Book Review

‘Life Below Stairs: True Lives of Edwardian Servants’ by Alison Maloney

lbs amSTORY: Last year, the telly-watching public was gripped by Downton Abbey — the most successful British period drama in years and the number — one most-watched new drama programme of 2010. Captivated by the secrets, the scandal and the servant-master divide of an Edwardian household, viewers religiously watched in their millions.

In Life Below Stairs, bestselling author Alison Maloney responds to the public’s desire to know more, going behind the scenes to reveal a detailed picture of what really went on ‘downstairs’, describing the true-life trials and tribulations of the servants in a gripping non-fiction account.

Thoroughly researched and reliably informed, it also contains first-hand stories from the staff of the time. This charming and beautifully presented volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the lifestyle and conduct of a bygone era.

REVIEW: When Downton Abbey came on the scene, many readers started reading even more novels that take place in the Edwardian time period. I enjoy reading non-fiction about the different historical romance time periods and, thus, was drawn to this book.

The book discusses the different staff members and their hierarchy among the other servants. It details their dress, pay, rules, and job responsibilities. In addition, we learn about their living and working conditions and their constant work schedule throughout the day.

There is information about the price of food back then as compared to modern times and facts about various menus for every day and for special occasions. From the table settings, to intricate menus, to how food is served to guests is discussed in depth.

For those people who like Edwardian novels and have ever wondered why some things were done like they were, this is a very informative reference. I think after reading it, I shall have a better appreciation for the next book I read that takes place in this time period.

Connie for b2b


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