Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Audiobook Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey 
Author: Wendy Wax
Narrator: Orlagh Cassidy 
Length: 10 hours & 24 minutes
Release Date 4-2-13
Publisher: Penguin Audio

Publisher's Summary:
 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 one another....
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.
©2013 Wendy Wax (P)2013 Penguin Audio

My Thoughts:
I'm a  devoted Downton Abbey fan and this title grabbed me right away.  I was quickly drawn into the lives of these women who become friends while meeting with others in their apartment building to watch Downton Abbey.  The weekly screening was organized by Edward Parker, the building's British concierge, to help the residents get to know one another and to give him a taste of home.  I was listening to the first part of the book while grocery shopping when I learned that Edward was serving popcorn and wine for the first screening.  There must have been a subliminal message because I later found myself sitting in my favorite chair way past my bedtime, eating popcorn, drinking wine and listening to the residents discuss Downton Abbey.  I liked the descriptions of  British treats for other sessions, such as mini shepherd's pies, mini bangers and mash and a drink called shandy, a mixture of beer and lemonade that I'd like to sample.  It was interesting to see the developing friendship of the three women who seemed to have little in common.  I can't say I had a favorite among the women but Claire's inability to write after she had arranged her life so that she could be a full-time author was most interesting to me.  I empathized with Samantha and Brooke but I felt Claire's panic at not being able to begin working on her new book.  And when she had her impromptu book signing, I would have loved to hear her read an excerpt from one of her novels.  My favorite character was Edward Parker.  As concierge, he learns things about the residents they wouldn't want known but he is very discreet.  He has a side business called Private Butler.  I kept thinking that stories about him and his business would make a great series, maybe narrated by John Lee or Jim Broadbent. 

Orlagh Cassidy has a wonderful voice and her performance is flawless.  I thought she handled the Britsh accents well and also the soft southern voices of the women.  She is one of my favorite narrators.

Even if you aren't a Downton Abbey fan, you might want to be after reading While We Were Watching Downton Abbey.  It kept me interested until the satisfying end.  I give it 4.5 stars.

Review copy provided by Penguin Audio. 

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