Saturday, January 04, 2014

Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

Title: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey   
Author: Wendy Wax 
Published: April 2013, Berkley Trade 
Format: Paperback,  384 pages
Source: Personal copy  

FROM THE AUTHOR OF TEN BEACH ROAD AND OCEAN BEACH, A NEW NOVEL OF FOUR FRIENDS—AND A SHARED PASSION THAT COULD CHANGE THEIR LIVES.

When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…

Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.

Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.

And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.

My thoughts: What a charming, fun book! I picked this up back when it first came out (last April) and it got relegated to the piles on my bookshelves. Wanting to read one of my "own" books when it came to choosing my 'First Book of 2014,' as soon as I saw this one, I knew it had to be the one, and with Season 4 premiering here in the United States tomorrow night, I thought the timing would be perfect!

Being a huge fan of Downton Abbey, I admit that the title definitely drew me to this book. I have read a few of Wendy Wax's other books, and enjoyed them, so I figured this would be a treat and I was definitely right. I loved the concept of this book - three women of varied backgrounds coming together and bonding over a much-beloved television show. They learn to let down their guards and let others in while at the same time learning that friendship is a two-way street - not only can you offer support to your friends, but you have to let your friends offer support to you when needed. But I also loved that the book did not take center stage.

I found it very to relate to all three of the main characters, partly because at times I could see myself in them. And I just adored Edward - oh how he reminded me so much of Mr. Carson on Downton Abbey. I loved that he got the women of the apartment building together each Sunday to watch the television show as a way to foster community and then made them promise not to cheat and watch the episodes in advance! 

Of course, me being me, I had to go find the quiz he had the group take. If you're interested, you can find the Masterpiece Downton Abbey Personality Quiz here. I got Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton Abbey - one of my favorite characters!!! If you take the quiz, share who you get!

This was the perfect read to get me in the right mindset for the premiere of Season 4 of Downton Abbey on Sunday night. I only wish I had a group of people to watch the show with like the group Edward got together at the apartment building - watching shows like this is always more fun in a group than watching it solo!

***Be sure to check out the guest post by Wendy Wax that I posted yesterday - there are 3 copies of this book up for grabs!!!

You are Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton. You are basically the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you – whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are. - See more at: http://www.weta.org/tv/program/downtonabbey/quiz/done?sid=20951&token=a9db00aee5d9bd76d609c9496655bf64#sthash.9nadZDSC.dpuf
You are Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton. You are basically the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you – whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are. - See more at: http://www.weta.org/tv/program/downtonabbey/quiz/done?sid=20951&token=a9db00aee5d9bd76d609c9496655bf64#sthash.9nadZDSC.dpuf

You are Anna Smith, head housemaid of Downton. You are basically the best employee ever. Competent, practical and tough, you can handle anything life throws at you – whether it’s rude colleagues, secretive romantic partners or surprise dead bodies in the workplace. Your kindness and loyalty are to be admired, and that Bates fellow should really recognize what a catch you are. - See more at: http://www.weta.org/tv/program/downtonabbey/quiz/done?sid=20951&token=a9db00aee5d9bd76d609c9496655bf64#sthash.9nadZDSC.dpuf

16 comments:

  1. Yes I agree Edward was like Mr Carson! Season 4 has shown here, but I have about three to still watch that I have recorded. I just did the quiz, oh dear I am Matthew Crawley! Poor Anna has a difficult time in this series but I saw where she and Mr Bates (the actors) relished the parts. Watch out for the treatment of the opera singer, so funny. Love the aristocratic looks that the Earl gets. Really liked Wendy Wax's book.

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    1. I'm very excited for Season 4 and have tried to stay away from all spoilers. I find it fun, though, to watch interviews with the cast - it's so weird seeing the characters out of costume - they look so different, especially the downstairs cast!

      I have enjoyed the few Wendy Wax books I've read and have a few of her books on my shelf to still read.

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  2. I thought this book was delightful and I agree that it would be fun to have a Downton Abbey viewing group the way that they do in the book.

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    1. Delightful - that's a great word to describe the book!

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  3. So disappointed that the giveaway is restricted!!!

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    1. I'm sorry - that's at the publicist's discretion. But I will be having an international giveaway later this week.

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  4. I've never watched Downtown Abbey but this book has had my interest for awhile now. I'm so glad you enjoyed it.

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    1. Oh - I only jumped on the Downton Abbey bandwagon last year and an now a huge fan! You can totally enjoy the book without having the show, though.

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  5. That book was just highlighted on our Morning Show here in Dallas. It does look like a fun read :)

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    1. I heard that the cast was making the rounds on the morning shows...I'm bummed that I missed it. The book was fun - make sure to enter the giveaway!

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  6. I listened to the audio several months ago and enjoyed it!

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    1. Oh, I'm sure the audio was fun! Who narrated it?

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  7. I've been thinking about reading this one for awhile! I'll definitely be entering the giveaway (I hope...haven't checked to make sure it's open to Canadians too...). Have you read The Meryl Streep Movie Club? I feel like it might be something you would like if you liked this book. Great review!

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    1. It is open to Canadians so definitely enter it. I haven't read The Meryl Streep Movie Club yet, but have it on my shelf and hope to read it soon. Thanks for the recommendation!

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  8. So glad to hear your first book of the year was a good one, I love that you took the quiz too and even better that you matched a character you love :-)

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    1. Once the quiz was mentioned in the book, I knew I had to find it and take it. I loved that I ended up matched up as one of my favorite characters! Have you read this book yet?

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