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Readers Advisory

Need help deciding which book is next in a series or looking for a new author similar to your old favorites? Forgot the name and author of that book you read last year? To help you find the best reading material for you, we provide many online resources as well as personal assistance at the Reference & Information Desk.


If You Like... Downton Abbey on PBS

Evergreen Bookbag – ReadAlike: Downton Abbey

Ravenscar Dynasty by Barbara Taylor Bradford
Edward Deravenel is suspicious about the true cause of the mysterious fire that killed his father, brother, uncle, and cousin and vows to seek out the truth while taking control of his family's business empire with the help of his friend, and cousin, Neville Watkins.

The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
This is the latest part of a sweeping, multi-generational saga. In London, 1914, with World War I approaching, polar explorer Seamus Finnegan tries to forget Willa, a passionate mountain climber, as he marries a beautiful young woman back home in England.

Howards End by E.M. Forster
At the heart of this novel are two families--the wealthy and business-minded Wilcoxes and the cultured and idealistic Schlegels. When the beautiful and independent Helen Schlegel begins an impetuous affair with the ardent Paul Wilcox, a series of events is sparked--some very funny, some very tragic--that results in a dispute over who will inherit Howards End, the Wilcoxes' charming country home. As much about the clash between individual wills as the clash between the sexes and the classes, Howards End is a novel whose central tenet, "Only connect," remains a powerful prescription for modern life.

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the 20th century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts', suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however.

The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
At fourteen, Grace Reeves leaves home to work for her mother's former employers at Riverton House. She is the same age as Hannah, the headstrong middle child who visits her uncle, Lord Ashbury, at the house with her siblings. Fascinated, Grace observes their comings and goings and, as an invisible maid, is privy to the secrets she will spend "a lifetime pretending to forget."

No Graves As Yet by Anne Perry
In the debut of an extraordinary new series, this bestselling author sweeps us into the golden summer of 1914, a time of brief enchantment when English men and women basked in the security of wealth and power, even as the last weeks of their privileged world were swiftly passing. Theirs was a peace that led to war.

Below Stairs by Margaret Powell
At fifteen, she arrived at the servants' entrance to begin her life as a kitchen maid in 1920s England. In this captivating memoir, Margaret tells her tales of service with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye. From the gentleman with a penchant for stroking housemaids' curlers, to raucous tea dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlourmaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress's nephew, Below Stairs brilliantly evokes the longvanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbey.

Althorp: The Story of an English House by Charles Spencer
The ninth Earl Charles Spencer writes a surprisingly personal account of the history and content of the ancestral home which he inherited upon the death of his father and of the renovation project he also undertook to restore the house to its glory.

The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
Lily Bart must choose between her desire for a husband with wealth and standing, and her desire for respect and love. After rejecting several offers of marriage, she ultimately betrays her heart and destroys her reputation. With "The House of Mirth," Wharton transforms the novel of manners into an incisive and disturbing portrait of the strictures imposed upon women in the upper class of 1890's New York society.

 

Online Readers Advisory Resources

Booklist is a 100-year-old journal, published by the American Library Assn. Booklist is a valuable tool that makes reading recommendations.

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The eSequels database consists of lists of series so you can discover a new author or rediscover an enjoyable series of years past. eSequels indexes character, location and subject as well as author and title so you can identify a series that you may recall only vaguely. Brief annotations are given that describe each title without "giving away" any surprise endings. Most importantly, eSequels lists the novels in the correct reading sequence so you can begin at the beginning rather than blunder into the middle of Act III.
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