Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

I borrowed While We Were Watching Downton Abbey because it was available on audio on Overdrive when I randomly searched the available books one day. I almost never borrow books without placing a hold or at least picking them off of my TBR list. But this book caught my eye because of the Downton Abbey reference, and I enjoyed it.

Edward, the concierge of a high rise condo building, organizes a weekly Sunday night viewing of the first two seasons of Downton Abbey in preparation for the start of season 3. Three women from the building meet there and become good friends despite their different places in life. The friendship aspects of this book reminded me of what I loved about Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty (one of my all-time favorite books).

Claire, a published novelist, is taking the year to write full time, only she cannot seem to find her characters or story. Her daughter is newly away at college, and Claire doesn’t know what to do with all of her spare time.

Brooke is the mother of two young girls who’s recently divorced from her plastic surgeon husband. She’s juggling the girls and having to deal with run-ins with her ex-husband and his new “Barbie” wife.

Samantha appears perfect with her 25-year marriage and penthouse condo. She’s constantly having to rescue her errant siblings and is so focused on making her husband, Jonathan, happy that she’s not sure if she even loves him. And he’s not so sure either.

This book was cute. I loved the friendships and the Downton Abbey references (although you definitely don’t have to have watched it to read this book), but there was something missing. Maybe it was just too slow for my taste.

Another complaint: so many characters were referred to by both their first and last names throughout the book. It was kind of weird and unnecessary to keep using both names.

Rating: 3 Stars

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey
Wendy Wax
Penguin Audio
April 2, 2013

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.

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    1. Agreed. I enjoyed listening to it, but I didn’t feel like it was something I’d read again or something everyone else had to read. It served it’s purpose for some mindless entertainment.

  1. I put this one on my TBR when it came out because of the Downton Abbey tie-in. But then I only ended up watching the first season of the show, and this book went on the back burner. Sounds like I don’t need to rush to pick it up, but I’ll probably enjoy it whenever I get around to it. Thanks for the review!

    1. Gasp! You’ve only seen season 1 of Downton Abbey. Why did you stop? 🙂 I love, love, love that show. But no pressure. Haha. Yeah, probably you can skip this book then.

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