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Habits of the House: A Novel Audiobook, by Fay Weldon Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Fay Weldon Narrator: Katherine Kellgren Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Love and Inheritance Trilogy Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781427228925
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (476 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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From the award-winning novelist and writer of Upstairs Downstairs, the launch of a brilliant new trilogy about what life was really like for masters and servants before the world of Downton Abbey

As the Season of 1899 comes to an end, the world is poised on the brink of profound, irrevocable change. The Earl of Dilberne is facing serious financial concerns. The ripple effects spread to everyone in the household: Lord Robert, who has gambled unwisely on the stock market and seeks a place in the Cabinet; his unmarried children, Arthur, who keeps a courtesan, and Rosina, who keeps a parrot in her bedroom; Lord Robert's wife Isobel, who orders the affairs of the household in Belgrave Square; and Grace, the lady's maid who orders the life of her mistress.

Lord Robert can see no financial relief to an already mortgaged estate, and, though the Season is over, his thoughts turn to securing a suitable wife (and dowry) for his son. The arrival on the London scene of Minnie, a beautiful Chicago heiress with a reputation to mend, seems the answer to all their prayers.

As the writer of the pilot episode of the original Upstairs, Downstairs—Fay Weldon brings a deserved reputation for magnificent storytelling. With wit and sympathy—and no small measure of mischief—Habits of the House plots the interplay of restraint and desire, manners and morals, reason and instinct.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Narrator Katherine Kellgren creates an amazing variety of voices for the numerous characters both British and American…Kellgren captures the subtle humor and the satire in author Fay Weldon's writing. Sound Commentary

  • “Settle in for a good, entertaining comedy of manners as Katherine Kellgren reads with all the appropriate accents. BookPage

  • With a tony accent and wry humor, Katherine Kellgren narrates this story of an upper-class family on the verge of losing the life its members have always known…Written by the author of ‘Upstairs Downstairs,' Habits of the House will delight fans of ‘Downton Abbey' and those who enjoy dry wit coupled with excellent narration. AudioFile Magazine
  • Narrator Kellgren creates distinct voices for all involved: servants, aristocracy and wealthy, title-seeing Americans. The Plain Dealer
  • Habits of the House, an energetic story of the Dilberne family during a few months in 1899, is read at Gatling-gun speed and very effectively by Katherine Kellgren. The Winston-Salem Journal

Listener Reviews

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  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina | 2/17/2014

    " I liked this book until the end. It seemed to end so abruptly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Et | 2/5/2014

    " If you love Downton Abbey, this book will disappoint you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 1/27/2014

    " Read just like The TV Series Upstairs, Downstairs. Oh wait she wrote for the series. Looking for book 2 in the triology. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 GEPL | 1/22/2014

    " Fay Weldon wrote the pilot episode of the TV show Upstairs Downstairs. This turned out to be quite funny with that subtle British humor and the upstairs-downstairs viewpoints and tension. It reminded me of Downton Abbey but sleazier! I had difficulty liking any of the characters in the beginning since but they did grow on me as the story went on. The family is in financial jeopardy but most of them are in denial about the seriousness of it and carry on in an entitled manner with their daily life. The staff is much more aware and involved in their affairs than they realize. It's wrapped up in the end by fashion article in a newspaper covering a dinner with the Prince attending and you know all the intrigue that went on behind the scenes to get there. This is the beginning of a trilogy about the family and I'm looking forward to the sequel "Long live the King" due out next month! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ilona | 1/22/2014

    " Hmmm, this story sounded very familiar to Downton Abbey, but not quite as good. I wasn't eager to finish this book, but I did. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kim | 1/18/2014

    " A delightful novel about an English family that has fallen on difficult times. Their traditions seem to be under attack by the newly rich upstarts whom they encounter. The family needs to make advantageous marriages for their children in order to save the family fortune. And of course, the servants have their own ideas about how things should play out. Fans of Downton Abbey will enjoy this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Patsy | 1/5/2014

    " That was not good. Not a single likeable character, upstairs or downstairs. And the ending was beyond disappointing. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam | 1/1/2014

    " I "read" this in audiobook format. It was very well done! I was intrigued in parts, shook my head much of the time, laughed out loud, found some parts shocking, and thoroughly enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paulien | 12/29/2013

    " erg leuk boek met heerlijk vleugje humor. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 11/8/2013

    " Good stories about the rich and not so rich. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sallyaj | 10/30/2013

    " Others have compared to Downton Abbey. I think that's a stretch! There are some very bothersome anachronisms in this book, especially women feminists before their time. But if you can suspend judgement you might be carried away by the plot turns, lavish settings, and entertaining characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Barbara | 10/29/2013

    " This book was pretty bland "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Elizabeth | 10/7/2013

    " Supposed to be for Downton Abbey fans. It was a little repetitive here and there and doesn't really amount to much. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Joan | 9/11/2013

    " Couldn't even finish this. Ugh. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Savannah | 4/28/2013

    " A mediocre Downton Abbey alike. Maybe this type of story is better for the screen and not a novel. I never really cared too deeply for the characters, upstairs or down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 1/2/2013

    " If you liked the Upstairs Downstairs seies you will find thie new book by Fay Weldon not nearly as interesting or fun.. The characters are also not as well developed or likable. Still worth reading though for some light entertainment. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenn | 12/16/2012

    " 3.5, really. Entertaining little read! "

About the Author

Fay Weldon is one of Britain’s most respected and best-loved authors. She lives on a windswept hill in Dorset with her husband and has four sons, three stepsons, and six grandchildren.

About the Narrator

Katherine Kellgren (1969–2018), narrator and actress, appeared onstage in London, New York, and Frankfurt, including in the role of Laura in a regional production of The Glass Menagerie and appearances on Comedy Central. In recognition of her mastery of audiobook narration, she received many honors, including the prestigious Audie Awards, with four for best female narrator; the Odyssey Award; Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award; dozens of AudioFile magazine Earphones Awards; an AudioFile Golden Voice Award; Booklist Voice of Choice award; and acclaim from press and listener reviews.