Book wishes

There is a cottage industry of books about/inspired by/vaguely related to PBS’ hit British Edwardian soap opera Downton Abbey. A sampling includes: The World of Downton Abbey (St. Martin’s, 2011); The Real Life Downton Abbey: How Life was Really Lived in Stately Homes (John Blake, 2012); The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook (Adams Media, 2012). Amid so many reading options, the most appealing is the one that holds the best claim to the word “real.” Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle (Broadway, 2011) is written by the Countess of Carnarvon, a.k.a. the actual heir to the actual castle where the TV series is filmed. In this book, Countess Carnarvon writes a biography of her ancestor Lady Almina, who was the inspiration for the character Lady Cora Crawley. We just hope that the contemporary Countess inherited writing chops along with her title.