The creator of the hit show Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes weaves a tale filled with dark secrets and scandal amongst the privileged set in the upper classes of London society. Wonderful and witty, it perfectly captures a bygone era with a colourful cast of characters and an intriguing story.
Julian Fellowes's Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode.
Set in the 1840s, when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's now legendary ball, one family's life will change forever....
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And none the worse for that. Full of typical Fellowes anachronisms, but a jolly romp through middle and upper class London, with satisfyingly unpleasant villains, enough nuanced characters to keep the listener's interest, and a limited number of wholly 'good' saps. Beautifully read by Juliet Stevenson.
Really looked forward to this and I wasn't disappointed.
Juliet Stevenson read so well using different voices for each character. It felt like a dramatisation instead of a narration.
beautifully told story showing the prejudices of the class system in the early 19th century.
you get lost in the story. characters become real and you will be sorry to leave at the end.
So many books, so little time...
This is a really enjoyable story with a very strong sense of place and time that takes a good look at the English class system in the Victorian era. It's beautifully written and developed and it’s full of acute social observation and comment delivered in a classically understated, English manner.
The story opens on the eve of Waterloo at the now infamous Duchess of Richmond's Ball. Sophia Trenchard, the daughter of the man known as "Wellington's Vittler", James Trenchard, is in love with Edmund, Viscount Bellasis, heir to the Earl of Brockenhurst. But there is no future for a viscount and a tradesman's daughter, and Sophia's mother, Anne, is very sensible of that and tries to caution her daughter.
Some months later, following Edmund's death in battle, Sophia realises she is pregnant and reveals to her mother that she had gone through a wedding ceremony with Edmund that she later discovered to be false. When Sophia dies in childbirth, Anne and James reluctantly decide to send him away to be brought up by a clergyman in order to protect Sophia's reputation.
The bulk of the story takes place some twenty-five years later as the two families from very different social classes, and who, but for that one twist of fate would almost certainly never have come into each others' orbits, discover that they are inextricably linked, in a way that sees petty jealousies explode into something far more dangerous.
The story is very well told and suits the episodic format employed. It's fairly slow paced, but that means there is ample time for character exploration and development, and the descriptions of the fashions and customs of the era are detailed and all contribute to that very strong sense of time and place I mentioned at the beginning.
Juliet Stevenson's performance is simply outstanding. Her vocal characterisations are many and varied and there is never any confusion as to who is speaking.
All in all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and one I'd definitely recommend.
Soap disguised as historical novel. Addictive. I even enjoyed the slightly annoying didactic elements, v interesting insight into society, the arts, politics, architecture and social mores.
Perhaps a little predictable but an excellent read nonetheless. Wonderfully read by Juliet Stevenson who brought all the characters to life and who is so easy to listen to. A must for lovers of Julian Fellowes and period drama. I hope there is more to come about all these characters in a second book.
"Great Listen and Very Entertaining"
It feels like a cross between Downton Abbey and Crazy Rich Asians. It's so much fun listening to. The narration performance was great! I loved how she can sound male, female, young, old which brings the characters to life. Highly highly recommended.
"Riveting insightful story"
Such a joy to listen to this regency period piece that not only conveys a wealth of topical detail but also keeps one enthralled as the story unfolds. The unvarnished yet forgiving description of human nature, then and now, is Julian Fellowes' forte.
So amazingly well read!
I enjoyed it so much I could read it again right now!
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