How I Influenced “Downton Abbey”

Maybe you could think of this post not as outright bragging, but as giddiness, OK? Because my brilliant friend and co-author Gail MacColl sent me an article from the UK Daily Telegraph’s Sunday magazine, in which Julian Fellowes, … well, just let me quote it. When he was originally approached about writing the script for this as-yet-unnamed TV series

Fellowes was reading a book called To Marry an English Lord, about American girls who had come over to England in the late 19th century and had married into the English aristocracy.

“It occurred to me that while it must have been wonderful for these girls to begin with,” he says, “what happened 25 years later when they were freezing in a house in Cheshire, aching for Long Island? That was where it all started — with the idea of a woman bringing up her children in a culture different to hers.'”

This is, as Gail put it, deeply satisfying.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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24 Responses to How I Influenced “Downton Abbey”

  1. Custos Libros says:

    OMG. Getting out my copy of TMEL tonight!

  2. Nancy Casserley says:

    This is so exciting! I want to see your name roll past in the credits!
    I don’t know if the new series has started up yet in the US but it was on this Sunday in the UK, and those scarlet dress jackets are absolute heaven.We have you to thank for all of this!

    • carolwallace says:

      Nancy, not, sadly, for the scarlet mess jackets, than which nothing is more dashing. Well, maybe the uniforms in the film of Vanity Fair — the Duchess of Richmond’s Ball….

  3. Lisa says:

    Like Nancy, I was thinking there should be a credit line somewhere. “Inspired by” ? I haven’t had the pleasure of reading it yet but will be looking for a copy asap.

  4. Margaret Fiegel says: been waiting for the next installment of Downton Abbey. Loved Maggie Smith, a perfect dowager!.

    I also thought Jane Haddam had changed but thought it was just me! Glad to hear I’m not alone. Have you read any Rita Brown and Sneaky Pie mysteries. As a cat lover I thought they were wonderful but the last couple of books have been a disappointment, too preachy!

    • carolwallace says:

      Yes, Margaret, I read somewhere that Julian Fellowes wrote that part for her. She is Just Too Good. I haven’t read the “Sneaky Pie” mysteries because they struck me as too cutesy. I do love cats but I don’t think I want to see one solve a mystery. Or Jane Austen, for that matter!

  5. Pingback: More “Downton Abbey” Reading « Book Group of One

  6. A fan says:

    I’ve loved this book to death – literally, it’s falling apart. Any change that you will publish in ebook format? Kindle in particular? A lot of books are on there claiming to be the “inspiration” for Downton Abbey and have sold really well!

    • carolwallace says:

      We are actually thinking about it now. It’s complicated because the press on which “To Marry” was originally printed no longer exists so we can’t just reprint, and of course as an ebook we’d lose all the images, but they were so poorly reproduced in the original that it might not be too much of a loss. I just yesterday started re-reading the narrative and there may be a way to make it work as a more text-heavy book. So stay tuned! So glad you’re a fan!

  7. carolwallace says:

    Oh, this is huuuuge news! And fun for everyone. Here’s a piece of ancient gossip you’ll enjoy: evidently Consuelo’s son, the 10th Duke, was given the first look at the manuscript and edited it very thoroughly, because Consuelo had been just too frank. (She complains a LOT.)

    Also, have you read Hugo Vickers’ enjoyable “Gladys, Duchess of Marlborough?” About Consuelo’s successor. Fascinating.

  8. Pingback: Even More on “Downton Abbey,” This Time Adding Edith Wharton « Book Group of One

  9. Pingback: Julian Fellowes Likes Me: My “Downton Abbey” Saga Continues « Book Group of One

  10. Maddie says:

    Congrats! This is very exciting news indeed. Since it is no longer in print, it has been really difficult to hunt down a copy. You don’t happen to have extra copies of the book on hand, do you?

    • carolwallace says:

      Actually, I don’t! But stay tuned for new developments. A cast of dozens is working on pulling together a reprint faster than you would believe possible. More soon! –C.

  11. Katey says:

    I am reading To Marry An English Lord right now. I love it!!! I got my book from the library because when I went to Amazon to buy a copy, it would cost $400! I am happy to hear of a reprint! I want one as soon as I can get one. Keep us posted! Thanks.

    • carolwallace says:

      Oh, Katey, I’m glad you got your hands on a copy. We wrote it so long ago that I’m pretty objective about it, and I have to say, when I re-read a few weeks ago, I thought it held up pretty well. There’s a lot of info packed into it! I will certainly be trumpeting any reprint activity when it’s official!

  12. Mona Gambone says:

    Bravo! We need that reprint as soon as possible. I collect all books on this subject, but not willing to pay $300-$400 for one.

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