Monday, December 29, 2014

Julie's Review: Snobs

Author: Julian Fellowes
Series: None
Publication Date: January 24, 2006
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 288
Obtained: borrowed from a friend
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: Interesting look at British society but not really my cup of tea
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab!
Summary: From the creator of the Emmy Award-winning Downton Abbey..."The English, of all classes as it happens, are addicted to exclusivity. Leave three Englishmen in a room and they will invent a rule that prevents a fourth joining them." The best comedies of manners are often deceptively simple, seamlessly blending social critique with character and story. In his superbly observed first novel, Julian Fellowes, creator of the Masterpiece sensation Downton Abbey and winner of an Academy Award for his original screenplay of Gosford Park, brings us an insider's look at a contemporary England that is still not as classless as is popularly supposed. Edith Lavery, an English blonde with large eyes and nice manners, is the daughter of a moderately successful accountant and his social-climbing wife. While visiting his parents' stately home as a paying guest, Edith meets Charles, Earl of Broughton, and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield, who runs the family estates in East Sussex and Norfolk. To the gossip columns he is one of the most eligible young aristocrats around. When he proposes. Edith accepts. But is she really in love with Charles? Or with his title, his position, and all that goes with it? One inescapable part of life at Broughton Hall is Charles's mother, the shrewd Lady Uckfield, known to her friends as "Googie" and described by the narrator---an actor who moves comfortably among the upper classes while chronicling their foibles---"as the most socially expert individual I have ever known at all well. She combined a watchmaker's eye for detail with a madam's knowledge of the world." Lady Uckfield is convinced that Edith is more interested in becoming a countess than in being a good wife to her son. And when a television company, complete with a gorgeous leading man, descends on Broughton Hall to film a period drama, "Googie's" worst fears seem fully justified. In this wickedly astute portrait of the intersecting worlds of aristocrats and actors, Julian Fellowes establishes himself as an irresistible storyteller and a deliciously witty chronicler of modern manners.  

Review: Snobs is an interesting look at modern day British society and the rules that surround it. Besides our narrator, I found all of the characters pretty insufferable but I also think that pretty much the point. They are all wrapped up in the have and have nots because it matters where you came from and what/whom you are after.

What I really enjoyed was the outsider perspective of the narrator, who was friends with Edith. He skirts the class issue because he's an actor and well no one takes them seriously. In fact, my favorite chapter was the one where he tells us readers about how he met and eventually married his wife. While Edith's marriage was being tested, he was finding and wooing the future Mrs.

I don't think I'll ever truly understand British society because so much of it is pretentious and based on the history of the family name, that it escapes me.  Plus the nicknames they have for each other are so hideous, I'm not quite sure how anyone agrees to be called them!!

If people think we have a problem between percentages here in the USA, then they should probably study British society. 

If you are a fan of Downton Abbey, then this book is pretty much up your alley since the author of this book is the creator of the show.



Michelle S December 29, 2014 at 1:45 PM  

I can't say that I've ever heard of this one. The peerage is definitely something that takes some getting used too when reading about it. The titles change hands so many times. It is insane how society today can still be all about titles!

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