The World of Downton Abbey

The World of Downton Abbey

4.3 56
by Jessica Fellowes

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A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey

April 1912. The sun is rising behind Downton Abbey, a great and splendid house in a great and splendid park. So secure does it appear that it seems as if the way it represents will

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A lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey

April 1912. The sun is rising behind Downton Abbey, a great and splendid house in a great and splendid park. So secure does it appear that it seems as if the way it represents will last for another thousand years. It won't.

Millions of American viewers were enthralled by the world of Downton Abbey, the mesmerizing TV drama of the aristocratic Crawley family--and their servants--on the verge of dramatic change. On the eve of Season 2 of the TV presentation, this gorgeous book--illustrated with sketches and research from the production team, as well as on-set photographs from both seasons--takes us even deeper into that world, with fresh insights into the story and characters as well as the social history.

Editorial Reviews

The Boston Globe on Downton Abbey

This extraordinary upstairs-downstairs drama, written by Oscar-winning 'Gosford Park' screenwriter Julian Fellowes, is a dramatic, intelligent, soapy, comic, and wise piece of work.
The Wall Street Journal on Downton Abbey

There is no mystery about the potency of this series, slathered in wit, powered by storytelling of a high order.
The Los Angeles Times on Downton Abbey

Possibly the best show of the year...'Downton Abbey' is all that 'Upstairs, Downstairs' was, and more.
Kathy Blumenstock
…hefty and lush with color photos and production details…This is a book to dip into, not devour, to savor the richness that matches its televised companion.
—The Washington Post

