Can’t get enough of the PBS show? Here are 10 books which are guaranteed to tickle you the same way, along with a short publisher description for each.
1. Kate Morton’s “The House at Riverton”
The House at Rivertion is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, it is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades.
2. – 4. Fay Weldon’s “The Love & Inheritance Trilogy”
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.
With Long Live the King, Fay Weldon continues the magnificent trilogy that began with Habits of the House. As the award-winning writer for the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs, Weldon brings her deservedly famous wit and insight to this novel of love and desire, morals and manners.
The New Countess is the final novel in Fay Weldon’s outstanding trilogy that began with Habits of the House and Long Live the King. As the bestselling novelist and award-winning writer for the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs, Weldon magnificently lifts the curtain on early twentieth-century British society, upstairs and downstairs, under one stately roof.
5. Judith Kinghorn’s “The Last Summer”
The story revolves around Clarissa Granville who lives with her parents and three brothers in the idyllic isolation of Deyning Park, a grand English country house, where she whiles away her days enjoying house parties, country walks and tennis matches. Clarissa is drawn to Tom Cuthbert, the housekeeper’s handsome son. Though her parents disapprove of their upstairs-downstairs friendship, the two are determined to see each other, and they meet in secret to share what becomes a deep and tender romance.
Below Stairs, is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high.
In the sequel Servants’ Hall, Powell tells the true story of Rose, the under-parlourmaid to the Wardham Family at Redlands, who took a shocking step: She eloped with the family’s only son, Mr. Gerald.
8. J. Brown’s “Summerset Abbey”
1913: In a sprawling manor on the outskirts of London, three young women seek to fulfill their destinies and desires amidst the unspoken rules of society in this stunning series starter that fans of Downton Abbey will love.
9. Catherine Bailey’s “The Secret Rooms”
After the Ninth Duke of Rutland, one of the wealthiest men in Britain, died alone in a cramped room in the servants’ quarters of Belvoir Castle on April 21, 1940, his son and heir ordered the room, which contained the Rutland family archives, sealed. Sixty years later, Catherine Bailey became the first historian given access. What she discovered was a mystery: The Duke had painstakingly erased three periods of his life from all family records—but why?
10. Julian Fellowes’ “Snobs”
Edith Lavery, an English blonde with large eyes and nice manners, is the daughter of a moderately successful accountant and his social-climbing wife. While visiting his parents’ stately home as a paying guest, Edith meets Charles, the Earl Broughton, and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield, who runs the family estates in East Sussex and Norfolk.
When he proposes. Edith accepts. But is she really in love with Charles? Or with his title, his position, and all that goes with it?
11. Edith Wharton’s “The Buccaneers”
Set in the 1870s, the same period as Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, The Buccaneers is about five wealthy American girls denied entry into New York Society because their parents’ money is too new. At the suggestion of their clever governess, the girls sail to London, where they marry lords, earls, and dukes who find their beauty charming—and their wealth extremely useful.
12. Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan’s “The Glitter and the Gold”
Consuelo Vanderbilt was young, beautiful, and heir to a vast fortune. She was also in love with an American suitor when her mother chose instead for her to marry an English Duke. She sailed to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home—Blenheim Palace. She was the real American heiress who lived long before Downton Abbey’s Lady Grantham arrived.