The Love and Inheritance trilogy by Fay Weldon
Reviewed by: Diane Soffietti, Reference Assistant
Genre: Historical Romance
Suggested Age: Adults
What is the book about?: The first book of this trilogy is Habits of the House, which introduces the Dilberne family and their various servants at No.17 Belgrave Square, London. Lord Robert and his wife Isobel have two grown, unmarried children: Arthur at 26 and Rosina at 28. They are all in town past the London season into October when bad news comes at the beginning of the novel. The start of the second Boer War, which distresses their investments in a gold mine in the region of the Transvaal, has begun. Solutions to the problem of the family’s impoverishment include marrying Arthur to an American heiress and marrying Rosina to anyone who would have her since she is of an advanced age and a very outspoken liberal with thoughts of becoming a doctor or some kind of reformist. The story is told with many perspectives including Lady Isobel’s maid, Grace. She is a young woman of substantial intellect and drive for a servant, who knows how to type and to make herself indispensable to Lady Isobel and the household.
The trilogy continues with the novel Long Live the King, which is set during the period when a personal friend of Lord Robert, Edward is ascending to the British throne at the beginning of the 20th century. And the last of the trilogy is The New Countess, which is set at the Dilberne’s estate with the planning of King Edward and Queen Alexandria’s eminent visit.
My Review: This noted English author, Weldon, is the original pilot writer for the PBS/BBC series Upstairs Downstairs. With the recent series Downton Abbey, this type of historical romance set during the Edwardian period when the differences between the servant class and their masters were at the brink of major changes has become very popular. Downton Abbey started with the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 as the catalyst of change for the Crawley family, whereas this trilogy is set during the 1899-1903 period. However, I believe the viewers of Downton Abbey would enjoy reading this trilogy, as I did.
About FDL Reads
Welcome to FDL Reads, weekly book reviews from Fondulac District Library. Librarians (and possibly some other guest reviewers) review all types of books, from children’s picture books, young adult favorites, to the latest adult thriller, and share their thoughts each week at fondulaclibrary.org. If the book is owned by Fondulac District Library (or another local library), you’ll see a direct link to the catalog entry and whether or not it is available. If it is checked out or at another local library, you will be able to place a hold as long as you have your library card and PIN numbers. As with any book review, these are our opinions…we disagree amongst ourselves about books frequently. We all have different likes and dislikes, which is what makes the world an interesting place. Please enjoy, and keep on reading!