Viewers have flocked to the smash hit BBC television series Downton Abbey for the past two years, but the wait between seasons is agonizingly long for devoted fans. The show’s popularity has created a publishing craze to produce more and more titles to help tide Downton Abbey fans over until new episodes arrive.
After the New York Times published a list of books for Downton Abbey fans they received a letter from Julian Fellowes, the series creator who is also known for writing the Oscar Award-winning screenplay for Gosford Park. Fellowes wrote to highlight a title that the New York Times had missed—To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace. This book follows the lives of several American heiresses who went to England in the late 19th century in hopes of marrying into the aristocracy. Fellowes says that these stories really made him curious about the women’s lives after their marriages, and that idea inspired him to create the character of Lady Cora Grantham. The gossip in To Marry an English Lord may be over a century old, but it remains riveting. Readers will love the illustrations, sidebars, quotes, and photographs that make it an engrossing guide to the time period.
Still looking for more Downton Abbey? Try The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes, who is the niece of Julian Fellowes. This official companion offers a behind-the-scenes look at Emmy Award-winning the show, the characters, the cast and crew, and Highclere Castle, which is the location for the show. This pictorial guide is truly a must-read for Downton Abbey fans.
Look for the third season of Downton Abbey to air in the US in January 2013. The Dowager Countess, played by Maggie Smith, will have some real competition when Shirley MacLaine joins the cast as Lady Cora’s American mother, Martha Levinson.