Customer Reviews for

Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"

Average Rating 3.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(4)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

You will like this book if you like Downtown Abbey! But you will

You will like this book if you like Downtown Abbey! But you will see that the staff at Downton have it good compared to reality!! I cannot imagine todays teenagers living this life! A rough life to earn a roof over your head and a bit of food! The first half of the book...
You will like this book if you like Downtown Abbey! But you will see that the staff at Downton have it good compared to reality!! I cannot imagine todays teenagers living this life! A rough life to earn a roof over your head and a bit of food! The first half of the book is written about her life when she was a teen in service so keep that in mind. It made me appreciate even more than usual how lucky I was that I did not have to go through such a tough teen and early twenty something life! I learned alot from this book about the service life and as I love antiques and the old days it was even more enjoyable for me!

posted by keanuboy on March 8, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

In servitude

Margaret Powell's story of her time in service, first as a kitchen maid and then as a cook, brings to light the working conditions of the serving class in the early 1900s. Just as interesting is the attitude of "them" living upstairs in those great houses, the employers...
Margaret Powell's story of her time in service, first as a kitchen maid and then as a cook, brings to light the working conditions of the serving class in the early 1900s. Just as interesting is the attitude of "them" living upstairs in those great houses, the employers, their family members, and their friends. To think that just because a person was a servant that they couldn't read is so sad; to treat servants as less worthy of the basic comforts of life (food, shelter, kindness) is deplorable. As with many other reviewers, I have come down with Downton Abbey fever and am watching similar movies and reading books regarding about the servant class. Powell's book is a quick read; I enjoyed her wit but sometimes felt I was slogging through the details.

posted by Heidi_G on February 9, 2012

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 9 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1
  • Posted January 18, 2013

    Delightfully Interesting...

    I enjoyed this memoir of Ms. Powell. I always like reading stories of history of days gone by. And since I am a fan of Downton Abbey, I especially found this account of the servants downstairs interesting. It was what I found a delightful and interesting read. I liked it so much I awarded it 4****.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2012

    Excellent

    Written plainly and honestly, the autobio is well documented regarding the unromantic history of a young woman in the end of a class-based society. The truth in her writing shows the reality of the time: that being a maid that works herself up to cook isn't glamorous or hollywood but simply an unwanted life choice of survival in early 20th century england. The real deal.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    Below Stairs 1

    Very interesting and engrossing book. A bit heartbreaking too.
    Definately recommend it.



    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2012

    Enjoyed, but.....

    Powell was such a malcontent (read early UK reviews when book was first published) that it is hard to establish fact from hatred. I truly enjoyed her strange way of writing but toward the end liked her less and less. I am sure her work was no picnic but I am just as sure that "they" were not as evil as she was wont to describe "them". As she said, she probably would not have been happy in any work she did. I do recommend Below Stairs as a light and often, fun, read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2013

    Interresting Look Into Another Time And Place

    This is a well written first hand account of domestic service during the time between the wars. Although short and a bit lacking in details, it is charming and honest. Well worth reading!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 1