Friday, October 14, 2016

Book Brief: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Belgravia 
by Julian Fellowes
Grand Central Publishing, 2016
402 pages
source: purchased

Audio edition:
Hachette Audio, 2016
narrated by Juliet Stevenson
15 hours and 48 minutes
source: Borrowed from library

Publisher's Summary:
Julian Fellowes's Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode. Set in the 1840s, when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's new legendary ball, one family's life will change forever.

My thoughts:

"Show, don't tell." 

When it comes to writing, we're all familiar with that basic rule. Julian Fellowes not only breaks it with Belgravia, he totally ignores it. This novel is ALL telling... and yet, still immensely enjoyable.

Belgravia  is a rollicking good story filled with a big family secret, social class and position, upstairs/downstairs tension, and intrigue - so  Julian Fellowes! While there's nothing special in the writing, Juliet Stevenson's narration is perfection. I could practically see the miniseries as I listened. And I'm guessing that's exactly as Lord Fellowes intended.

I especially recommend this book as a follow-up to an intense, emotionally draining read. It was exactly what I needed after Germinal.

My rating:

30 comments:

  1. This sounds good.

    You raise a good point about the "show not tell" rule.


    One hears it all the time, yet some great writers, ranging from Jane Austen to Hermann Hesse seem to break it and do so successfully.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Brian Joseph - So true! Sometimes when the story is good enough, it doesn't seem to matter.

      Delete
  2. This may be a good one for audio when I walk. I will see if the library has it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tina - I definitely recommend going the audio route with Belgravia. If you're interested in audio nonfiction, I finished Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson a few days ago and it was excellent. It made me angry and it made me cry. It will keep you walking longer than you planned just to keep listening!

      Delete
  3. This sounds wonderful and yes, another one for my radar!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Iliana - This was an excellent story and the perfect 'recovery' book.

      Delete
  4. Family secrets and intrigue? Sounds right up my alley!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kathy - It was a lot of fun... great story!

      Delete
  5. I've kept having to return this to the library unlistened to! Maybe next time will be the charm...and I'm definitely sometimes OK with a good story, not all that well written. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audrey - The story is a good one, but combined with Juliet Stevenson's narration it becomes great! I think you would like it :)

      Delete
  6. I must just not get it, but I don't care for anything JF writes, whether television, movies, or books, but I do like the man. I heard a great interview with him. You may listen here: https://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2016-07-07/julian-fellowes-belgravia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nan - I'm a huge Downton Abbey fan, but this was the first time I've read Fellowes. Thank you so much for the interview link!!

      Delete
  7. Thanks for your recommendation, JoAnn. I'll definitely keep an eye out for it, albeit I doubt it will come to our local library. I'd listened to Juliet Stevenson's reading of several titles and as what you've suggested here, even though the book may not be as appealing, her reading compensates for any lack of the writing. ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Arti - Juliet Stevenson is a favorite narrator! She does an excellent job with classics, too.

      Delete
    2. Just got this from our local library! What a change in listening to JS's narration after the young girl's southern U.S. accent reading "Z". Now this one is 13 CD's long but I'm glad it's JS's voice accompanying me driving. :)

      Delete
    3. Arti - Enjoy! Listening to Belgravia was such a pleasure!!

      Delete
  8. I have never read a book by Fellowes. I love Downton Ave so this might be a good one to start.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pam - I'm a bug Downton fan, too, but this was the first I've read of Fellowes. I may try his earlier novel, Snobs, the next time I need a 'recovery' book.

      Delete
  9. Well, I'm going to have to give it a try - I am missing Downtown and this might be just the thing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa - Try and get the audio... such amazing narration!!

      Delete
  10. I am disappointed you didn't find the writing to be strong and I'm disappointed to hear that the author tells and tells and tells. I just got it in from the library. Not sure if I want to read it now or not! But I thank you very much for sharing your thoughts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Deb - The writing was more "nothing special" than "not strong", and the strength of the story more than made up for it. Overall, an enjoyable reading experience!

      Delete
  11. Hi JoAnn: this one sounds a lot like his series Downton Abbey. Was it much different than that? have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Susan - Belgravia and Downton Abbey share many similar elements, but different time periods. Both lots of fun!

      Delete
  12. I hope it becomes a miniseries!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beth F - I do, too! It's got to be good!!

      Delete
  13. You always have such good audio recommendations. I'm adding this and Just Mercy to my Audible.com list. Speaking of audios, I am completely hooked on Behind Closed Doors. What an intense thriiler!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Les! Belgravia and Just Mercy are SO different, but both are wonderful. I'll add Behind Closed Doors to my audio wish list, but it sounds like I'd be up all night if I try to listen to it at bedtime ;-)

      Delete
    2. I wouldn't recommend listening at bedtime! However, if you want to go for a marathon walk, the time will pass very quickly. ;)

      Delete
    3. Les - I'll put it on my Florida list then... for the day I walk to the lighthouse!!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails