By: Fellowes, Julian
Call #: Fiction Fello.J
Julian Fellowes of Downton Abbey fame offers Anglophiles (like me!) a treat here with a story of class, scandal, propriety and illegitimacy set in England in the early 1840s. It’s chock full of atmospheric descriptions and characterizations that are, let’s say, thin-ish but not mere caricatures either. The story first flashes back to 1815 on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. The young officers dash off to battle, many are lost. Sophia Trenchard is left bereft and with child. She was tricked into a sham marriage with young Lord Bellasis. Now it’s 25 years later and we become enmeshed in a complicated plot involving the two families–one great, one “in trade”–as Sophia’s mother and Lord Bellasis’s mother, the imperious Lady Brockenhurst, form an edgy alliance to figure out what may have happened to a shared grandchild. This is by no means a deep literary exploration of the era or a treatise on the class system in Victorian England, but it is indeed a fun read. I’m waiting for Masterpiece Theatre to work their magic and create a lush TV series based on it, and I bet Fellowes is too.