From the author of Ten Beach Road and Ocean Beach, a new novel of four friends - and a shared passion that could change their lives.
When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and - even more unexpectedly - with one another....
Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money - for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.
Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old-world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.
And then there's Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She's just starting to realize that it's time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.
For Samantha, Claire, Brooke - and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings - it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life's hardest moments - all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.
©2013 Wendy Wax (P)2013 Penguin Audio
I am an avid eclectic reader.
I have never read anything by Wendy Wax before but the title caught my attention with the mention of Downton Abby. I have enjoyed the series on PBS so was curious about how Wax could make a story about watching the T.V. series. The story takes place in Atlanta in an old famous hotel The Alexander that was remodeled into condos. The concierge service was contracted out to a English man who's family had been "in service" for generation. He decided to have a get together of the tenants to watch Downton Abbey each week and discuss it after along with tea and food items popular in England. He had the servings staff dress up in costumes to look like the staff of Downton Abby. Three women meet and sit together each week and get to know each other. Samantha, the rich old Atlantic money, Claire an empty nester who is taken a year to write a book and Brooke a divorcee with two small children. Samantha's brother, Hunter, is the bad guy in the story. The story has humor, a small amount of drama and human interest to a thin plot line. The story is very easy to listen to and Orlagh Cassidy is super with the accents and developing each person. She really makes the book come alive. I think this book is a perfect example of how important the narrator is to the book.
The narrator was incredibly good. All the voices were distinguishable including the male characters. This book was such an enjoyable experience made even more so by the narration. Cannot stress enough what a fantastic job she did.
My interest in the series Downton Abbey, was a big drawing point for me initially. Variety of characters that included many different backgrounds, personalities and so forth but the similarities of anybody, (woman or man, although this was very much about being a woman) became a primary theme of the story.
How alike rather than different we all are regardless of our backgrounds or life experience was made more apparent as the story went on.
It is a good example of a light read but with substance and many plots that intertwined to give the entire book a cohesiveness. Easy to listen to and well written with just enough cliff hanging chapters that made me continue listening. Reminds me of Elizabeth Berg's novels and also Jennifer Weiner but with a serious side that balanced well with the humor infused within the story.
Everything!!! Her portrayal of the concierge who arranges the Sunday night screenings was magnificent! This character set the scene up and provided the outline for the rest of the book. The narration of this character was the best of all the characters in the book. Amazed at the range and accents she is able to use. An incredible narrator. This is the first book I have listened to with this narrator but I will definately look for other books she has narrated.
This book ran the gamut of emotions. Many smiles, occasional laugh out loud giggles with serious moments that made me think and question the individual characters. Each of the major characters had their own story with a central theme that all came together very nicely at the conclusion. Wish it was longer but really, the story was complete and finished. Would love a sequel.
Although this was not a heavy read, it was a joy to listen to. A well written and extremely well narrated book that I found appealing. As a fan of the Downton abbey series, the book was especially of interest and I could relate to and enjoyed the discussions by the characters about their reactions and questions each time they viewed an episode. The concierge who acted as host each Sunday night was very well developed as a person which added to the development of the others through his interaction with the other characters.
All in all I would recommend this book. I felt entertained and enjoyed every moment!
I loved the diversity of the four main characters, their growing pains, and ultimate triumphs.
After each showing of Downton Abbey, the group has a discussion. While this was not exactly memorable, I enjoyed the comments made by the different characters as it reminded me of scenes from the series.
I thought Ms Cassiday's performance was wonderful. Her accents were spot on and not over the top. The tone and lilt of her voice is quite pleasant, but won't put you to sleep.
There were places where I laughed out loud and there were a couple of places that made me cry (some with anger, some with joy).
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are believable and easy to identify with. You can't help but feel you could be friends with all of them. Watching their friendships grow; seeing them discover their own strength and courage, engaged me throughout the book. I would recommend this to all my fellow Downton Abbey addicts.
Books-I stash them like I stash my yarn or my fabric. I used to have piles of books. Now they go where I go-in my back pocket--on the ipod
As a fan of Downton Abbey, the title intrigued me. It was a nice light listen, and the narrator is spot on for the characters. Some books are one time listens, others like this one, you can listen to again and again. It is like a bubble bath, the story takes you away from the hectic barrage of life.
Orlagh Cassidy has redeemed herself as a narrator. Great job with the voices.
Downton Abbey and Southern Women. It doesn't get any better than that.
Great weekend read. Now on to Wendy Wax's other books.
Hi all. I'm in my 50's (that's relevant, i think), and I favor fiction. I like the british sensibility, and was introduced to the Forsyte Saga through audible ... loved it! I happen to also like Chinese writers, but they are not well represented yet at audible. Looking to follow readers with similar tastes ...
this book was a pleasant listen. for those looking for a good story, probably best to pass on this one, even in the chick lit genre. the plot fairly thin, but unobjectionable. centers around women/friends in their 30s and 40s. i think this book was saved by the narrator, however, who made the book fun just to pass the time.
The narrator, Orlagh Cassidy, definitely added to the spell the book cast. She was amazing with her voices.
I liked how the author wove Downton Abbey into the story line. She also added a lot of contemporary detail which added to the story. I enjoyed the character development.
Her voices definitely brought the characters to life and added to the weaving together of the Downton Abbey story line with the main character's story lines.
I couldn't put the audio book down, so to speak. It was like 'reading" a good book that keeps one from one's daily tasks.
Downton Abbey fans are definitely the target audience. I think it helps if you have seen the program. There are definitely spoilers in the book if you haven't.
Say something about yourself!
I started this series as a compromise. I am constitutionally unable to listen to Fantasy and since the choice my listening buddy gave me was either fantasy or chick lit I read this author for the first time. I was pleasantly surprised by the first Wendy Wax I listened to, once I gave it a real chance anyway. This was officially the third book of hers I've read; but the three of them vary only a small amount. There is the woman who is long divorced; the one who just got screwed over by her selfish husband and the one still married, but it's getting shaky. Then there's the unscrupulous criminal younger brother more or less raised by his older sister.
Luckily for the author the weakness of her plot is covered very well by the skill in which she creates characters with which it's easy to connect. Schleppy wallflower Brooke's growth during the course of the book is heartwarming; as is Samantha's defense of her friend. The personal weaknesses within each of the characters is well done and makes all of them more interesting and more human. It's an easy listen for women, and men; if you're listen to it with a female that you care about; you might just like it too.
Creative storyline for familiar subject - women changing from one phase of life to another, whether through divorce or empty nest and so on....the ups and downs, good and bad of it all. Loved the setting of the old building in Atlanta and am a easy target for "southern tales". haha I do recommend the book and the narration was lovely, but it did get a bit tedious before it was all over. I had just a little of a hard time believing that Samantha was that "dense" or that Brooke didn't have a clue about how to manage her life after somehow working hard enough for enough years to put her husband through medical school. Or that brilliant wealthy business men would hand Jackson thousands of dollars without ever checking his story out. Some of the issues were just a little "beat to death" as if trying to fill enough pages to call it done. But, enough of that. Again, the story of three women from very different paths coming together to form a bond and support each other, was very enjoyable and the characters were likable. And, as I, too, am a Downton Abbey fan (Of course! That's why I bought this! lol), the link to the series was fun.
I use audio books to help me survive my 35 min drive to and from work each day. I had a little trouble separating all the characters in the beginning and would rewind for clarification. This book was so enjoyable that i found myself unable to turn it off once home. It's a sweet story about friendships and relationships....i was sad when it ended.
"Relaxing enjoyable read"
I have only listened not read the book
The relationship between the women
This is the first one but it is very good
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