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Long Live the King: A Novel (Habits of the House) Hardcover – May 7, 2013
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His balance sheet firmly back in the black thanks to the machinations of his solicitor, Eric Baum, Lord Dilberne, can now turn his attentions to more pressing affairs of state, especially the upcoming coronation of King Edward VII. There are grouse to be shot and golf to be played, and his wife, Isobel, must advise both family and the court on the proper amount of ermine to trim the royal robes. And then there’s the matter of the coveted extra tickets to the event itself: Should they go to the socially unacceptable Baums or to Lord Dilberne’s estranged brother Edwin and his family? Isobel makes a potentially awkward decision, unaware that Edwin has died. His now-orphaned teenage daughter, Adela, then falls prey to a pair of con artists out to capitalize on the gentry’s fascination with spiritualism. Teeming with tasty tidbits about royals great and small, Weldon’s second installment in her Dilberne Court trilogy, following Habits of the House (2013), gives devoted Anglophiles a whirlwind tour upstairs, downstairs, and all around the castle. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Promotional efforts will be redoubled as acclaimed author Weldon’s delicious series continues. --Carol Haggas
“Weldon remains at the top of her game with [Long Live the King]....Fans of Downton Abbey will relish this rich and witty comedy of manners.” ―Star Tribune
“Teeming with tasty tidbits about royals great and small, Weldon's second installment in her Dilberne Court trilogy gives devoted Anglophiles a whirlwind tour upstairs, downstairs, and all around the castle.” ―Booklist on Long Live the King
“Before there was DOWNTON ABBEY, there was UPSTAIRS, DOWNSTAIRS and, having written the first episode of that iconic television series, it is only fitting that Weldon now returns to the scene of the crime to further explore the disparate worlds of “them that has and those what serve ’em.”... Always a ripe target for mockery and disdain, the British aristocracy comes in for a thorough drubbing in Weldon’s snarky send-up.” ―Booklist
“My favorite part of the original series is the first episode because it was written by a great English novelist, Fay Weldon. Everybody was introduced so cleverly . . . so beautifully established.” ―Jean Marsh, co-creator of Upstairs, Downstairs
“There is simply no touching Weldon as a writer.” ―The Observer (UK)
“Fay Weldon has always examined the scary parts of what lies beneath the silk cushions and behind the closed gates.” ―The Chronicle of Higher Education
“I was a girl from Downstairs. When I was 16, my bedroom was in the basement of a posh house in London, where my mother was the housekeeper. . . . Odd, this class business. Here's Upstairs Downstairs back again, Downton Abbey so popular.” ―Fay Weldon
Top customer reviews
Weldon's first book in the trilogy, "Habits of the House", was published earlier this year and introduced the reader to the Dilberne family. Parents and two adult children, as well as a houseful of "staff", the family had fallen onto hard times financially due to some very risky investments in South Africa. A "timely" marriage to the daughter of a wealthy Chicago pork-mogul saved the family from ruin and they were able to continue in London society. This second book - set a few years later - continues the family's story, but has a sort of "rushed" feel to it. The new characters introduced are not particularly fleshed out - I'm not sure even author Weldon finds them interesting - as events just sort of "happen" to them. The characters from the first book had been written with a surer hand than those of the second. I think Weldon would have been better off continuing the story with just the characters from "Habits". The Dilbernes, the Baums, and the staff were all well-drawn.
Now, it's easy for a reviewer to comment on one book, but what of two books in a series? In this case, book one was a very good read, while book two was not particularly worth the plod. What about book three? Do we have hopes for Weldon to tie her characters and plot together in the tidy fashion she's generally known for? I sure hope so. I've already preordered book three, which will be out in mid-December. I recommend this book only to readers who enjoyed book one in the series and who hold out hope that book three will rebound to Weldon's high standards.
"Long Live the King" takes place in the months leading up to the coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra. With the real events as a framework, it follows the characters from "Habits of the House," but the real energy behind the plot comes from the new heroine, niece Adela Hedleigh. Adela is a plucky teenager who isn't sure what she wants, but manages to avoid what she doesn't want. We root for her -- and the author brings her through a variety of tribulations without violating her innocence.
This was a satisfying story, and in my opinion it needs no sequel, but I still look forward to the third book of the trilogy.
A jolly good read!