It’s a long wait until January and season three of Downton Abbey (check here for tidbits on what to expect, including sparks between Maggie Smith and new cast member Shirley MacLaine).
As a result, the magic phrase applied to any new novel set during WWI is “for fans of Downton Abbey.”
The Minneapolis Star Tribune applies it to the paperback original, Park Lane by Frances Osborne (RH/Vintage, 6/12), in their intriguing selection of eight titles for summer reading. The description (and the cover) makes it appear to fill the bill:
Osborne deftly parallels emerging suffragette and erstwhile socialite Bea’s privileged lifestyle with the lowered expectations of reluctant housemaid Grace. While their stations in life may be quite different, by the end of the novel their lives have intersected in ways they could have never foreseen.
The San Francisco Chronicle finds The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones (Harper, 5/1) a good choice for D.A. withdrawal, “It seemed heaven sent; Jones’ third novel is set in 1912, the very year Downton began, on the day and evening of a smallish house party celebrating the 20th birthday of the likable but spoiled eldest daughter of the manor, Emerald Torrington.” The reviewer finds it “sublimely clever.”