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A middle-aged Londoner is forced to revisit his past in Fellowes's slick and dexterous second novel (after the bestselling Snobs). Former friend Damian Baxter, after 40 years of estrangement, convinces the unnamed narrator to locate the woman Damian believes to have borne his child in 1968. As the narrator looks back on the events of that fateful summer, Fellowes exercises his considerable talent for observing the nuances of custom and class distinction. Especially interesting are the frequent digressions to consider the peculiar juncture of their "safe little, nearly-pre-1939 world" with the Swinging Sixties. In the narrator's circle of friends-who would fit comfortably into a Trollope novel-the ossified conventions of the upper class still hold sway, yet the '60s make an appearance as well, enlivening a debutante party with surprise hash brownies. We quickly discover that middle-class Damian (a "social mountaineer") managed to insinuate himself into this smart set until a terrible scene tears apart the group of friends. Deservedly compared to Tom Wolfe, Fellowes, with his ability to document the aristocracy with a sociologist's eye, fashions intriguing narratives.
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"It's like a visit to an English country estate: breezy, beautiful and charming." --New York Times Book Review
"All this would be satire if it weren't so much like a diary, and though those who know about such things generally don't tell, Fellowes, a more genial Evelyn Waugh, seems to hide a notebook in his dinner jacket." --People (4 stars)
"Fellowes has a high time skewering the foibles of the landed British gentry..." --Entertainment Weekly
"Julian Fellowes knows a thing or two about British society and those who dare to infiltrate it....delightful" --Vogue
"A guilty pleasure of a novel [that] seems authentic down to the wallpaper and the Wellingtons. Hilarious...sharp, entertaining, and unforgiving." --Anna Quindlen
"It's not only the rich who are different, it's the British upper classes too. This complicated truth, all the more palatable if delivered amusingly, has been successfully tackled by such insiders as P.G. Wodehouse, Evelyn Waugh and Nancy Mitford, and is now resurrected by Julian Fellowes." --The Miami Herald
I laughed my way through this thoroughly English novel. Julian Fellowes recounts some of the travails awaiting young aristocrats as they go through The Season as debutantes are... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Molly Malone
If you are curious about the customs of British toffs and enjoy being a fly on the wall at their gatherings, then this will be a good read. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Kittenheelz
I'm proud to say that I loved Julian Fellowes long before Downton Abbey. But you have to like books about rich people, the aristocracy and how they live and think and behave. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alexa Porter
Imaginitive way of remembering the past,and insightful in regard to the English"Season"Published 2 months ago by Sue Fredersdorff
Julian Fellowes really knows of what he speaks. This book was terrific and if you like Downton Abbey, you'll find this very interesting. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Blakes