Monday, December 10, 2012

To Marry An English Lord, by Gail MacColl: A Step By Step Guide for Downton Fangirls

To Marry An English Lord
by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace
Workman’s Publishing Company, Inc.: New York, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-7611-7195-9

If we hold these truths to be self-evident, it is evident that this self does not read nearly enough books that are true.   I mean…I’m rocking a one-a-year ratio.  Which is better than a none-a-year ratio, but it’s not like my brain is on a truth-avoiding diet, avec Fox News.  There’s just so many books, so little time to read them all.   Am I right or am I right, you guys?

Another reason I don’t have nearly enough time to read truthy things is because I’m busy watching them.  You’ve probably heard of a show called Downton Abbey.  It is TOTALLY truthy, you guys.  Everyone got Pamuked all the time, changed outfits with the help of the help seventeen times a day, and all lived in giant Abbeys in ye olde Eduardian England, right?   Anyways, I digress from my mission of truth.  My point here?  I totally dig Downton Abbey.

Naturally, I was filled with glee when I stumbled upon the book that claims to be the inspirational reading for Downton Abbey architect creator Julian Fellowes.  I was doubly filled with glee when I realized it both is filled with history AND reads kind of like an extensive gossip column, filled with turn of the century posed celebrity photos (the more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?).  History? Fashion?  Drama? Gossip?  Lady nerd red alert!

Guys.  Let’s just say I know it’s a bad idea, but I kind of would like to spend an afternoon prancing around in Charles Worth dress as my parents sell me into a loveless marriage with a very old and very gouty British Lord/Prince/Knight for a title and drafty castle.*   I’ll even grin and let them tighten my corset!

But in all seriousness, while the book was a little chatty Cathy in regards to history, it does have a lot of interesting, historical, human stories and the upper crust social history of New York, London, and Newport.  It took me a surprisingly long time to read, given that a solid quarter is pictures or page long foot-notey anecdotes about things like indoor plumbing, King Alfred’s fashions, Newport, and home redesign (obvi, I was hooked).  I mean…this book is not hard, and it had me at hello.  And while I questioned the chatty factuality of it throughout, the doubts of my inner high school librarian were assuaged by the extensive bibliography at the end.  In short, I am a fan of this book.  And Downton Abbey.  Together as a gift (big tip here dudes), they will make a lady in your life who is a nerd very happy this holiday season.  If you're looking for YA double fan points?  Throw in the super high-brow (sarcasm, but seriously, fun) The Luxe.

 Doubleplusgood (so I just read 1984, what of it?)…Julian Fellowes is allegedly creating a Guilded Age costume drama series in America, aka Newport – which I’ve been longing for since attending a conference in Newport when Season 2 of DA was airing last year.  It’s a no brainer.  The audience for it is Vander-built.  Annnnd I’m out.

*But if Prince Harry is available…

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