I’ve only watched the first season of Downton Abbey, but from what I’ve seen, I’ve enjoyed so far. I love the glimpse into the two differing worlds of the aristocrats and the servants!
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro: It is 1956, Stevens, the ageing butler of Darlington Hall, has just embarked on a motoring trip through the west of England that will become a journey deep into his past…
Longbourn by Jo Baker: In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence: Lyric and sensual, D.H. Lawrence’s last novel is one of the major works of fiction of the twentieth century. Filled with scenes of intimate beauty, explores the emotions of a lonely woman trapped in a sterile marriage and her growing love for the robust gamekeeper of her husband’s estate. The most controversial of Lawrence’s books, Lady Chatterly’s Lover joyously affirms the author’s vision of individual regeneration through sexual love. The book’s power, complexity, and psychological intricacy make this a completely original work–a triumph of passion, an erotic celebration of life.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: Charlotte Brontë tells the story of orphaned Jane Eyre, who grows up in the home of her heartless aunt, enduring loneliness and cruelty. This troubled childhood strengthens Jane’s natural independence and spirit – which prove necessary when she finds employment as a governess to the young ward of Byronic, brooding Mr Rochester. As her feelings for Rochester develop, Jane gradually uncovers Thornfield Hall’s terrible secret, forcing her to make a choice. Should she stay with Rochester and live with the consequences, or follow her convictions – even if it means leaving the man she loves? A novel of intense power and intrigue, Jane Eyre dazzled readers with its passionate depiction of a woman’s search for equality and freedom.
China Court by Rumer Godden: In this intricately plotted novel of a Cornish country house and the five generations who have peopled it, the story of American-reared Tracy Quin’s homecoming is intertwined with the stories of her ancestors. Tracy comes home to visit her grandmother on the day after old Mrs. Quin dies, and becomes involved in the question of what will happen to China Court, the house she loves, which is hopelessly outdated and requires a great deal of repair–repair for which there is no money. The old stories rise one by one as Tracy’s unfolds–the story of lonely, brilliant Eliza; of Jared and Lady Patrick’s fragile, bitter marriage; of Borowis and John Henry and old Mrs. Quin herself, when she was beautiful young Ripsie and an outsider to the family. As the lives of those who loved China Court are unfolded, the question of what will happen to the house becomes even more pressing, and soon only Tracy and Mrs. Quin’s young tenant Peter St. Omer stand in the way of its destruction.