From the award-winning novelist and writer of Upstairs, Downstairs, the launch of a brilliant new trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey.
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.
As the writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs, Downstairs - Fay Weldon brings a deserved reputation for magnificent storytelling. With wit and sympathy - and no small measure of mischief - Habits of the House plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct.
©2012 Fay Weldon (P)2013 Macmillan Audio
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
If I read this book on my e-reader I likely would have finished it but it would not have made an impression on me. There was nothing that truly set it apart from many of the fluffy period romance novels written by far less high-brow authors. The story was OK, not quite good and certainly not great. I must admit I expected more. The characters didn't seem fully developed and were presented inconsistently. The silly plot (which isn't a criticism, it was supposed to be somewhat silly and exceeded at that quite well) was wrapped up abruptly and in a way that seemed unplanned.
Katherine Kellgren breathed life into this book. She is one of the few narrators that I either love (Her Royal Spyness Series) or she sets my teeth on edge (Blackout). I loved her narration in this book. Like the Spyness series, the characters in this book were made just for Katherine Kellgren's voices.
As long as she is narrating, I will eventually read the other two books in this series. If it was not for the narration, I would have stopped at this one.
It was a glimpse into life of the times, but the characters were not very likeable.
I found it very wordy. it seemed to go on a bit, and it was too easy to tune out.
Her accent fit the story and her characters were believable.
Not really if I hadn't gotten it on special for $4.95, I would have returned it right away.
All in all I was not impressed. Even at a reduced price it just wasn't worth it.
If you're not tired of Downton Abbey and need to catch up on the 1899 Belgravian gossip this may be the book for you. It involves a clutch of matrons and maids nattering about clothes and what to serve thePrince of Wales when (and if) he comes to dinner. All told in the worn style of supercilious irony (e.g. Women "produce" children in this novel, they just can't "have" them) that should have gone out with Wodehouse
gee & unlay
Yes. The reader. She reads as if there are no commas or periods. Her British accent sounds false and contrived. She really is ruining a good story by her style of reading. And she should slow down her pace.
The Age of Innocent. It has the same feel but the English Aristocrats are looking for money to bail out their debts and to maintain their way of life.
If the reader could slow her pace and read with a better British accent.
It would be perfect for Master Piece Theater!
Overall, the story is very good.
I was excited as I had just listened to a few of Kate Morton's books and was thinking it would be as exciting. Not. Sad :(
The story is a good one, though a little thin on detail: or rather, with great detail in some parts, then sudden shifts with a great deal of action not described, but finished. Still, a good period story. The narrator, however, is awful: why employ someone with such a terrible phony British accent? It would be better to have it read out in straight American accent if a true British reader cannot be found.
Not a lot of plot, but tons of fascinating character, each performed to perfection by Katherine Kellgren. I chose this book because I'm missing "Downton Abbey" and because I will listen to anything read by this narrator. She does not simply read the words, she breathes life into each character. It is another faultless performance!
Katherine Kellgren creates such compelling and fully realized characters! It's difficult to believe that one person is playing all of these wonderful character.
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