Monday, December 5, 2016


by Julian Fellowes
Grand Central Publishing, 2016. 416 pgs. Historical Fiction

At a legendary ball held on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, two families’ lives intersect and are forever changed. Decades later, the nouveau riche Trenchards and the aristocratic Bellasis clan collide again. I can’t say much without revealing major plot points, but rest assured that secrets, romance, class conflict, scandal, and lovable characters abound in this novel by screenwriter and producer Julian Fellowes. It’s not a profound book, but it’s well-written and a lot of fun.

Belgravia filled the Downton Abbey-sized hole in my heart. Featuring a wide cast of characters, some good and some bad, it is chock-full of the intrigue, drama, and cleverness I miss now that the TV series has ended. Fellowes has a masterful grasp on the 1840s setting, and this is one of the most believable pieces of historical fiction I’ve read. I might have struggled to keep track of the many characters with a less skilled narrator, but I listened to the audiobook read by Juliet Stevenson, and I can’t recommend it highly enough


1 comment:

Breanne said...

The majority of this book takes place two decades after the action of the opening pages, but don't let yourself glaze over the beginning, those days will hold critical importance for the rest of the book. Although written by Downton Abbey's Julian Fellowes, this book doesn't play with the social tensions between upstairs/downstairs class differences quite as much as the show did. There is a "downstairs" cast of characters who do play a role in the story, but Fellowes spends far more time playing off of the class differences between aristocrats and the nouveau riche who were emerging in the nineteenth century due to the rise of industrialization and trade in England at that time. Provided with that backdrop, the author sets within it a charming story with all the drama, romance, and intrigue that his show provided. All in all, this is very enjoyable and an easy recommendation for fans of historical fiction.