Since the third series is coming to America tonight I thought now would be a good time to recommend some books. Downton Abbey begins in the years leading up to World War I, the drama centers on the Crawley family and their servants.
A Brief History of Montmaray (The Montmarray Journals #1) by Michelle Cooper
“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.”
Sophie Fitzosborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray with her eccentric and impoverished royal family. When she receives a journal for her sixteenth birthday, Sophie decides to chronicle day-to-day life on the island. But this is 1936, and the news that trickles in from the mainland reveals a world on the brink of war. The politics of Europe seem far away from their remote island—until two German officers land a boat on Montmaray. And then suddenly politics become very personal indeed.
Maisie Dobbs (Maisie Dobbs #1) by Jacqueline Winspear
Hailed by NPR's Fresh Air as part Testament of Youth, part Dorothy Sayers, and part Upstairs, Downstairs, this astonishing debut has already won fans from coast to coast and is poised to add Maisie Dobbs to the ranks of literature's favorite sleuths. Maisie Dobbs isn't just any young housemaid. Through her own natural intelligence--and the patronage of her benevolent employers--she works her way into college at Cambridge. When World War I breaks out, Maisie goes to the front as a nurse. It is there that she learns that coincidences are meaningful and the truth elusive. After the War, Maisie sets up on her own as a private investigator. But her very first assignment, seemingly an ordinary infidelity case, soon reveals a much deeper, darker web of secrets, which will force Maisie to revisit the horrors of the Great War and the love she left behind.
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
The three novels which make up The Forsyte Saga chronicle the ebbing social power of the commercial upper-middle class Forsyte family between 1886 and 1920. Galsworthy's masterly narrative examines not only their fortunes but also the wider developments within society, particularly the changing position of women. This is the only critical edition of the work available, with Notes that explain contemporary artistic and literary allusions and define the slang of the time.
This one might be cheating since there’s also a miniseries about this so this could be a close the book and watch the tv recommendation.
I also found a few listopia lists on Goodreads: YA books, Downton Abbey-esque Books, Edwardian Era Romance
My reaction to the 2012 Christmas Special: