by Julian Fellowes
A quick pick from the library, just before I went on a walking holiday. Though I didn’t take it along – perhaps partly because I didn’t expect to do much reading.
The story is rather forgettable and pretty predictable. Set in the 1840s, after an initial scene at a party just before the battle of Waterloo which reminded me of Vanity Fair. The story shows the etiquette and morals of an earlier age, presented through the prism of a 21st century viewpoint. Fellowes acknowledges the assistance of no less than two historical researchers, but I suppose we should not think the worse of him for not doing his own research. And yet I feel that by not doing so, he is unable to capture an authentic feeling for the age he is writing about.
The bad guys get their come-uppance, and the good guys come our on top. What more can you wish for?
I don’t think I will read anything else by Fellowes. Downton Abbey was a triumph, not of scripting but of a pacy story, believable characters and gorgeous costumes and settings. Fellowes deserves to be celebrated for that achievement. Let’s leave his novels well alone.