Belgravia

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.

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