Book Review: Lady Almina and The Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon

What to do? What to do? Now that Downton Abbey is not on the teli?
I found a few books on this subject!
Lady Almina and The Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon
The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons
Up and Down Stairs, The History of the Country House Servant by Jeremy Musson
All the above books can be bought through Amazon for less than 11 dollars each. Each of them have a rank of 4-5 stars.

Published by Broadway Paperback which is Random House:
http://www.randomhouse.com/crown/catalog/index.php?page=1&view=&sort=pub_date&title_subtitle_auth_isbn=Lady+Almina+and+the+Real+Downton+Abbey
Published December 27, 2011
Inspiration for the PBS Downton Abbey series.


For more information see:
Highclere Castle
I highly recommend this site, stunning photographs of the castle and grounds.



This is a fascinating book of the illegitimate and wealthy heiress Almina that married Lord Carnarvon in 1895. I mentioned that her birth was illegitimate, only because during this time period social customs and culture as it were, could have tarnished her ability to marry. But, because of her wealth, and probably her beauty and charm, she caught the eye of Lord Carnarvon. It was her wealth that brought stability and income to finance Lord Carnarvon's estate, and future enterprises such as his expensive Egyptian archaeological trips. It could have been a disastrous union. Instead this couple who barely knew each other on their wedding day, fell in love and stayed in love. They had 2 children: a son and a daughter. Lady Almina accompanied her husband on his trips abroad, which included the excavation trips to Egypt. There were two additional points in this book that I was pleasantly happy to read about:
1. Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt.
2. Extensive World War I history, including Lady Almina's nursing work during this period.
The book does tell the readers about the various duties of the servant staff that worked at Highclere Castle.
The book also shares Lady Almina's family history, as well as Lord Carnarvon's.
Four sections in the book reveal black and white photographs of servants, Lord and Lady Carnarvon, their children, extended family, friends. Of most interest is comparing the photographs of glamorous Lady Almina, versus the starched nursing uniform attire Lady Almina wore during her nursing duty of World War I.
I am a fan of PBS Downton Abbey, and was able to compare the show, to the real story, there are a few parallels or similarities.
Lord and Lady Carnarvon
Blissful Reading!
Annette


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