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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 (65 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:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #60,280 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 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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45 of 51 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars rather nice 29 Oct 2013
By the lambanana TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
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 rather good.
She has a style that makes the narrative simply jump from the page.

I do think there's a tendency in the UK to kick popular writers when they write more than acceptable prose.

That said, this is a funny, sharp and well written romp. For fans it won't disappoint and for newbies, like me, it's a rather nice introduction to her writing style.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comparisions with Downton will be Inevitable! 21 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A terrific beginning which is the beginning of the unravelling of social attitudes. Sharply observed, very witty, and I immediately ordered the next in the triology!
It brings home how much we've changed in these last three centuries: and still mutating. Where next, I wonder?
It truly is ( as another author) said: "a dance of the times."
Some of us are doing Stone Age and some are Butterflying, and-in between-just about everything we can do!
The characters ring true, as do all of the author's creations.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Midstairs 16 April 2013
Anyone who has seen 'Upstairs, Downstairs' or 'Downton Abbey' will probably rush to read this book. It is the first book of a trilogy. I would suggest that you take your time. I have great ambivalence about this book, sophomoric at times and then towards the end it becomes much more interesting.

Fay Weldon, the author, is a well known author of this time in history. The beginning of the 1900's, a time when England was in a period of change,a war on the horizon and in Weldon's world, women are not shy, domestic women. They speak up, and exact revenge against their faithless husbands. They are also brave, feisty and sometimes funny. In this book, we learn all about the Upstairs group. The life of the Earl of Dilberne, his wife, Isobel, son, Arthur, and daughter, Rosina. Difficult financial times have hit the family, and Arthur is to marry a rich heiress. The Downstairs group steam open letters to find the news of the family. All the action is with the Upstairs. It seems as if the author has taken the plot from the BBC series and transplanted it into her story. There are the uptight English classes,and the brash Americans. Descriptions of the homes, clothes and culture abound, very stereotypical.

At times the book seems as a script ready for the taking. The characters are sketched out, but rather skimpy. They seem lackluster, and wanting. It is not until the last few chapters that the characters feel fully fleshed and real people, interesting people! Book one of the trilogy has provided a base, not a great book but sufficient.

Recommended. prisrob 04-16-13
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars
Could 'nt get into it i never even finished reading it, i found it boring
Published 1 month ago by Yvonne
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Great read
Published 1 month ago by Mrs. A. C. Collins
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 5 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 12 months ago by Polly
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read for 'Downton' fans
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... Read more
Published 13 months ago by C. O'Brien
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 14 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 15 months ago by Ann Maguire
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