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on 9 October 2013
"Lady Catherine and the real Downton Abbey" tells the story of the wife of the 6th Earl of Carnarvon from the turn of the 20th Century up until the end of the Second World War and their life at "the real Downton Abbey" - Highclere Castle. It is a fantastic insight into a world that only a few of us will get the chance to experience. The early chapters of the book set out how Catherine Wendall moved from America with her family, met and fell in love with Lord Porchester - the future 6th Earl.

This book is not exclusively above Lady Catherine, it also follows the fortunes of the 6th Earl and their children. The book also offers an interesting insight into what life in the early 20th Century for the privileged classes.

As this book is the follow on book from "Lady Almina and the real Downton Abbey, I did find it useful that I had read the earlier book as I knew some of the family history from this book. However, reading the first book is not essential but I think I got more out of the current book by having read the book about Almina.

Downton fans beware - this book had nothing really to do with the TV series and there are no references to it throughout the book.

This is an excellent book and a must for those interested in social history. I do hope that the Countess of Carnarvon follows it up with a book about the 7th Earls wife.
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on 22 October 2013
I found this insight into 1920's high society quite interesting. Would have been better I think if I could have got the residents of Downton out of my head when I read it. Lady Catherine certainly had a lot to put up with from the 6th Earl, but she was clever enough to get out and live her own life.
On the side of the Earl he did inherit the title when his father died quite young. It definitely didn't have anything to do with the Curse of King Tut. His mother certainly didn't help him, she got married again to an invalid and virtually cut him off.
For readers of factual autobiographies I think they will enjoy this.
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on 6 November 2013
It was a very good book, bringing to life the Swinging Twenties and the lack of luck that poor Porchy had in choosing the right woman. I particularly liked the author's character studies of the main participants and felt that I had a better knowledge of Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey) a portrait of which was vividly painted.
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on 15 April 2015
I found this book, when I was looking for books concerning King Edward the 8th! I didn't understand, why it was listed alongside, other books which were more relevant to my original request. However, after seeing it appear so many times, I thought I'd give it a try, and I'm so glad that I did! It's a 'delight'! It is a book that is so well written, by some-one who really knows her subject, and loves it too! I found that when I first picked up the book, to begin to just look at the first few pages, I couldn't put it down!! Obviously, Lady Carnarvon, has done her research, and presents Lady Catherine in such a lovely friendly way, as to make both Lady Catherine, and the present Lady Carnarvon, seem so kindly and very approachable. Although, the' Family', will always be very distant from the likes of me,- I now feel as if,- just for a few days, I was, perhaps - looking through the stair-rails - at a life that is now so different. The 'Aristocracy' have always been thought of as the 'Them' to our 'us', but, this didn't seem to be the case at all, and they all seemed so 'Real', with their heartaches and their delights, just like the rest of us. A Lovely Book.
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on 17 January 2014
Enjoyed the detailed history of Lady Catherine. I had some knowledge of this era but this gave me a better understanding of the historical events which took place during her lifetime.
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on 26 January 2014
brilliant book! very interesting but great to read! i didnt want to put it down ...... cant wait to go back xx
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on 31 October 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this insight into a fascinating period of our history and people who were at the heart of it. A worthy successor to the Countess's previous books. I hope she continues with the history of her family, especially the early members of it.
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on 16 January 2014
Having enjoyed the television series I found this book extremely interesting with a number of historical aspects included. Perhaps padded out a bit too much with some of the more mundane details.
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on 18 January 2015
This is the worst book I have read in a long time. Poorly written and self indulgent. I cannot understand how it managed to get published. A real disappointment.
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on 9 February 2014
CHRISTMAS GIFT - I really enjoyed this book with it's enticing and intriguing look behind one of England's oldest families the Carnarvon's - and also of some the staff members that served them from the lead up and during the turbulent years of WW2
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