For those long hours waiting between new episodes of Downton Abbey, try curling up with a book. The Dilberne Court Trilogy by Fay Weldon is sure to please fans of domestic drama set among the aristocracy of the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. Fay Weldon is the award-winning novelist and writer of the pilot episode of Upstairs Downstairs, the world-famous TV series against which all other historical domestic sagas are measured. She has written this brilliant new trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey.
Habits of the House (find in our catalog). “As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress. Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers.” (Provided by publisher).
Long Live the King (find in our catalog). Follows the restoration of the Dilberne fortune and manor at the turn of the 20th century, when Lord Robert and Lady Isobel assist coronation plans for Edward VII, anticipate the birth of a grandchild and debate the future of an orphaned niece.
The New Countess (find in our catalog). “England, 1903. Lord Robert and Lady Isobel Dilberne and the entire grand estate, with its hundred rooms, are busy planning for a visit from Edward VII and Queen Alexandra just a few months away. Preparations are elaborate and exhaustive: the menus and fashions must be just so, and so must James, the new heir and son of Arthur Dilberne and Chicago heiress, Minnie O’Brien. But there are problems. Little James is being reared to Lady Isobel’s tastes, not Minnie’s. And Mrs. O’Brien is visiting from America and causing trouble. Meanwhile, the Dilbernes’ niece, Adela, is back and stirring up hysteria in the servants’ hall by claiming the house is cursed. The royal visit is imperiled, but so are the Dilberne finances once more. His Lordship is under tremendous stress, and the pecking order will soon be upset as everything at Dilberne Court changes. The New Countess is the final novel in Fay Weldon’s exciting trilogy that began with Habits of the House and Long Live the King. The bestselling novelist and award-winning writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs lifts the curtain on British society, upstairs and downstairs, under one roof” (Provided by publisher).