Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle

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Hodder & Stoughton, 2011 - Countesses - 310 pages
936 Reviews

Lady Fiona Carnarvon became the chatelaine of Highclere Castle - the setting of the hit series Downton Abbey - eight years ago. In that time she's become fascinated by the rich history of Highclere, and by the extraordinary people who lived there over the centuries.

One person particularly captured Fiona's imagination - Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon.

Almina was the illegitimate daughter of banking tycoon Alfred de Rothschild. She was his only daughter and he doted on her. She married the 5th Earl of Carnarvon, at 19, with an enormous dowry.

At first, life at Highclere was a dizzying mix of sumptuous banquets for 500 and even the occasional royal visitor. Almina oversaw 80 members of staff - many of whom came from families who had worked at Highclere for generations.

But when the First World War broke out, life at Highclere changed forever.

History intervened and Almina and the staff of Highclere were thrown into one of the most turbulent times of the last century. Almina was forced to draw on her deepest reserves of courage in order to ensure her family, the staff and the castle survived.

This is the remarkable story of a lost time. But Highclere remains and in this book, Fiona weaves Almina's journey and those of her family into the heritage and history of one of England's most exquisite Victorian castles.

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Well researched, well written! - Goodreads
I was a little disappointed by the bland writing. - Goodreads
An amazing history, very well-written and easy to read. - Goodreads
A fairly entertaining and educational read. - Goodreads
A fantastic insight into a very different world. - Goodreads
Good story, but the writing was a bit weak - Goodreads

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ChristineEllei - LibraryThing

Having recently become a fan of the television series Downton Abbey I was curious to find out a little more about the “real” Downton Abbey. This book satisfied my curiosity but only to a certain ... Read full review

Review: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle (The Women of the Real Downton Abbey #1)

User Review  - Bess Eckstein - Goodreads

The premise was so interesting to me and I really wanted to like it, but I got about 15 pages in and just couldn't go a step further. I think it was the style of writing - I'm not saying it's poorly ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Lady Fiona Carnarvon married the current Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they took over Highclere eight years ago.

Bibliographic information