Whilst rather young, my sister and I were quite voracious readers of Edwardian romances. We often sprinkled words from those novels into our conversations. Many of the words with which we were enamored often seemed to include contractions, such as “shan’t” and “oughtn’t.” I must say, I don’t think it much helped our cause in relating to other children in our Small Town, Oklahoma home.
I am simply aflush once more with the intoxication of those little used words, as I’ve just finished back to back seasons of “Downton Abbey.” What a perfectly remarkable series! One filled with history, melodrama, romance, mystery and a delicious number of “shan’t”s. If you also loved this show, then you “mustn’t” miss the following “Downton Abbey” read-alikes:
· “Howards End” by E.M. Forster. Forster’s classic follows three families at the turn of the century--the wealthy Wilcoxes, the eccentric, intellectual Schlegel siblings and the lower class Basts.
· “TheRemains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro. At the end of his thirty year career serving Lord Darlington, a butler reviews his life’s work and questions whether it was as meaningful as he thought it was.
· “TheForsyte Saga” by John Galsworthy. Nobel Prize Winner John Galsworthy's trilogy spans the 1880-1920s. This family epic introduces the Forsyte family, whose early problems in love continue through later generations.
· “Fallof Giants” by Ken Follett. The first book in the “20th Century” series follows five families through World War I and further into the 1900s. Follet’s excellent research and characterizations make this brick of a book enthralling to read.
· “The House at Riverton” by Kate Morton. Grace Bradley, a servant at Riverton House before the First World War, remains close with the daughters of Hartford family. She also holds the sisters’ deepest secret.
· “The Uninvited Guests” by Sadie Jones. An elegant birthday supper party goes terribly wrong.
· “Parade’s End” by Ford Madox Ford. Sometimes listed as one of the best English novels written, this epic tale follows English society before and after the Great War.
Mystery lovers may want to explore Charles Todd’s Bess Crawford and Ian Rutledge series, Jacqueline Winspear’s MaisieDobbs, Deanna Ray’s Lady Julia Grey and Anna Dean’s Dido Kent. And if you need more suggestions, you simply must visit us at the Help Desk!