Last year, the telly-watching public was gripped by Downton Abbey - the most successful British period drama in years and the number-one most-watched new drama programme of 2010. Captivated by the secrets, the scandal and the servant-master divide of an Edwardian household, viewers religiously watched in their millions. In Life Below Stairs, bestselling author Alison Maloney responds to the public's desire to know more, going behind the scenes to reveal a detailed picture of what really went on 'downstairs', describing the true-life trials and tribulations of the servants in a gripping non-fiction account. Thoroughly researched and reliably informed, it also contains first-hand stories from the staff of the time. This charming and beautifully presented volume is a must-read for anyone interested in the lifestyle and conduct of a bygone era.
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Alison Maloney is a journalist and author whose books - for both adults and children - have included the Number 1 Sunday Times bestseller The Mums' Book. As well as a long stint on The Sunday Post newspaper, she worked as a children's book editor for two years. Alison lives with her husband, also a writer, and two children in Kent.From Booklist:
Capitalizing on the popularity of Downton Abbey and the revival of Upstairs Downstairs, social historians have rushed to take a new look at the everyday lives of Victorian and Edwardian servants. Maloney casts a journalist’s eye on an old subject, weighing in with this slim volume detailing the daily grind without benefit of the glamour and the intrigue that has hooked millions of viewers on these highbrow soap operas. Although not much new information is provided, this handy compendium is a digestible introduction to the dos and don’ts of the highly stratified upper-class households of the era. Especially revealing are the interspersed anecdotal snippets culled from the memoirs of both domestic staff members and their well-heeled employers. --Margaret Flanagan
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