"A Countess Below Stairs" Will Cure Your Downton Abbey Blues

BlogHer Spotlight

Now that the second season of Downton Abbey has come and gone are you feeling a bit blue? Like you might need a bit of a visit below stairs? Eva Ibbotson's A Countess Below Stairs keeps coming up on lists of recommended reading for Downton Abbey fans. It also happens to be a book that I've owned for years but have not read. I think Marg's review might just be the final thing I need to push it on to the top of my reading pile. - Karen

countess below stairs eva ibbotsonGoing from a grand lifestyle to sharing the house of her former companion, Anna and her mother are determined to shield Peter from just how destitute they are. He goes off to school blissfully ignorant of their precarious financial situation and Anna finds a job so that she can help meet their living costs. It sounds unusual, but many Russian aristocrats fled from their homeland only to find themselves doing menial, low paying jobs just to keep a roof over their head and food on the table.

Anna is employed to be a maid at Mersham, a grand house owned by the Earl of Westerholme. While Anna is ill equipped to be a maid (she relies on an outdated housekeeping manual to learn how to perform common tasks and how she should interact with other servants) she quickly wins over the staff at the house through her willingness to work hard and her endlessly cheerful disposition. The butler and the housekeeper are fully aware that Anna is not who she appears to be, but they aren't exactly sure who she is.

Read more from A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson at The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader

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