Title: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey
Author: Wendy Wax
Format: Paperback, eBook and AudioBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Literary Fiction – Adult
Release date: 2 April, 2013
About the Book:
When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…
Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.
Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.
And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.
For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey.
What I fully expected to be a story that focused on the female friendships as these 3 strangers encounter one another in the lobby of their building, actually turned out to expand on that theme and incorporate Edward, the concierge, as a mastermind who fully integrated his business motto of “making your life easier” into the lives of the residents in the building he oversees.
Downton Abbey’s first two seasons provide a backdrop for the real action: while the residents experience a ‘taste’ of England and immerse themselves in the drama on the screen, they are acclimatizing themselves to one another: and have easy conversation starters. With a mix of cajoling and strong-arm tactics, Edward moves the three women: Claire, Brooke and Samantha, into a prime seat, for somehow he sensed that the three would be compatible.
From the first tentative steps toward friendship, through devastatingly difficult circumstances, these three women learn to trust in themselves and one another, while navigating the challenges that life throws at them. Throughout it all, Edward serves as quiet directorial hand, providing opportunities, making suggestions and encouraging the women’s interactions, while maintaining an air of quiet dignity that hides the caring heart within.
From the very first page, Wendy Wax has managed to create a story that has characters with complexity and secrets, moments of utter embarrassment and sheer frivolity. These three months are loaded with events large and small that reinforce the relationships between the women, and their relationships and view of themselves. While Downton Abbey is the tie that brought them together, their story is just as enchanting and transfixing as the one on the screen.
Women who are aware of the power of friendship will find much to agree with in this book, those who tend to shrug off the power that support and caring from your female friends can bring are in for an awakening. A book that I will be suggesting to several of my friends, in fact names were popping into my head as I read the book!
I received an eBook copy from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.