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Habits of the House (Love & Inheritance 1)

Habits of the House (Love & Inheritance 1) [Kindle Edition]

Fay Weldon
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)

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Product Description


'Hugely enjoyable' Tatler. 'A splendidly fun romp' The Times. 'Weldon at her most spellbinding' The Spectator.

Product Description

For fans of Downton Abbey comes a ravishing portrait of the late 19th Century family from one of Britain's best-loved authors.

Fay Weldon's new novel takes us inside the lives of an aristocratic household in the last three months of the nineteenth century. It's a time of riot and confusion, social upheaval, war abroad and shortage of money. Tea gowns are still laced with diamonds; there are still nine courses at dinner, but bankruptcy looms for the Dilbernes.

Whilst the Earl, gambler and man about town, must seek a new post in government; his wife Lady Isobel's solution is to marry off their son Arthur to a wealthy heiress, and without delay. But how? It's the end of the season, and choices are few. There's Minnie O'Brien from Chigaco - rich enough, but daughter of a stockyard baron, and with a vulgar mother and dubious past. Hardly suitable...!

Fay Weldon tells this tale of restraint and desire, manners and morals with wit and sympathy - if no small measure of mischief - as young Minnie and Arthur, thrown together by their parents, strive to determine their own destiny.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 939 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1250026628
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (17 July 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0088Q9RO8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,290 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE antidote to Downton Abbey 11 Oct 2012
By Sally Zigmond VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fay Weldon has done it again. The Habits of the House is a hoot. Set in the last months of the nineteenth century as the Boer War rages its centres on the Belgrave Square household of an aristocratic family. From the moment the house is thrown into chaos by the early morning arrival of Eric Baum, with news that the family is facing financial ruin and is sent away with a flea in his ear, the scene is set for a spiky (and hilarious) filleting of the life so beloved in TV dramas. But here the Dilbernes are up to their neck in debt but still live extravagantly because they are who they are, even Rosina who sees herself as a champion of women's rights - but not servants without whom she cannot dress or tidy her room. The servants themselves run rings around the family whilst knowing their livelihoods depends on them. So they sneer but also buy into the snobbery and shudder at the thought of the young heir Arthur having to marry the forthright, clever and definitely un-virginal daughter of an Irish-American meat baron.

Historically accurate? Maybe not but who cares? Fay Weldon is not a historian but an iconoclast and not afraid to poke fun at everyone and everything. No-one escapes her excoriating wit. But she does it with such wit and style that I was chuckling to myself from start to finish.

It seems to me reading the reviews here and even in the so-called 'quality' press that most people seem to have missed just how funny this book is. It is also a satire on the current love affair with toffs and titles. What genius thought to sticker the book with the label 'if you love Downton Abbey, you'll love this' or words to that effect.

What a lovely joke. In Downton the toffs are noble and worthy and the servants loyal (apart from a bit of childish silliness.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Stock footage 28 Aug 2012
By T. Russell VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A lot of this seems to have been written on auto-pilot, as it's so formulaic - you'll have to look hard to find anything which surprises, intrigues or engages more than the surface of your thinking. I got the impression that this was written to help pass the time (or pay the gas bill) until the author's next real book was written. The plot is simple, which doesn't matter, but I would have liked an effort to make me have other than neutral feelings towards some of the characters - oddly enough, I find descriptions of the pubic hair of a number of them is not a sufficient substitute for decent characterisations. There is rather a lot of padding (this is volume one of a trilogy), which does make the book drag, and there were only two things which gave me pause - one was the necessity to define a roly poly pudding (is this for a new generation, or the American market), the other a glaring anachronism, using a slang impression which was first recorded in 1939; the latter seems to reinforce the impression that the author's mind was on higher things. (I also noted that 19th century countesses are now acknowledged as possessing 'breasts', whereas previously they were only ever endowed with 'bosoms'). The book is actually complete in itself - the end is taken at a great gallop (train to catch? kettle boiling?) and ties up the few loose ends in a way which means, as far as I'm concerned at least, there's no longing to read the next book. A read which is unsatisfying rather than unenjoyable - but more 'You Rang M'Lord' than 'Downton Abbey'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read for 'Downton' fans 17 Nov 2013
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Fay Weldon wrote the opening episode of 1970s period drama 'Upstairs Downstairs', so it's not so surprising that she shold come up with this slice of domestic derring-do in the age of 'Downton Abbey'.

It's an undemanding read, focusing on the problems of the cash-strapped Earl of Dilberne and his family at the turn of the century. Victorian mores are gradually giving way to a new pragmatism and the demi-monde is making inroads into polite society. The wives of dubious financiers must be invited to dinner; low-rent courtesans dine openly in fashionable restaurants and worst of all, young viscounts have to be married off to the daughters of Chicago stockyard barons. This bartering of fortunes and titles might be of mutual benefit, but there's still plenty of comic potential in watching American mother-of-the-bride Tessa wrangle concierges, ladies' maids and museum curators in her attempts to come to grips with olde England. Meanwhile, the Earl's daughter Lady Rosina is determined to become a 'new woman' and espouses everything from Fabianism to free love while still managing to be profoundly shocked at her brother's morally adventurous peccadilloes.

As always in dramas like this, the servants are actually bigger snobs than the nobs; Grace the lady's maid bitterly resents having to offer service to "trade" and Mrs Neville the housekeeper won't deign to open the front door to a mere family employee, however well-dressed and respectable. They also share their employers' sense of noblesse oblige, taking in an orphan flower girl and giving her a bed under the stairs and a job mopping up parrot poo left behind by Rosina's exotic pet.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Fans of Upstairs Downstairs and Downton Abbey will love this book
"Habits of the House" is the first of the love and inheritance trilogy. Set in the closing months on 1899 and with the Boer war raging in South Africa, the Earl and Countess of... Read more
Published 2 months ago by E Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Open the first page and you'll hear the theme to Downton Abbey playing...
Weldon's novels tend to be provocative, and while some of her recent books have been so meta and disgruntled as to be nearly unreadable, "Habits of the House" is a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Roger Sharp
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok, if you like that sort of thing
I confess I haven't read any Wheldon before and this book has honestly not inspired me to do so. It is a pleasant enough, light read and, as others have pointed out, perfect for... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Stracs
5.0 out of 5 stars Habits of the House
Do always enjoy Fay Weldon books.
I am just about to read The New Countess, last one in the series.
Published 6 months ago by carebear
4.0 out of 5 stars Like reading Downton.
Gentle book which was just waht a wanted for swimming pool side read.
Accurate description of life at the turn of the century.
Published 9 months ago by Polly
4.0 out of 5 stars rather nice
I must admit although I have heard of Fay Weldon (who hasn't) I hadn't read any of her books.
Although some have criticised her for writing on auto-pilot, I found this really... Read more
Published 10 months ago by the lambanana
1.0 out of 5 stars A rather pointless read
I hadn't read any of Ms Weldon's novels before this one, but some friends raved about them, so when I came across her latest 'The New Countess' and the write up caught my interest,... Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mrs J Grebby
4.0 out of 5 stars Fay Weldon Trilogy
1st book of a new trilogy. Engaging as usual with Weldon, with an expected dark side. Well written and makes one want to read the next two. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ann Maguire
3.0 out of 5 stars Fay Weldon
As with the other Fay Weldon I have just bought from Amazon - it will be some time before i can get through this. Read more
Published 12 months ago by jenny Cee
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprising stuff from Fay Weldon
I was taken aback, I suppose, being used to much pithier writing from a favourite author. But having said that, I enjoyed this slightly frivolous piece, which was, of course, very... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Sally Patricia Gardner
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