Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Downton Abbey

Will Lady Mary and Matthew finally wed?  What new schemes will Thomas and O'Brien hatch?  When, if ever, will the long-suffering Bates be exonerated for the murder of his wife and released from prison?  And what about all the other goings on at Downton Abbey (the beautifully fictionalized Highclere Castle)?  PBS Masterpiece executive producer, Rebecca Eaton recently previewed the upcoming season for Florida public television station WUCF-TV.  Eaton's sneak peek, reported in the Orlando Sentinel, reveals that, in addition to a birth and death, viewers can look forward to the arrival of Lady Cora's mother, played by the Oscar-winning actress Shirley MacLaine.

Answers won't be forthcoming for U.S. television viewers until January 2013 when Season 3 airs.  In the meantime, the Library has (or has ordered) several choice books for Abbey fans.  The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes, niece of series' writer and creator, Julian Fellowes, is a lavishly-illustrated account of the story, characters and social history of the period.  For a first-hand account of a life in service, try Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir that Inspired Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey by Margaret Powell.  (Powell became a kitchen maid in Hove, England, at the age of fifteen.)  Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the current Countess of Carnarvon tells the story of the remarkable woman who inspired the fictional character Lady Cora Crawley.

For newcomers to the series (or those who want a refresher before the next installment), the Library has both previous seasons of this Emmy-winning drama.

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