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Publisher's Summary

Stephen Fry praised Julian Fellowes' previous novel, Snobs, as 'a guilty treat'. A Sunday Times bestseller, it won praise and an enthusiastic readership across the world. Its successor, Past Imperfect, is another treat, an enthralling comedy of manners, but with an intriguing conundrum at its heart.

Damian Baxter is very rich and dying. He lives alone, attended by chauffeur, butler, cook and a housemaid, a life of everything and nothing. Before he goes he needs to know if he has a living heir. At stake is his fortune - in excess, he reckons, of £500 million. By the time he married he was sterile (the result of adult mumps in his early twenties), but what about before that unfortunate illness? Had he fathered a child as a young man?

An anonymous letter from twenty years before suggests so. But finding the truth will not prove easy, as the only man who knows where to look is Damian's sworn enemy.

Often funny and on occasion even shocking, the twists and turns of Past Imperfect will leave readers as intrigued as Damian at the eventual outcome.

Just as in his bestselling book Snobs, Julian Fellowes shows himself a wonderful storyteller with characters superbly observed. Here is the Jane Austen of the twenty-first century with more than an acerbic dash of Evelyn Waugh.

©2008 Julian Fellowes (P)2008 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mirium
  • 03-24-09

Fun but shallow

This book was good fun to listen to, and top marks to Julian Fellowes for reading it himself - he was excellent. However, the characters were all so silly and shallow and similar to one another, particularly the women, that by the end I couldn't give a damn who got the inheritance. In fact, just a few days after finishing listening to it, I find I can't even remember who it was....

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Lindsay M. Gray
  • 05-23-11

A Charming Education!

I thought the whole premise was good and the layering up of the plot was excellent. I thought it was very thought provoking and, being a child of the 80’s it made me really consider the changes that took place in society in the 60’s & 70’s.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kirstine
  • 12-01-08

Evocative, witty and sad

There are several strands to this book that make it a very satisfying experience. The backdrop is the transition point in the social life of the British aristocracy and their acolytes that occurred in the 1960s. Debutantes are are no longer presented at Court, but are still paraded before potential suitors, though some are questioning whether a 'good' marriage should be their only goal. Julian Fellows, as in his Gosford Park, deftly exposes the petty snobberies, unearned privileges and vacuousness of this world. However, the book is far much more than a witty satire of Society as the main theme of the book is a dying man's quest to find a son, he didn't know he fathered decades earlier, that carries the book along. As a consequence of this search we follow, to the present day, the often disappointing and sad lives of a group of mainly privileged young people who met socially in the 1960s, and through the telling of their life stories, and the wisdom of hind-sight they experience, the book is greatly enriched.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • mywallmum
  • 05-29-17

not one of his best

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

well maybe....

If you’ve listened to books by Julian Fellowes before, how does this one compare?

the plot was a bit weak, and unbelievable, with a unfinished ending

Have you listened to any of Julian Fellowes’s other performances? How does this one compare?

his others have been great

Could you see Past Imperfect being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

no

Any additional comments?

just thought this one would be a good follow on from others ive read, but im gonna forget this one

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Margaret Satchell
  • 05-04-17

A story with substance

What made the experience of listening to Past Imperfect the most enjoyable?

Julian Fellowes voice is such a joy to listen to. I love his use of language - the way he so eloquently creates a scene or a character. He takes his time to weave the tale. I like that.

Any additional comments?

I find it hard to answer specific questions about the story, because I'm always afraid of giving too much away. I found the whole tale enthralling, and very difficult to put down.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sailaway
  • 01-09-17

Very enjoyable

Where does Past Imperfect rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of my favourites. Really enjoyed Belgravia narrated by Juliet Stevenson who brought all the characters to life. So bought Past Imperfect which is an excellent story but I feel that the author/narrator, for me, lacked character definition. Got a bit muddled who was who.

What did you like best about this story?

Another great story by Julian Fellowes

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • vivien woolls
  • 01-01-17

Marvellous

Loved every word. Could listen to his voice for ever! Life size characters. So true of that period. Marvellous all round.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Susan Whitehead
  • 12-24-16

Past Imperfect

A very muddled, pointless, self indulgent story told very badly by its author who makes no attempt at characterisation so it is often difficult to work out who is speaking. I almost lost the will to finish the tale but l set it at fast speed, so glad it's over!

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Julie V. Purdey
  • 01-01-18

Brilliant

Julian Fellowes never ceases to deliver thought provoking insights into the human condition. This look into a class which he inhabited and a generation which I belonged to was fascinating and highly entertaining.