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Are you missing Sunday evenings with the Crawleys? Never fear! In this two-part blog post the Dangerous Library Book Pushers have suggestions for your reading until Downton Abbey makes its reappearance in 2013.

If you enjoy British family sagas:

  • Forsyte Saga (John Galsworthy) Part of the commercial class rather than the nobility the Forsyte clan with their affairs, changing fortunes and loyalties portrays the shifting roles of women and marriage in society.
  • Morland Dynasty (Cynthia Harrod-Eagles) Like Downton, set in Yorkshire, the Morland Dynasty begins just before the War of the Roses and continues for 33 volumes to just after World War 2.
  • No Angel (Penny Vincenzi) Similar to Lady Mary, “Celia Lytton is the beautiful and strong-willed daughter of wealthy aristocrats and she is used to getting her way.”(Goodreads) The three volumes of this saga are set in London during World War 1.
  • Penmarric (Susan Howatch) Melodrama abounds in this story set in Cornwall spanning three generations centered on the family home, Penmarric.

If Edwardian England is the place you want to be:

  • Falling Angels (Tracy Chevalier) In 1901 London two girls from different classes meet and forge a friendship.
  • House at Riverton (Kate Morton) Now in her nineties, a former housemaid remembers the mysterious death of a poet at an English country house in 1924.

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  • Birdsong (Sebastian Faulks) After a passionate love affair with Parisian Isabelle Azaire, engineer Stephen Wraysford finds himself mining the trenches on the western front. Faulks’ descriptions of trench warfare are truly dreadful.
  • Deafening (Frances Itani) Although told through the eyes of a young deaf woman, Grania, living in Canada her husband’s experience in Flanders compares to that of William and Matthew (credit Barry at dress head). Grania, like Lady Mary, must endure the uncertainty of having a loved one in danger on the battle front.
  • Private Peaceful (Michael Morpungo) Teenager Private Thomas Peaceful recalls his Yorkshire upbringing while waiting in the trenches at Ypres for battle to begin.

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