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Habits of the House | [Fay Weldon]

Habits of the House

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (150 )
5 star
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3.3 (132 )
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Story
3.7 (134 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    John Austin, TX, United States 08-19-13
    John Austin, TX, United States 08-19-13 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "Pretty Thin Soup"

    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

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andre L. Gray Bronx, NY USA 03-08-13
    Andre L. Gray Bronx, NY USA 03-08-13 Member Since 2007

    gee & unlay

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not a good reader"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    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.


    What other book might you compare Habits of the House to and why?

    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.


    How could the performance have been better?

    If the reader could slow her pace and read with a better British accent.


    Could you see Habits of the House being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    It would be perfect for Master Piece Theater!


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, the story is very good.

    3 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Dallas, OR, United States 03-04-13
    Linda Dallas, OR, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    1
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    "Boring"
    Would you try another book from Fay Weldon and/or Katherine Kellgren?

    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 :(


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joan Urbana, IL, United States 02-11-13
    Joan Urbana, IL, United States 02-11-13 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good story, awful narrator"

    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.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Olsen Tucson, Arizona USA 06-29-13
    J. Olsen Tucson, Arizona USA 06-29-13 Member Since 2012

    jto72

    ratings
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    21
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    Story
    "Good story made GREAT by an excellent narrator"
    Would you listen to Habits of the House again? Why?

    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!


    What does Katherine Kellgren bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Katherine Kellgren creates such compelling and fully realized characters! It's difficult to believe that one person is playing all of these wonderful character.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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