Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Lady Catherine, The Earl, And The Real Downton Abbey
By The Countess of Carnarvon
To be published in the US by Crown Publishing/Broadway Books on 29th October 2013
The Countess' s previous book about Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnavon, was interesting and this is an even more riveting volume, dealing with the lives of the 6th Earl and Countess of Carnavon. Before he succeeded to the title, young Lord Porchester - generally known as Porchy - met and fell in love with a lovely American, Catherine Wendell.
The highly popular young couple moved in the highest social circles and seemed destined to live a charmed life, but sadly, the happiness of their fairy-tale wedding did not last. The tragic death of the 5th Earl meant the end of their life in India with Porchy's regiment and taking up the reigns of the huge Highclere estate; the enormous death duty tax payable to the Government had to be found and then ways sought to make Highclere survive and thrive at a time when the world was changing rapidly and inching slowly to political instability.
Porchy's "wandering eye" was a major factor in the breakdown of their marriage and after her divorce at the age of 35, Catherine was faced with all the stress and challenges of building a new life for herself and their two children, which she did very successfully. All too soon, however, she was faced with the death of her adored second husband on active duty and then the dreadful anxiety of watching her son also march off to serve in World War II. Porchy's own second marriage sadly proved unsuccessful and he devoted himself to life at Highclere; he and Catherine managed to remain on friendly terms for the rest of their lives.
Sure to appeal to anyone who enjoys Downton Abbey and social history.