Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon
Like all hot-blooded Americans, I am obsessed with all things "Downton Abbey." That show is magic, people. After I watch an episode, I walk around my house speaking in a British accent to my pets and I'm convinced I was meant to be English royalty. (Also, and this is a conversation for another time, but poor Lady Edith. I think she might be my favorite character. Girl can't catch a break.)
This book was written by the current Countess of Carnarvon Castle, where "Downton Abbey" is actually filmed, and is the backstory of the real-life family who lived there and on which the show is based. Much like the characters on the television drama, the real family had some out-of-the-ordinary experiences and interactions, and I dare say I liked Lady Almina much better than her counterpart, Lady Cora (because, come on. That faux accent makes me feel crazy after two or three minutes.). The descriptions of the castle were also enjoyable, because I feel like I've actually sat at that downstairs kitchen table a dozen times, so I could see it all in my mind.
What I really found fascinating was how reserved and restrained everyone appeared to be at that time, even when highly emotional events were swirling around them. I think we're all so used to the age of Facebook and Instagram and Twitter and the "I'm going to tell you about every emotion I have at the exact moment I have it" mindset that we've forgotten how much it wasn't like that not even 100 years ago. While I think I would have struggled a bit with keeping every feeling bottled up in public, I found myself a little envious of the privacy of secrecy. Like I said, I'm pretty sure I was meant to be English royalty.