My husband, who seldom brings books home from the library, surprised me recently with this one. I laughed and said, "I'm not that desperate" but after dinner I found myself browsing through the pictures. But soon I was drawn into the writing. If you're a Downton Abbey fan, you'll love this book and if not, you'll probably at least sample the series after reading it.
The World of Downton Abbey is a social history of the times--Edwardian England to shortly after World War 1. In eight essays, Fellowes describes life then. She also gives an idea of how many people worked in service in those years--more than in farming or mining. Families would rejoice when a child got hired by a wealthy landowner, especially one as highly regarded as an earl. Not only would the person have a secure job, but the family would no longer have to provide housing, clothing or food as they would have needed to if the person worked as a clerk.
This book is full of interesting facts about working in service at the beginning of the last century. There was a network of downstairs folk who spread news of job openings from place to place and also kept a black-list of rich people who mistreated their help.
Also, covered are corsets--just know you are very lucky to be spared the agony of wearing one. Even Daisy the kitchen maid had to don this straitjacket under her uniform. A woman in those days could not take hers off by