302 Following

Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Prebble
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo
Jeff Long
Progress: 11/431 pages
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Carolyn Keene
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 13 %

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle ★★★☆☆

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey Audiobook {Lady Almina & the Real Downton Abbey}: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD] The Countess of Carnarvon (Author), Wanda McCaddon (Narrator) (Lady Almina and the Real - Countess of Carnarvon

I was drawn to this as a temporary fix for my Downton Abbey withdrawal. It's not as dry as a straightforward history would have been, being more of a biography that has been compiled from the personal letters of the subjects, oral histories from their descendents, and recollections of the few still living that were present at the time. It is unsurprisingly a very positive view of the aristocracy and their activities, being written by the current Countess in residence at Highclere and Lady Almina's great-grandson's wife. For example, I was amused by the inironic recounting of the steps taken to protect their archeological sites from "graverobbers" by the British citizens gleefully digging up Egyptian tombs and carting their finds off to England to decorate their homes. The author makes suppositions about the thoughts and emotions of these long-ago people, which enlivens the narrative but maintains historical plausibility. A large chunk of the book describes the state of medical care and technology and the environment of care provided by Lady Almina when she converted Highclere to a hospital during WWI, which, as a nurse, I found pretty interesting.