Friday, December 27, 2013

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

I started to review Wendy Wax' While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, and didn't feel as if I was capturing the flavor of the book. It's women's fiction, the story of a group of women who come together because of the PBS show. However, this book has a different slant than many women's novels. It's an unusual man who brings them together, not just the TV show.

Edward Parker is the concierge at the Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building. His family has been in service in England for generations. With a degree from Cornell School of Hotel Administration and years of experience, he finally started his own business, Private Butler, and won the contract at the Alexander. And, he's smart enough to think he might be able to bring together some of the women in the building by showing Sunday night screenings of the first two seasons of Downton Abbey leading up to season three.

Edward manipulates three of the women to sit together. At forty-seven, even after twenty-six years of marriage to a wealthy man, Samantha Davis is still insecure. She was a young bride with two younger siblings to raise, always grateful to her husband for marrying her and saving them from financial and legal issues. She appears to have everything, but her family life isn't quite what it appears.

After three years of marriage, Claire Walker divorced her husband, and raised her daughter, Hailey, on her own. Now, Hailey's off to college, and after writing two historical romances while working, Claire moved into the Alexander, giving herself a year to write full-time. But, that's not working quite as she expected.

Brooke MacKenzie, her husband, and two daughters moved into the building because her plastic surgeon husband wanted to be closer to monied people. Then, he left her for a younger woman, leaving Brooke a little stunned and feeling inadequate.

For a little while, it seems as if Edward Parker's plans to create friendship will succeed. But, even the perfect Private Butler can't make life go smoothly. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is a treat, just in time for the next season of Downton Abbey to premiere in January. And, the book also has a great cast with family problems, financial problems, issues that affect relationships. Wendy Wax had a wonderful idea to spin a novel around the screening of Downton Abbey. She succeeds beautifully with a warm novel about friendship. It's an appealing story that doesn't depend on the television show for its success.

Wendy Was' website is

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax. Berkley Books. 2013. ISBN 9780425263310 (paperback), 376p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Libby Dodd said...


Nancy said...

Thanks for the review. It's doubly interesting to me because I gave the DVDs of Downton Abbey to my daughter for Christmas and I've been considering getting this book for her. It does sound good.

Rosemary said...

Oooh, this sounds great, what a brilliant idea for a plot. We're watching the Downton Christmas Special as I type. Thanks for the review Lesa.

Lesa said...

I really enjoyed the book. I'm glad I could tempt you all to read it.

Cozy in Texas said...

Interesting - It might be interesting to talk to other groups who watch Downton Abbey - always drama especially when you get a group of women together.

Lesa said...

You're right, Ann. A lot of drama in this book as well as the PBS series.

Karen C said...

I don't read a lot of women's fiction, but this sounds very interesting. I've seen some of her other books and they also intrigued me.

Lesa said...

It's a little different, Karen, and I liked that. I do read a decent amount of women's fiction, and I like novels that aren't the same.