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The New Countess (Love and Inheritance) Hardcover – 7 Nov 2013

3.8 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Head of Zeus (7 Nov. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781851638
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781851630
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.9 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 488,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Weldon at her most spellbinding.' Spectator.

'A splendidly fun romp' The Times.

'Hugely enjoyable' Tatler.

About the Author

Fay Weldon's credits include classic novels like The Life and Loves of a She Devil and Growing Rich, and the pilot episode of the original TV series Upstairs, Downstairs. In 2001 she was awarded a CBE for services to literature.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jill Meyer TOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Fay Weldon's new novel, "The New Countess", is the third in her Dilberne family trilogy. The first book, "Habits of the House" was an excellent story of a London family in transition, both in the family quarters upstairs and the staff quarters below stairs. The time was the turn of the 20th century where fortunes were being made - and lost - as the British Empire was facing the modernisation of the world economies and the mores and society were changing with the death of Victoria and the new rule of Edward VII. Weldon did a fine job of introducing her characters and the times they lives in. Unfortunately, her second book, "Long Live the King" was sort of a stinker. She abandoned her original characters and added others - nieces and foreigners - and the story was just not well written. And now Fay Weldon returns in her third and final book. With it, she has returned to the Dilberne family and set her story in the second half of 1905, with the King and his mistress - Mrs Keppel - coming for a weekend shooting visit to Dilberne Court in December. Much preparation must be done for the royal visit. This third book is almost - but not quite - as good as the first.

This third book has the same cast as the first and the same sort of continuing problems of the family and staff. Certainly Weldon is wittier in this book; the staff seems to have taken on quite cheeky relationships with their "betters". Lord Robert's valet advises him to go to a brothel to "relieve" himself when he's worried about affairs of state...and the affairs of his household. The head footman, Reginald, regularly steams open missives meant for the family to read them and report to the staff below stairs. This is truly a modern approach for the staff to take, but it is matched equally by behavior of the family members.
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Format: Hardcover
The trilogy as a whole is filled with irony, so you do have to think. It is witty and satirical, a clever poke at the class system in England. Only an author with a sense of the profound, superb wit, a sense of historical perspective and a marvelous ability with language could do it. - Who else, but Weldon?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was so pleased to find not just one but three of Fay Weldon's works in this story of aristocratic Victorian and Edwardian England and was not disappointed. It is amusing to read these whilst the Downton Abbey series is fresh in the mind; I sometimes felt that she was giving us an alternative and probably more realistic picture of life in the late 19th and early 20th century. Her wit and acute observations coupled with her breezy style kept me enthralled and smiling wryly. Of the three works I felt that this one was perhaps not the best but they are tremendous fun to read. I would definitely recommend starting with Habits of the House, then Long Live the KIng and finally The New Countess to get to know the characters and see how the world changes and the characters change with it.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The New Countess by Fay Weldon is the third in the Love and Inheritance Series. I'm always a little cautious of picking up a book part way through a series, however it seemed to be a 'stand alone' story in its own right, and after some time away from this genre, I thought I'd jump back in. And it has to be said, I really enjoyed it!

The writing was witty and clever, as can be expected from Fay Weldon, creating a terrific sense of the feelings of each character and their surroundings. It was almost like being an awkward guest, watching events unravel before you that you weren't supposed to witness. I liked the fact that it delved into the lives of the lower classes too, and portrayed their relationships with their employers and portrayed the changing times of the Edwardian era.

Isobel, the countess, is a matriarch of a woman, and represents the period extremely well, whilst her American daughter-in-law, Minnie, wears her heart on her sleeve. The combination creates huge tensions during everyday life, and with added pressures from her marriage and an impending royal visit, Minnie leaves the safety of her family and explores how others live, with some rather interesting and different characters who try to tempt her into some damaging situations to her reputation. Isobel is struggling to maintain a respectable image for her family, and is stubbornly intolerant to the modernising ways of the world. Will the Dilberne family be able to move passed such a challenging time in history? And will the unexpected death of one of the main characters change everything they have ever known?

With many unexpected and dramatic twists and turns, I kept finding myself looking at how many pages I had left to read and wondering if any reconciliation or closure would be found.
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Loved the series of books and read them like you would eat a box of chocolates - without the weight gain and the spots!
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I made the mistake of not realising this was third of a trilogy when I bought it. Part way in I came back to read the reviews and then persisted with it as they were so positive. But I finally gave up half way through. This novel may be ironic, witty, social commentary, hilarious, insightful etc, but it was none of those things to me. The situation is well trodden (rather Downton Abbey)and there was nothing about the characters that made me want to read more about the Edwardian period. I was unconvinced about the authenticity of the detail of the story. For example, the police inspector preparing for the King's visit and the sudden announcement of Rosina's arrival on a ship from Australia just didn't ring true. One star because I can't see who or what this is for and I had no interest in seeing how it worked out.
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