Skip to main content

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia: The Beginning

You might be familiar with writer Julian Fellowes and his endless series about the British upper crust and their servants. He's written Gosford Park, The Young Victoria, and of course Downton Abbey, among a ridiculous number of others. If you like him, you like him, because his tone doesn't vary much. I happen to like him very much, despite never having seen more than one season of Downton Abbey and being a bit suspicious of his fetishizing of the aristocracy. His stories are just so fun and dramatic and romantic and angsty. And now he is releasing a serialized novel, like the Victorian tales of yore. How very on brand for him! Belgravia is set in 1840s London, but begins at a ball in Brussels in 1815, right before the Battle of Waterloo.

Chapter 1 is available for free, then the subsequent 10 are $1.99 each. I pre-ordered chapter 1 to download to my Kindle app because, to be honest, I am SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS IDEA. I don't make the time and I don't have the patience to sit down and read through a whole book, but 40 page sections released once a week? And then we can talk about it online? A+. So great. Bring it on.

Serializing a novel is also an excellent idea because it can encourage you to read genres you would normally avoid. If I see a 350 page historical novel, I go "mmmmmm is my time really well-spent reading that?" But if it's like "oh, look at this tiny amount of reading. I can give that to any genre." I was going to have an "except" here, but I went through this list of writing genres and I honestly think I could give 40 pages of reading to any of them. Such a manageable size!

So what happens in the first chapter. I was hooked into this whole idea in the first place because I watched a video on Twitter where Julian Fellowes explain exactly that. So there's a ball, which is a real ball that happened, and is apparently "the most famous ball in history," which I won't contest, because while I'd never heard of it, I also can't bring any OTHERS to mind.

This is the Duchess of Richmond's ball in Brussels on June 15, 1815. Almost all of the high-ranking officers in the Duke of Wellington's army were there, cavorting with the English nobility that had moved to Brussels in a show of support for Wellington, and in the middle of the ball, the army was given notice that Napoleon was invading and they had to march out at 3 AM, some of them going to fight still in their dress uniforms.

According to Fellowes, some scandalous thing happens at the ball, and two families know about it, one obviously being from the rising middle class, and one from the aristocracy. CUT TO APPX 25 YEARS LATER and we are in 1840s London with the scandal presumably about to come out. Oh how exciting. Chapter 1 ends immediately after Waterloo, so I assume right before we jump forward. I AM SO PSYCHED.


Popular posts from this blog

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.

INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.

You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:

We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

#24in48: What Was Good, What Was Bad, What You Should Read

24in48, where we try to read for 24 hours out of 48, has come and gone once more. I managed 13 hours, which considering my usual average is 2, is excellent and I will take it. I attribute this to genuine planning this time and a remarkable lack of things to do that weekend.

What did I finish!

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff
Captain Phasma by Kelly Thompson (comic)
The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey
DC Bombshells Volume 1 (comic)
The Punisher: The Complete Collection, Volume 1 (comic)
Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

The Good.

It was actually all pretty good, so I'm gonna give a quick recap so you can decide if it strikes your fancy or not.

The Summaries

The Witches: Salem, 1692. This is a breakdown of everything that happened before, during, and after the Salem witch trials of 1692. I loved the beginning because Stacy Schiff gives you a good idea of the awfulness of life in New England in the 17th century, and it also helps you understand how the trials happened, because everyth…