It’s unusual for a popular TV show like Downton Abbey to go on hiatus for so long before a feature film adaptation captures the essence of the show.
However, they did an outstanding job! For those of us who had watched the TV series, the Crawley family withdrawals began again after the show ended.
Fortunately, as is often the case, we discovered that we could satisfy our desire to be transported to the upper and lower floors of an English manor house by reading a good book.
With this in mind, we set out to find books that were similar to Downton Abbey in many ways. There isn’t a Downton Abbey Book because the show was created for television. However, Julian Fellowes—the man behind the show—has another book that made our list.
In other stories, the contrast between the affluent and those who serve them is the central theme. In the spirit of Downton, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite fiction books based on Downton Abbey’s characters!
We’ve also got a recommendation for those of you who were drawn to Mary, Matthew, Daisy, and Cora’s characters as they learned to bridge the gap between the past and the future.
The Gown: A Novel Of The Royal Wedding
By Jennifer Robson
Even though The Gown takes place after the events of Downton Abbey, the contrast between England’s working class and the country’s aristocracy is apparent.
In this case, the novel follows the embroiderers as they struggle to survive on ration coupons and limited wages after World War II, while working on Princess Elizabeth’s elaborate wedding gown.
As a woman’s grandmother leaves her a mysterious box of detailed embroidery samples, the book’s present-day sections are also included.
In spite of Melissa’s fears that the book would be dominated by gowns and accessories, she found a character-driven 5 star novel. Because so many books are set during World War II, it was fascinating to learn about life after the Blitz.
Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan
There’s no doubt about it, this one isn’t easy to swallow at first glance. However, both my husband and I enjoy both Downton Abbey and the Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy, and we think you will, too.
The characters in Crazy Rich Asians, like those in Downton Abbey, are made up of several generations who are all trying to find a way to live harmoniously in a rapidly changing world. The books are set in modern-day Singapore, not in the England of the 1910s and 1920s.
When you’re in the spotlight, however, you’ll discover wealth, family dynamics, and the various pressures that come with choosing a partner. Also, a sense of levity!
There are a LOT of characters in this trilogy and it’s a good idea to read them sequentially so that you can keep up with their stories while they are still fresh in your mind.
Snobs: A Novel
by Julian Fellowes
Julian Fellowes’ debut novel, Snobs, dealt with class differences before he wrote Downton Abbey.
Snobs, in contrast to Downton Abbey, takes aim at the British aristocracy and upper class while also providing a window into their world.
Lady Almina And The Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy Of Highclere Castle
by the Countess of Carnarvon
Have you ever wondered who the real occupants of Highclere Castle are? The book was written in 2011 by Lady Fiona, the current 8th Countess of Carnarvon. The story revolves around Lady Almina, Alfred de Rothschild’s American-born illegitimate daughter.
It was in Highclere Castle that Almina and the 5th Earl of Carnarvon lived together after they wed in 1895. The couple’s adventures, generosity, and legacy fill this book about the “real Downton Abbey,” which chronicles the lives of Lord and Lady Grantham.
The American Heiress
by Daisy Goodwin
It has been said that this book is a remedy for Downton Abbey withdrawal.
As with Cora on DA, wealthy American heiresses were frequently paired with English aristocrats in order to gain a title and a better social standing. When another Cora goes to England with her mother, she is hoping to find love with a duke.
Will she be as lucky as Cora was in finding Robert as her soul mate?
Meet Me In Monaco: A Novel Of Grace Kelly’s Royal Wedding
by Hazel Gaynor
No doubt you were entranced by Downton Abbey’s opulent wedding scenes. If so, pick up Meet Me In Monaco and join Grace Kelly as she tries to evade photographers and marry Prince Rainier of Monaco at the Cannes Film Festival in France.
Friendship and passion are said to fill the book. After reading this book, we can’t wait to share our thoughts with each other.
Jackie’s Girl: My Life With The Kennedy Family
by Kathy McKeon
Kathy McKeon was Jackie Kennedy’s assistant for 13 years, during which time she also nannied for Caroline and John Jr. As in Mary and Anna’s relationship, Jackie and Kathy had a bond that was more than just a simple employee-employer one.
After immigrating to the United States as a young woman from Ireland, Kathy tells her own story in Jackie’s Girl about how Jackie helped her adjust to life in the United States and become a successful American citizen at age 19.
by Kathryn Stockett
If you haven’t read The Help yet, we think you’ll enjoy it despite the fact that it takes place in 1962 Mississippi rather than 1920s England. Families and those who care for them as a job will feature prominently in this collection.
by Katharine McGee
Suppose George Washington had been crowned King instead of President of the United States.
Find out what life would be like today if we had an aristocratic class structure in this YA reimagining of America. There’s even a romance that’ll make you think of Sybil and Tom!
Our anticipation for the sequel, due in bookstores in September 2020, is palpable.
The Housekeeper’s Tale: The Women Who Really Ran The English Country House
by Tessa Boase
Was Mrs. Hughes your all-time favored character? If that’s the case, this is a must-have!
There are five women who ran country houses in England that are the subject of this book. Diaries, shopping lists, letters, and more were used to piece together the stories of these little-known but vital members of English society.