberne and his family at the end of 1899. The Earl faces significant financial difficulties, and those difficulties put pressure on his two children to make advantageous marriages that they do not necessarily welcome. In the meantime, the Earl’s wife, Isobel, attempts to keep up appearances in their household, even refusing to entertain a Jewish family who the Earl owes large sums of money. Into all of this enters a young American heiress with a questionable past and her rather brassy mother, while the servants quietly keep everything running smoothly.
Fay Weldon, an award-winning writer of the pilot for Upstairs, Downstairs and a nominee and winner of several prestigious literary awards, has written a delightfully entertaining novel which is the first in a trilogy. Maybe readers can occupy themselves with Downton Abbey, as they await the release of the next two books in her series.
Reviewed by Annie Peters