Start reading Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey on the free Kindle Reading App or on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here.
This title is not currently available for purchase
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Color:
Image not available
 

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey [Kindle Edition]

Countess of Carnarvon
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,036 customer reviews)

Pricing information not available.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.

Audible Narration

Switch back and forth between reading the Kindle book and listening to the Audible narration with Whispersync for Voice. Add narration for a reduced price of $3.99 when you buy the Kindle book.

"Who You Are: A Story of Second Chances"
Explore John Croyle's story of the life shaping, Kingdom transforming ministry that God used one man to begin. Learn more

Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

Review

bright, breezy and unpretentious in style. Guardian Comfort reading for fans eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Downtown Abbey to appear on our TV screens. Vogue (Australia A loving and faithful portrait of Almina and her world. BBC Countryfile Magazine

Review

'bright, breezy and unpretentious in style.' -- Guardian 'Comfort reading for fans eagerly awaiting the next instalment of Downtown Abbey to appear on our TV screens.' -- Vogue (Australia 'A loving and faithful portrait of Almina and her world.' -- BBC Countryfile Magazine

Product Details

  • File Size: 3360 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (September 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444730827
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444730821
  • ASIN: B005O0BRTE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,161 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
526 of 537 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating glimpse of a country house and its lady January 12, 2012
By Jill
Format:Paperback
I received this book as a Christmas gift and enjoyed it very much. I think the other reviewer's review is off the mark and it's duplicitous of "William" not to mention is that he is the author of a self-published bio of Lady Almina.

The author of this book, the current Countess of Carnarvon, drew largely from primary sources in the Highclere archives. She also examined contemporary periodicals and previous family memoirs and bios. The focus of the book is, as the subtitle indicates, Almina's connection with Highclere. So, it begins with her wedding to the 5th Earl of Carnarvon and ends with his untimely death in 1923, as that event marked the end of Almina's time at Highclere.

There is a concise discussion of Almina's pre-countess life, including her paternity (that Almina was in all likelihood Alfred Rothschild's natural daughter is stated plainly). There is also some background on the 5th Earl: his parents and childhood, and a short history of the Highclere estate. The 5th Earl was in debt when he met Almina and in need of a large infusion of cash, which Rothschild provided.

The book goes on to cover Almina's arrival at Highclere as a 19-year-old bride and her triumphant success as a society hostess, which was something Edwardian women aspired to and were admired for. The visit by the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) for one of Highclere's famous shoots in 1895 was a major event at Highclere and it is appropriate that it should be included here, even if written of previously in other works.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
247 of 255 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wealth, glamour, and tragedy - a great biography January 29, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I picked up this book because I'm a fan of Downton Abbey, although I knew before I bought the book that it had little to do with the fictional world of those characters. If you are looking for information on the Downton Abbey television show, there is a marvelous book by Jessica Fellowes which will probably better suit your needs. This is the story of Lady Almina Carnarvon who lived at Highclere Castle which is the real world setting for the fictional television program. If you want to know more about the lives of the real people who inhabited that world during that same era, keep reading.

Any biography is a story being told, and each story has a unique voice. In this case, the voice is a member of the Carnarvon family. She seems to draw from source documents such as journals, letters, and other historical references to create a picture of Almina Wombwell who became the wife of the Fifth Earl of Carnarvon. (Yes, this was the same Lord Carnarvon who worked with Howard Carter and discovered King Tut's tomb in Egypt.) This book is told primarily as Lady Almina's story after her marriage, although it can't help but touch on the story lines of many of the other principle players.

While the book is historical in nature, that doesn't make it dry reading. There is scandal (Almina was most likely the illegitimate daughter of the wealthy Alfred de Rothschild), wildly fabulous wealth (Almina lived a lavish and luxurious lifestyle prior to WWI), Egyptian adventures, and ultimately heartbreak as WWI touched almost every family in Britain.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
112 of 122 people found the following review helpful
By june
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The lady before was most specific and to the point without any ambiguity.

I purchased the book not knowing just how much it was going to reveal about Downton Abbey which I have been following avidly.

As it turned out, it was fabulously written and told me so much more than I had ever expected. Thank the author profusely. Needless to tell that I highly recommend this to all who are enchanted by the TV series of Downton Abbey; It takes nothing away from this TV drama but greatly enhances the protrayal with so much background not out there for the average person.

Again, I am indeed glad that I took up on the whim and purchased this particular book when I was browsing the Amazon selections.
Was this review helpful to you?
164 of 187 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's Hard To Be Nice But.... May 4, 2012
Format:Paperback
Some of the reviews herein are very disparaging of Downton Abbey fans. Since I count the adventures of those characters among my not-so-guilty pleasures, I'll certainly not do that. I will say it is interesting to read about the real people who made Highclere Castle their home. I have read (and reviewed) several books on Howard Carter, Lord Carnarvon, et al, so to me this was simply intended as a source of inside material as well as the DA connection.
I didn't know a lot about Lady Almina so as much as anything that connection with the Downton characters pulled me in. I wanted to see the story of the real hospital started by Her Ladyship.
I was a little disappointed. Not just in the read - more on that in a moment, but in the hospital. The hospital at Highclere averaged between 12 and 20 patients at any given time. That's all. Over 24,000 British casualties a month were coming back to England. But Lady Almina's patients were special. All were officers, many of her social class. Lady Almina made sure she had a representative in Southampton screening prospective patients. She insisted also that her nurses be attractive on the premise that it made the boys more cheerful thereby healing quicker. Imagine that in a diversity context today.
The biggest complaint about this book is the author's clear worship of Lady Almina. She is a candidate for sainthood in this book. She does no wrong.
Many years ago, as a young man in college, I was taught to read critically, to look for bias in an author, to try to discern what ideology he/she is selling the reader. Works showing only gushing admiration in a biography leave out the human side of real people. In that respect Fiona Carnarvon does Lady Almina a great disservice.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ... more interesting then Downton Abbey Show (and I do love the show)
I thought this book was more interesting then Downton Abbey Show (and I do love the show)! This book told the story of the real families and it was interesting. Read more
Published 3 hours ago by Paula K
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I enjoyed the book but was very slow reading.
Published 21 hours ago by kay george
5.0 out of 5 stars intriguiging story of a British heroine
The fabulous wealth and contributions of Lady Almina Carnarvon to the care of wounded World War One soldiers makes for a larger than life story of British nobility and life at... Read more
Published 1 day ago by Kathy
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended for Downton Abbey fans
Being a Downton Abbey fan, I wanted to read more about the real history of the house. I can see that Julian Fellows uses a lot of the actual history when writing the screenplays. Read more
Published 1 day ago by Donna Allen
5.0 out of 5 stars A new favorite.
One of the best! I now know more about WW1 than any history book could tell me. On to the next in the series.
Published 2 days ago by beth fuchs
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I would like more story about each character.
Published 4 days ago by nanblaylock
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It was interesting, but not very compelling.
Published 5 days ago by Leslie
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting read.
Fascinating. Really enjoyed this book.
Published 5 days ago by Lion Charlotte
5.0 out of 5 stars This account of the period helped to balance and illuminate ...
This account of the period helped to balance and illuminate the role of the ruling class in World War One. Read more
Published 6 days ago by Harley Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars I thoroughly enjoyed reading about such an incredible lady who lived...
Because I have been a fan of Downton Abbey, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about such an incredible lady who lived and
played such an important role in the history of Highclere... Read more
Published 6 days ago by maryjanewarner
Search Customer Reviews
Search these reviews only

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Forums

There are no discussions about this product yet.
Be the first to discuss this product with the community.
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 


Look for Similar Items by Category