Habits of the House

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Habits of the House

Format:  Hardcover,

314 pages

Publisher: St Martins Pr

Publish Date: Jan 2013

ISBN-13: 9781250026620

ISBN-10: 1250026628

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The following content was provided by the publisher.

From the award-winning novelist and writer of "Upstairs Downstairs, " the launch of a brilliant new trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of "Downton Abbey
"
As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert's wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady's maid who orders the life of her mistress.

Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers.
As the writer of the pilot episode of the original "Upstairs, Downstairs"--Fay Weldon brings a deserved reputation for magnificent storytelling. With wit and sympathy--and no small measure of mischief--"Habits of the House" plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct.

Specifications

Publisher: St Martins Pr
Publish Date: Jan 2013
ISBN-13: 9781250026620
ISBN-10: 1250026628
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 314
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.1
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 6.5 x 9.5 x 1.5

About the author

Biography of Weldon, Fay

Fay Weldon was born in Worcester, England, where her father was a physician and her mother a writer. She was educated at the University of St. Andrews, from which she received her M.A. in 1954. Six years later, she married Ronald Weldon. Weldon worked as a propaganda writer for the British Foreign Office and then as an advertising copywriter for various firms in London before making writing a full-time career.

Since the mid-1960's she has written novels, short stories, and radio and television plays. The central subject of all Weldon's writing is the experience of women, especially their relationships with men. According to Weldon, "Women must ask themselves: What is it that will give me fulfillment? That's the serious question I'm attempting to answer". Despite her concern with women, Weldon has been criticized by some feminist groups for apparently presenting fictional women with very limited options.

Weldon's style is marked by a careful attention to detail, vivid images, a sharp wit, and a wry sense of humor. Although most of her male characters are disagreeable, they are not the true villains of her novels. Her villains are, in fact, the traditional roles that men and women play. Weldon looks at women in many different circumstances - at work, at home, at play, in politics, and especially in love - and shows not only how they are manipulated by men, but also how they allow themselves to be manipulated. Recently, Weldon's novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (1983) has been made into a popular movie. It was formerly a successful television miniseries.

Reviews

Review by Library Journal (2012-10-15)

Conflict between the Boers and the British in South Africa could spell financial ruin for the Earl of Dilberne. The goldmine in which he has invested most of his assets, including his wife's inheritance and children's trust funds, has been destroyed by the fighting. Despite dire warnings from the solicitor who manages his business affairs, the Earl and his wife, Isobel, must maintain appearances. How to cover tailoring bills and gambling debts while maintaining Dilberne Court in Hampshire plus a London household? Arthur, the son and heir, must marry for money.

He agrees as long as he can continue experimenting with steam cars and supporting his mistress. Enter Minnie O'Brien, daughter of a wealthy meat packer, who needs a titled husband to erase Chicago gossip about her affair with a married man. Arthur's sister, Rosina, professes support for numerous social causes from international peace to feminism but shows little concern for the Dilberne servants. They, of course, know everything that happens in the household and spend much time exchanging gossip. As 1899 ends, a stroke of luck averts financial ruin temporarily-or at least long enough to continue the Dilberne story in two more volumes slated for 2013.

Verdict: Weldon, who wrote the pilot for Upstairs, Downstairs, travels well-worn territory here, but she does so effortlessly and adroitly. Fans of Downton Abbey and similar sagas will enjoy exploring the twists and turns of life in the extended Dilberne household.

[75,000-copy first printing; see Prepub Alert, 7/6/12.] - Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ. Lib., Mankato

(c). Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book description

From the award-winning novelist and writer of Upstairs Downstairs, the launch of a brilliant new trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey

As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert’s wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady’s maid who orders the life of her mistress.

Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers.

As the writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs, Downstairs—Fay Weldon brings a deserved reputation for magnificent storytelling. With wit and sympathy—and no small measure of mischief— Habits of the House plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct.

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