I hope you are all enjoying the current season of Downton Abbey as much as I am! While searching for what to write about this month, I was excited to stumble across a list of books by Nanette Donohue, “An Edwardian Education.” Donohue’s list offers a great mix of nonfiction and fiction works to supplement your Downton Abbey obsession (assuming you’re like me.) The series has been a huge hit, with actress Joanne Froggatt (who plays Anna Bates) recently winning a much deserved Golden Globe. Historical fiction has always been a favorite genre of mine, as it transports us to a reality very different from our own. Here are a few other books that might spark your interest:
- Ravenscliffe (2014) – Jane Sanderson
Set in 1904, this book details the changing lives and relationships of the townspeople of Netherwood, Yorkshire.
- Falling Angels (2001) – Tracy Chevalier
Set in England around the turn of the century, this novel details the friendship of Maude and Lavinia, two young women from different social classes, and the changes in their lives.
- Edwardian England: A Guide to Everyday Life, 1900-1914 (2014) – Evangeline Holland
Provides readers a glimpse into the Edwardian time period, and is compiled from various sources.
- Black Diamonds: The Downfall of an Aristocratic Dynasty and the Fifty Years That Changed England (2014) – Catherine Bailey
Tells the true story of the Fitzwilliam family and the rise and fall of their coal-mining empire.
- Victorian and Edwardian Fashion: A Photographic Survey (1982) – Alison Gernsheim
A wonderful photographic resource for understanding English fashion between 1840-1914.
- The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War, 1890-1914 (1996) – Barbara W. Tuchman
First published in 1966, this essential non-fiction work details English society before the outbreak of WWI.You don’t have to be a fan of the Edwardian period to enjoy these books. You can like romance, history, or simply be an Anglophile. Shows like
Downton Abbey provide us with a glimpse into what life was like a century ago, and readers from teens to adults can enjoy learning about the period by exploring these books. So grab one and sit back and relax with a nice cup of tea. You might just feel like a Lord or Lady.For further viewing: Smithsonian Channel’s Million Dollar American Princesses.
 Nanette Donohue, “An Edwardian Education: Collection Development: After Downton Abbey,” December 5, 2014, Reviews: Library Journal, http://reviews.libraryjournal.com/2014/12/collection-development/an-edwardian-education-collection-development-after-downton-abbey/.
Cover Photo Credit: 18th Century Mansion