Book Review: Belgravia


belgravia

Do you have Downton Abbey withdrawal?  You are in luck!  Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia kicks the series up another notch. It is delicious,  intriguing, and mesmerizing.  I can’t wait for it to become a movie or PBS series.

An epic ball at the home of the Duchess of Richmond in Brussels at the threshold of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo launches the plot brilliantly.  It picks up again in London’s posh Belgravia 26 years later.

Julian Fellowes

Julian Fellowes

It took me three or four attempts to get beyond the first paragraph which is inane and unworthy of Sir Fellowes.  It should have been the center of the books’ promotional buzz.

kewgardens

When I finally got beyond that unfortunate paragraph, I couldn’t put the book down.  I was totally hooked.  I loved how the plot and characters evolved.  I could visualize the gardens and conservatories and upstairs/downstairs dynamic as well as the class conflicts.  The story lives up to its unfortunate first paragraph:

The past, as we have been told so many times, is a foreign country where things are done differently.  This may be true ~ indeed it patently is true when it comes to morals or customs, the role of women, aristocratic government, and a million other elements of our daily lives.  But there are similarities, too.  Ambition, envy, rage, greed, kindness, selflessness, and, above all, love have always been as powerful in motivating choices as they are today.  This is a story of people who lived two centuries ago, and yet much of what they desired, much of what they resented, and the passions raging in their hearts were only too like the dramas being played out in our own ways, in our own time. . . .

Enjoy!  You can thank me later.

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