I love this pre-WWI PBS series. I watched it about a year ago on Netflix. It was enthralling.
I’m glad to see that it is spurring people to buy books.
I also loved Brideshead Revisited in the early 1980s. I watched the whole series again on video a few years back and read the book twice.
The British melodrama “Downton Abbey” is already the darling of American public television. Now it has become a marketing tool for booksellers and publishers hoping to tap into the passion of the show’s audience.
Publishers are convinced that viewers who obsessively tune in to follow the war-torn travails of an aristocratic family and its meddling but loyal servants are also literary types, likely to devour books on subjects the series touches.
So they are rushing to print books that take readers back to Edwardian and wartime England: stories about the grandeur of British estates (“Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle” by the Countess of Carnarvon); the recollections of a lady’s maid (“Rose: My Life in Service to Lady Astor” by Rosina Harrison); and World War I (“A Bitter Truth” by Charles Todd), the bloody backdrop to the show’s second season, which had its premiere in the United States last Sunday on PBS, drawing 4.2 million viewers.
“We’re just riding that ‘Downton Abbey’ wave,” said Stephen Morrison, the editor in chief and associate publisher of Penguin Books, who watched Season 1 last year and began planning which books to release around the time of the Season 2 premiere. “I think the story lends itself to great television but it is also the themes of great literary writing, with all the twists and turns in the characters.”