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
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Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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The World of Downton Abbey 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 56 reviews.
Heidi_G More than 1 year ago
Yes, I love the TV series, but that's not the reason I gave this book five stars. Not only does it give background on the major characters but it delves into history and customs as well. The author, niece of the series creator, gives us the opportunity to peak into the lives of not just the characters we have come to love but also real-life people who lived in the English country homes, both the servants and the homeowners. The photographs beginning chapter one are a good reminder of who does what in the big house; the quotations every few pages remind us of the wit and tone from specific episodes. But more importantly to me, we are given a look at the history of England, of a time when the inhabitants of these large houses waited for things expected and unexpected, when a war was looming, when a kitchen maid was the lowest rung on the servant's ladder but she was nevertheless grateful to be a step above poverty. I highly recommend this book to both fans and nonfans of Downton Abbey, for there is much to be learned. A favorite quote (pg 204): Mary: "How many times am I to be ordered to marry the man sitting next to me at dinner?" Cora: "As many times as it takes."
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great background on character development as well as lifestyle, time period, and country living... not to mention the great pictures!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally watched season 1--all in one day--and the show caught me in rhe space of one scene. Now devouring season 2 as soon as PBS can serve it up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is more than a companion to the TV show - really interesting history of the time period.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great companion book to the series. Beautiful vivid photographs and great quotes from both the characters and actors. But the best part is the historical background given to the time period. I reccomend thid not only to Downton Abbey fans but as well fans of the time period!
Marcie77 More than 1 year ago
Like thousands of others, I fell in love with the series, Downton Abbey. I'm glued to my seat with each season in anticipation to find out what will happen to these beloved characters. I love the upstairs characters as well as the downstairs characters. For those reasons and many others, I absolutely love The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes. This book is a behind the scenes look at the mesmerizing world that I can't get enough. The World of Downton Abbey is broken up into several chapters that dives deeper into the series such as: Family Life, Society, Life in Service and Style. Each chapter explores the historical significance of events that take place, beautiful photographs, quotes from the actors, as well as mannerisms of the era. This is a great book for any fan of Downton Abbey to own. It's interesting as well as very entertaining. There is so much to learn about this period in time. Reading this book will help you get an insightful look at what it was to live in this era as well as the trials and tribulations of belonging to the aristocracy. I also love reading the actor's thoughts on the characters they portray. This is definitely a book that I will read again and again.
Laurel_Ann More than 1 year ago
Season two of Downton Abbey has concluded and we are left in limbo until it returns next Fall in the UK and January 2013 in the US. *deep sigh* For those like myself who, have watched and re-watched every blessed minute, yet, just can’t get enough of the award winning ITV/PBS television mini-series Downton Abbey and are in total Downton withdrawal, may I suggests this stunning full-color coffee table-sized book about the series, THE WORLD OF DOWNTON ABBEY? The publisher touts it as a “lavish look at the real world--both the secret history and the behind-the-scenes drama--of the spellbinding Emmy Award-winning Masterpiece TV series Downton Abbey.” This is no idle boast. From cover to cover this 303 page oversized-volume is packed with sumptuous full-color pictures of the production, the cast, historical connections and its shining star, Highclere Castle, the grand manor house in Hampshire where the series is filmed. The author Jessica Fellowes is the niece of the series creator and writer Julian Fellowes. Not only does she have the inside scoop into the production of the series, she is also well qualified to write the text as a journalist and the former Deputy Editor of Country Life magazine. Equally important is the photographer Nick Briggs, who captures intimate and awe inspiring images of the production that send us back into memorable scenes or highlight costuming and scenery. Organized into nine chapters: Family Life; Society; Change; Life in Service; Style; House & Estate; Romance; War; and Behind the Scenes, each chapter is written in context to the series characters and their roles and included pertinent quotes from the screenplay illustrating key scenes and events in the series” ‘I mean, one way or another, everyone goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.’ Violet, The Dowager Countess There are also quotes from the actors and actresses about their characters: ‘There’s an independence about Mary – she’s not influenced by anyone and she’s very much her own person, she makes her own decisions. I understand her because I’m one of three girls too and I’ve always been defiant that I didn’t want to do what they did.’ Michelle Dockery …and from the creator: ‘There’s an element of performance. They were all performing a role that had been decreed for them. For and aristocrat to be convincing, he must look like an aristocrat.’ Julian Fellowes I particularly enjoyed the insights from the costume designer Susannah Buxton on her research influences for the clothing and the historical vignettes that linked the series to actual period personalities such as Daisy, Countess of Warwick, and Mary Leiter, an American buccaneer that inspired Julian Fellowes to create the character of Cora Levinson who married Robert, the future Earl of Grantham in 1889. Overall, the most spectacular impression from this volume is its sheer bulk and beauty. Any Downtonite, Edwardian historian, or period drama lover could get lost in this volume for days. Creator Julian Fellowes rightfully opens the book with a brief forward, offering us insights and asides, yet, I felt quite cheated that Violet, The Dowager Countess of Grantham was not given the last word. Laurel Ann, Austenprose
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
super read, enjoyable to learn background and history of characters.
mysterybuff47 More than 1 year ago
Does a fine job of presenting the backstory to the times of the Downton Abbey era - the end of the Edwardian age and the changes precipitated by the First World War. This the perfect companion to Downton Abbey 1 & 2.
Giovina More than 1 year ago
This edition is an excellent companion to the masterpiece series on PBS. It is overflowing with interesting facts and information that immerses one into the world that is Downton Abbey. The photo stills give the reader a true sense of how awsome a task it is to shoot the film series. The most talented actors are captured performing at their very best. Do not miss this treasure of a book!
BookwormMama14 More than 1 year ago
I admit that I have a slight obsession with Downton Abbey. It sucked me in from the start. And now my curiosity as piqued as to what life was really like in the early 1900s. Therefore, I am branching out a bit in the books that I am reading. The World of Downton Abbey is a companion guide to the second season of the beloved BBC Masterpiece show Downton Abbey. Not only does it outline the lives of the Crawley family during the first World War, but also gives us a peek at the lives of the real aristocracy of England. Family life, style, life in service, romance and war are a few of the topics covered in Jessica Fellowes book. I greatly enjoyed reading and learning more about British culture. It helps me to understand the characters in the show better, as well as characters in the books I read. There is a lot of history to be found in period dramas and I do love learning about it. I was happy to learn that the show has a historical advisor Alastair Bruce (known as The Oracle) that does not hide in the shadows. He makes certain that everything is proper and accurate. Any Downton enthusiast would enjoy this book, but it is also a great read for learning more about the era.
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Excellent all the way through.
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SuzeJones58 More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly interesting on three counts. The first best thing about this book is that it is about  current favorite subject of mine...Downton Abbey! Next, this book provides surprisingly intersting information about WW1, the culture of the times and the sentiments of the era. Last of the three things I liked best about this book is how the author weaves  the story of the fictional TV characters in with real historical figures. And as an addd bonus, the book is just pretty with some very nice graphics and photos, especially from the show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Our society nowadays could use some reflection on the past.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So sad. Why anna?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
scj-lv More than 1 year ago
This is a fascinating read which includes character and historical background informations. A must read for DA fans. scj-lv
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Psych_RN More than 1 year ago
I am really enjoying this book. The photographs and background historical information add so much to my understanding of the series. We just began watching Season 3, so I am also getting ready to order the companion book for that. Since my husband has also become a devoted fan, when we're unclear on something that happened, I'm able to add a few tidbits of background information to what we are viewing on TV.
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