The sequel to New York Times best seller Below Stairs, Servants' Hall tells a gripping real-life tale reminiscent of Downton Abbey's Lady Sybil and Tom Branson.
Margaret Powell's Below Stairs became a sensation among listeners reveling in the luxury and subtle class warfare of Masterpiece Theatre's hit television series Downton Abbey. Now in the sequel Servants' Hall, Powell tells the true story of Rose, the under-parlourmaid to the Wardham Family at Redlands, who took a shocking step: She eloped with the family's only son, Mr. Gerald.
Going from rags to riches, Rose finds herself caught up in a maelstrom of gossip, incredulity and envy among her fellow servants. The reaction from upstairs was no better: Mr. Wardham, the master of the house, disdained the match so completely that he refused ever to have contact with the young couple again. Gerald and Rose marry, leave Redlands, and Powell looks on with envy, even as the marriage hits on bumpy times: "To us in the servants' hall, it was just like a fairy tale… How I wished I was in her shoes."
Once again bringing that lost world to life, Margaret Powell trains her pen and her gimlet eye on her "betters" in this next chapter from a life spent in service. Servants' Hall is Margaret Powell at her best - a warm, funny and sometimes hilarious memoir of life at a time when wealthy families ruled England.
©1979 Margaret Powell (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
The reader really made this book work for me. It is a simple tale of a woman's coming of age in service between the wars and I found it engaging throughout.
Fans of Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey will recognize the inspiration behind the TV shows in Powell's memoirs. Margaret Powell had a gift for storytelling and wordsmithing reminiscent of James Herriot. Her books are populated with equally memorable and often humorous characters, and her tales can bring laugher and tears. This is not a Cinderella story with a fairytale ending. Rather, it is a sad story of true life and love. I prefer Mary Wells, who narrated Below Stairs. This narrator has a harsher, almost angry sounding, tone to her voice in comparison.
Cat lover, technology enthusiast, novice audio book listener
The story goes into more detail about the places were she's worked. I see many parts of this book replicated in PBS Downton Abbey. I did enjoy making those connections.
I liked the book and it was a worthy listen. However, the author has written 2 stories, this one and below stairs and there is a some rehash of the same content. I was rather disappointed to hear the same stuff twice. I did like the book, and there is some new stuff there, but, I'm not sure I would've bought it if I knew it was basically the same story..
It is worth listening to, especially if you like to read about the lives of servants but if you have already read Below Stairs, be warned there is repeat content in this one.
If you liked the Upstairs Downstairs series, you will love this book. Its charm
is entirely due to the talents of the narrator, Susan Lyons. She makes every sentence vivid. Unfortunately, the story itself is not very innovative. I felt I had seen all these characters before -- many times. There was no drama or tension to this story. There was nothing new and no surprises. It is a good book to knit by, but the content is hardly new or exciting.
A bookworm since a child. Love audible books.
Susan Powell's voice is very mellow and soothing with a British accent. It was a pleasure hearing her talk.
This book shared the memoirs a woman servant. The memoirs were well written. They shared a lot of details and feeling about what it was like to be a servant in Britain in the past.
This audible book reminds me of the Call the Midwife series for its quality of written, good narrating, and portrayal of British life in the past.
The story although simple is will hold one's interest. It makes you want to finish the book in one sitting. There are enough details of the characters and situations that the book her readers into the story.
Anyone who likes, biographies, history, or memoirs will like this book.
This is one woman's life experiences, no ongoing plot, but very interesting. I enjoyed the listen, narration was very good.
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