Review: Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Belgravia by Julian Fellowes

Belgravia¬†by Julian Fellowes wasn’t as good as Downton Abbey, although it is set up well for television. It’s broken into “episodes” instead of chapters. The plot centers around the¬†Trenchard family: James, who’s always looking to climb the social ladder, his wife Ann, much too smart and sensible for her husband, their dead daughter Saphia, and their son Oliver. The novel begins in 1815 Belgium on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo. We’re introduced to Saphia, who is tricked into a love affair by, Lord Bellesis. The result is an orphaned illegitimate son who the Trenchard keep secret and squirrel away to a clergyman somewhere outside of London. The book then jumps ahead 25 years and everyone surrounding the Trenchard’s and Bellesis’ mother, Lady Brockenhurst is trying to figure out the significance of newcomer, Charles Pope.

I promise I’m not giving anything away by saying all of that. I loved the characters in this book, but the plot was too slow. The reader knows everything, but the characters are completely in the dark. It was amusing at times to see them floundering around, but mostly it was just frustrating. I wanted more action. I think Fellowes could have written this same story without the reader knowing the secret, and it would have been more enjoyable.

If you just want descriptions of 1840s London and great characters, you may enjoy this book more than I did. I listened to the audiobook, and the accent was fun. It filled my longing for more Downton Abbey a bit, but I was hoping for more drama. It seemed like one plot line from a TV show, but I was expecting there to be many more things going on at once like a TV episode would have.

Rating: 3 Stars

Belgravia
Julian Fellowes
Fiction
Hachette Book Group
July 5, 2016
Audio CD
13

Julian Fellowes' 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.

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