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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey - Audiobook - The Countess of Carnarvon - Read by Wanda McCaddon

As a Downton Abbey enthusiast, I enjoyed this book immensely! Full of romance, sorrow and drama! Just like the beloved show, Downton Abbey. Only, these people, really lived! 

About the Book
Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes's Emmy Award-winning PBS show, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants: Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war. Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon's ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman. This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle. (Description from Amazon.)

My Thoughts
I admit without shame, that I am an avid Downton Abbey fan. Having been sucked into it by the time the third season aired, I have been in love ever since. As some of you may know I have an obsession with finding out the real history behind stories that I love.
Whether the Dark Ages or Contemporary Fiction, I want to know what actually happened. What I found the most intriguing about this book, is that there are many, MANY, similarities between Downton Abbey and the true history of Highclere Castle. (I am pretty sure that was no accident on Julian Fellowes's part.) This was one of my first real experiences with an audiobook, and I honestly wish I had just read the book instead. I am much more of a visual learner, and it was hard for me to retain all the dates and names...Especially since I was always driving as well. I believe I am more suited for novels on audiobook, rather than history. Any fan of Downton Abbey, or of Edwardian history in general, will enjoy this book. It was so much fun to learn about the real people that lived at Highclere one hundred years ago. 

I found Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey at my local library. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
Published by Penguin Random House.

Purchase Options



About the Author

"FIONA, the 8th Countess of CARNARVON married Geordie, the 8th Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they acceded to Highclere ten years ago upon the death of Geordie’s father. Highclere has become one of the most famous houses in England as the location for the PBS series Downton Abbey." (Penguin)



"Audiobook narration is the fourth or fifth career for Britisher Wanda McCaddon, who has also been a newspaper reporter, university professor and stage, film and TV actress before beginning to narrate audiobooks 15 years ago. Wanda started her narrating career with The Mind's Eye dramatizations, working on THE LORD OF THE RINGS. Five hundred titles later, she has recorded for Books on Tape, Blackstone, Audio Editions, Dual Dolphin and Durkin Hayes." (Audio File)


Also On My List
by The Countess of Carnarvon
Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the setting for Julian Fellowes’s Emmy Award-winning PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Catherine Wendell. In this transporting companion piece to the New York Times bestsellerLady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey, Catherine, a beautiful and spirited American woman who married Lady Almina’s son, the man who would become the 6th Earl of Carnarvon, presides over the grand estate during a tumultuous time for the British aristocracy. Following the First World War, many of the great houses of England faded as their owners fortunes declined in the new political and social world of the 1920s and 1930s. As war loomed, Highclere’s survival as the family home of the Carnarvons was again in the balance—as was peace between the nations of Europe.
Using copious materials—including diaries and scrapbooks—from the castle’s archives, the current Countess of Carnarvon brings alive a very modern story in a beautiful and fabled setting, paying particular attention to the staff who provide Highclere Castle with continuity between generations. (Description from Amazon.)

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