21. January 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Adult Books, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Tracy

The New Countess by Fay Weldon, 336 pages, read by Tracy, on 01/02/2014

From the award-winning novelist and writer of Upstairs Downstairs, the third book in a brilliant trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey. England, 1903. Lord Robert and Lady Isobel Dilberne and the entire grand estate, with its hundred rooms, is busy planning for a visit from Edward VII and Queen Alexandra just a few months a way. Preparations are elaborate and exhaustive: the menus and fashions must be just so, and so must James, the new heir and son of Arthur Dilberne and Chicago heiress, Minnie O’Brien. But there are problems. Little James is being reared to Lady Isobel’s tastes, not Minnie’s. And Mrs. O’Brien is visiting from America and causing trouble. Meanwhile, the Dilbernes’ niece, Adela is back and stirring up hysteria in the servants hall by claiming the house is cursed. The royal visit is imperiled, but so are the Dilberne finances once more. His Lordship is under tremendous stress, and the pecking order will soon be upset as everything at Dilberne Court changes.The New Countess is the final novel in Fay Weldon’s exciting trilogy that began with Habits of the House and Long Live the King. The bestselling novelist and award-winning writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs lifts the curtain on British society, upstairs and downstairs, under one roof.

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