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Download Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, by The Countess of Carnarvon Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,783 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: The Countess of Carnarvon Narrator: Wanda McCaddon Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2012 ISBN: 9781452676845
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Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle, 2011, created by the current Countess (Fiona) of Carnarvon, is a blend of biography, novel, and historiography. The setting and inspiration for the PBS Emmy winning television series created by Julian Fellowes, this work is much more than a fan-fiction glimpse into the Late Edwardian Era estate.

To capture the mood leading to the World War I years, the family archives of Highclere Castle are tapped by the current Countess: letters, photographs, and diaries of the inhabitants present a wealth of material. Yet this tale is as much about the countess as it is Highclere. Detailed in a way that fans of historical fiction or period novels would appreciate, the transition from Victoriana to the Edwardian Era is revealed through the life of the late Countess.

Akin to Lady Cora Crawley, her Downton Abbey series counterpart, our Lady Almina was daughter of the wealthy industrialist Alfred de Rothschild. She married young, becoming the eighth Countess; it was her ample dowry which preserved the ancestral home of the fifth Earl of Carnarvon. We discover how, during World War I, her generous spirit led to the transformation of Highclere Castle into a hospital for the wounded, and also how later her wealth would finance the Earl's expeditions to Egypt for the opening of King Tut's tomb.

Lady Fiona Carnarvon studied English and German at University of St. Andrews before becoming an accountant. She met Geordie Carnarvon in 1996. After his father died, they took tenureship of the Highclere Castle.

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey tells the story behind Highclere Castle, the real-life inspiration and setting for Julian Fellowes's Emmy Award-winning PBS show, and the life of one of its most famous inhabitants: Lady Almina, the fifth Countess of Carnarvon. Drawing on a rich store of materials from the archives of Highclere Castle, including diaries, letters, and photographs, the current Lady Carnarvon has written a transporting story of this fabled home on the brink of war. Much like her Masterpiece Classic counterpart Lady Cora Crawley, Lady Almina was the daughter of a wealthy industrialist, Alfred de Rothschild, who married his daughter off at a young age, her dowry serving as the crucial link in the effort to preserve the Earl of Carnarvon's ancestral home.  Throwing open the doors of Highclere Castle to tend to the wounded of World War I, Lady Almina distinguished herself as a brave and remarkable woman. This rich tale contrasts the splendor of Edwardian life in a great house against the backdrop of the First World War and offers an inspiring and revealing picture of the woman at the center of the history of Highclere Castle. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Gives the juicy back story behind last year's Emmy-winning Masterpiece Theater drama. The New York Times
  • “A fascinating look at the woman of the house who turned her castle into a hospital for wounded British soldiers returning from World War I.”

    USA Today

  • “Almina was a woman of great charm and courage.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “Gives the juicy backstory behind last year’s Emmy-winning Masterpiece Theater drama.”

    New York Times

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan Morris | 2/16/2014

    " Thoroughly enjoyed this read. Not quite what I expected -- it was not as much about Highclere itself, but more as a backdrop to the turn of the century through WWI. There was quite a bit about the war itself and its impact on the household -- both those who served as well as those left on the homefront -- which I found quite interesting since I don't know a whole lot about that era. Well written and nicely paced. I recommend even for those who are not faithful fans of Downton Abbey! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arianne | 2/14/2014

    " I liked it. I thought it was good. Quite interesting, actually. I guess it was more about Lady Almina's life, but more about the downstairs people and how their roles changed through the time periods would have been interesting too. My only complaint about this book was that the ending was a bit anti-climactic. You wait about half the book to hear about the discovery in Egypt and when they finally get there, it's brushed over in a couple of lines without much description or fanfare. But other than that, it was a very interesting biography. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Courtney | 2/12/2014

    " Liked the knowing the history and people behind the "real" Downton Abbey,... just don't care for fiction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Beth | 2/10/2014

    " Excellent. Absolutely excellent. Review forthcoming. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Aley Martin | 2/1/2014

    " Exceptional book! Could not put it down. Did not realize the Earl financed King Tuts excavation. Fascinating read! Wonderful book "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Delta | 1/26/2014

    " Enlighting...I had not connected the name with Tutankamen (sp). What a history! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy Dove | 1/24/2014

    " Love stories about the history of these old families. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adrien | 1/19/2014

    " while the beginning was great as it outlined their early years, I found the war years a bit slow and tedious. But then things picked back up at the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim | 1/19/2014

    " A really interesting read about English life in Victorian/Edwardian days through shortly after WWI. The current tie to the "Downton Abbey" series and the always interesting story of the discovery of the discovery of "King Tut's tomb" make it doubly interesting. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edna | 12/23/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book....very interesting family. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sari | 12/17/2013

    " This book took me by surprise. As a fan of Downton Abbey, I thought that I would enjoy the book for its connection to the television series. But I found the true story of Lady Almina and her family, as they intersected with historical events and history-makers, to be riveting. A must read!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristin Dunn | 12/16/2013

    " interesting woman and interesting era. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Donna Halloran | 12/11/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun history lesson. I learned a lot about a topic that I still feel I know very little about. I think those who like the show would love it even more. I solid 3 1/2 stars "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristina | 12/2/2013

    " I enjoyed this book, and learned some things from it. An interesting read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janet | 9/23/2013

    " Interesting book - again quite different from the tv show but still full of information about the castle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sheri | 6/13/2013

    " This is worth reading if you LOVE Downton Abbey and if you enjoy history. You have to be willing to overlook the poor writing. It has some wonderful pictures of the fam. Borrow it instead of buying it if you can! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Susan Amati | 4/22/2013

    " Loved it. Quite the page turner. Downton Abbey fans will be shocked and surprised how much the true story resembles the fictional one. "

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

    " This was definitely more of a biography and not that well written. It was interesting learning about lady almina, but kinda slow. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mrsireland | 11/25/2012

    " First half was quick reading and fairly interesting, but then the book began to drag and drone on and on. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melanie Fahey | 11/17/2012

    " I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's a must read for any true Downton Abbey addict. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Carrie Johnson | 9/17/2012

    " One of my favorite books. So fascinating. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carolyn | 9/4/2012

    " The true story is even more fascinating than the story shown on Downton Abby. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kaye Dewar | 5/21/2012

    " This book rambles a bit but it fascinating to hear about really rich people. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Daisy Nancy | 5/10/2012

    " Fascinating story whether you are a fan of Downton Abbey or not... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jeralyn lovell | 4/11/2012

    " I loved thisbook. she is my hero from all her charity work. downtown abbey is loosely based on this story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Stacy | 3/31/2012

    " This gave me good insight into life during the time period and how they lived their lives. I especially enjoyed hearing about the Earl's role in finding King Tut's tomb. I never realized how long they searched and to realize they almost gave up....interesting. "

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