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Library Happenings – ‘Downtown Abbey’ creator delivers ‘Belgravia’ novel

By Angie Georgeff

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! We placed orders for adult books and DVDs during the first week of August, so now we are busy cataloging and processing lots of new items. Be on the lookout for them the next time you come to the library or check our catalog at https://owl.ent.sirsi.net for our latest acquisitions.

If you have placed a request on our wish list for an item that has already been released, we will call you when it is received and ready to be checked out. If there is a book or movie that you want us to add to our collection, please let us know! We will try to get it when funds are available.

Spotlight Book

Half a year after we bid adieu to “Downton Abbey,” Julian Fellowes, “Downton’s” creator, has ridden to the rescue of the dowager-deprived among us with his new novel “Belgravia.” If you are a long-time fan of “Masterpiece Theatre,” you may recall that “Upstairs, Downstairs” was set in the highly prestigious London district of Belgravia.

Decades before the Bellamy family and their servants occupied the posh townhouse at 165 Eaton Place, Belgravia was home to the aristocratic Bellasis family and the nouveau riche Trenchards, whose sizeable fortune had been made [sniff!] in trade.

Even though London society was slightly less rigid than that of the country, living in close proximity to Buckingham Palace did not guarantee acceptance during the early 1840s.  James Trenchard had supplied the Duke of Wellington and his army with provisions at the Battle of Waterloo.  In the spirit of the Iron Duke, he is determined to storm the clubs and drawing rooms of fashionable London in order to advance his family’s social standing to match their means.  It is a secret dating back to the eve of the battle that eventually forces Lady Brockenhurst to acknowledge the upstart Trenchards.

Everything Old…

Before being published in book form, “Belgravia” was made available as a digital serial. It seems to be an odd juxtaposition of the old-fashioned and the newfangled.

Serialization was a strategy that worked well for Charles Dickens in the early Victorian times in which “Belgravia” is set. All of Dickens’s novels were published as serials, with the majority appearing in 20 monthly installments.  This made them affordable for the masses of the newly literate, while simultaneously increasing revenues for Dickens and his publishers.

I wonder what Dickens would have made of eReaders, but I feel quite sure he would have managed to turn them to his advantage. If he were living and writing today, I think Dickens might even give James Patterson a run for the money.