Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey
Title: Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: the lost legacy of Highclere Castle
Author: Carnarvon, Fiona, Countess of
HPL Catalog: ANF 942.271 CARNARVON (New Adult Non-fiction)
4 out of 5 stars with review by Sandra G
Synopsis, from the American publisher, Random House. Inc.
"Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration for the PBS show Downton Abbey, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon and the basis of the fictional character Lady Cora Crawley....Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon's ancestral home. Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman."
Watching Downton Abbey repeatedly prompted the question, "I wonder if that actually happened?" This book, based on materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, chronicles the events leading up to the Great War, the War years, and Lord Carnarvon's part in the discovery of King Tut's tomb. This book, which ends in 1924, provides a good starting place for exploring the fascinating, controversial Lady Almina's biography.