Julian Fellowes is a multi-award winning writer, whose most famous for writing the smash historical hit Downton Abbey, and the Oscar winning Gosforth Park. As a history buff I completely adored Downton Abbey, with all it’s gorgeous architecture, clothing and dramatic storylines (Mary-Matthews, will they, won’t they, OMG he’s dead). After a bit of Googling trying to fill the hole when the series ended, I discovered that Fellowes had written several historical novels.
Belgravia is set in 1840’s London and follows two interlinked families whose secrets could cause huge scandal and change the lives of many. Ann and James Trenchard’s are a social climbing family who made their money in trade. The noble Brockenhurst’s, Caroline and Peregrine are left with their disappointing, gambling family as heirs.
‘He had made up his mind to do this thing and he found, to his surprise, that his determination was not diminished by Charles’s presence. He had worried that the sight of his intended victim might drain away his purpose, but it had not. He was ready. He wanted to do it. He just had to get the man to the river’s edge.’
Ann Trenchard upon meeting the Countess of Brockenhurst, decides to tell her a scandalous secret which should hopefully bring some joy back into her life. Charles Pope a cotton mill owner, is their grandson, who is a living piece of their deceased children Sophia and Lord Bellasis.
Itv has commissioned a series of 6 episodes to bring to life the story of Belgravia
Snobs – tells the story of Edith Lavery’s rise from middle-class receptionist to a member of the aristocracy through her marriage to Charles, the dull Earl Broughton and her subsequent downfall following an affair with Simon Russell, an incredibly handsome man who see her as his gateaway into high society.
‘It is hard to explain quite why i found these words so moving but I did. It sounds odd to write it in our tawdry era but at that moment I was aware I was in the presence of a good man, a man whose words could be trusted, a man whose morality was more than fashion.’
This tale of truths about the workings of marriage, emotions, society and class in England is all told through the eyes of Edith’s good friend, an actor who remains anonymous, giving Fellowes debut novel an observational fly-on-the-wall feel.
Past Imperfect – Explores terminally ill, multi-millionaire Damian’s, romantic past during the Season in 1968, as he asks his old friend/foe from Cambridge to search for an heir to his fortune. Our narrator, a nameless author reluctantly agrees to track down Damian’s previous girlfriends, causing him to evaluate his youth and be reacquainted with his first love, Serena.
‘Damien thought for a moment and a tiny sigh made his thin shoulders rise and fall. The jacket, which must once have fitted flawlessly, flapped loosely around his shrivelled frame. “I’m dying and I have no beliefs,’ he said simply. ‘This is my only chance of immortality.” Then he was gone and I was left to enjoy his library alone.’
Damian’s former flames included: Lucy Dalton, an early ‘It Girl’ who ended up marrying Philip a boring man whose business ventures all seem to fail. Lady Dagnar Holham, a former Balkan Princess whose husband continually hulimates her. Joanna Langley who died from a heroin overdose, all of these women cause our nameless author to go on an interesting journey, including a dramatic revisit to a spectaculer evening in Portugal.
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