NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lady Catherine, the Earl and the Real Downton Abbey by the Countess of Carnavon

3.5 stars - Another fascinating glimpse into life and times at Highclere Castle during the 1920s and 30s. Highlights include the military campaigns of WW II and some details about the castle owners and occupants with their personal tragedies and triumphs.

The author uses primary research material from Highclere Castle archives to tell the story of Lady Catherine (Wendell), an American woman who marries "Porchy" the 6th Earl of Carnarvon.

Definitely a book that fans of the PBS drama "Downton Abbey" will find compelling as the reader discovers that the lives of the aristocrats were not as charmed and wonderful as the fairy tales we'd like to believe. I was more interested in the Castle and its occupants and wish the book would have concentrated more on those details rather than the long chapters describing every battle of the war and the movement of troops. I am more interested in thoughts and feelings of all who lived there that would come from diaries, rather than from guest lists for parties. The book is not really biography, but more a history written by a member of the family showing all in the best light possible. I will likely read another and hope the focus moves to people rather than events.

Thank you to NetGalley and Crown Publishing for a copy of the ebook for review.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting and well thought through blog. Congratulations. For the sake of fair play and to give all Highclere – Herbert family followers or would be visitors to Highclere Castle ( a great place to soak up Downton magic) all the possible choices available of book title may I please mention that as with the previous coverage in 2011 regarding the life and times of Lady Almina ( the colourful Fifth Countess) in two books with distinct differences of fact , my book " Catherine and Tilly: Porchey Carnarvon's Two Duped Wives. The Tragic Tales of the Sixth Countesses of Carnarvon" will play out for what its worth or not alongside Highclere's latest romp on Catherine Wendell. My narrative draws on original papers, newspapers and the Wendell papers in Portsmouth Athenaeum, in Maine, USA as well as the good will of members of the Wendell family. It will also be based on interviews and testimony from several people who knew and dearly loved Catherine. A sketch of Tilly Losch the great dancer, and bit part actress, a sort of combined Madonna and Lady Gaga of her time, is included too. Kind Regards, William Cross, FSA Scot.