|After Downton Abbey.
Cooper, Ilene (author).
FEATURE. First published March 20, 2014 (Booklist Online).
I think we can all agree that the recently concluded season of Downton Abbey was not the best. And by that, I mean it was the worst. When the most exciting thing to happen is Lady Mary wrestling pigs (and not in a jolly way, but in a the-estate-is-going-under sort of way), perhaps it is time to put down the remote and pick up one of these recent YA novels, which have all the upstairs/downstairs shenanigans and none of the pigs.
A Brief History of Montmaray. By Michelle Cooper. 2009. Knopf, $16.99 (9780375858642). Gr. 7–10.
Sixteen-year-old Sophie is waiting impatiently for her introduction into English society, but it’s 1936 and the rumblings from the continent may affect her island monarchy. Still, there’s always time for romance to flourish, even in harsh circumstances. Inviting historical details wrap around a story that goes headlong into a breathless finale.
Cinders & Sapphires. By Leila Rashaad. 2013. Disney/Hyperion, $17.99 (9781243171171) Gr. 9–12.
On a ship back from India, Lady Ada kisses Oxford-bound Ravi, which is wrong in so many ways. Once at home, she must try not to notice how much her new lady’s maid resembles her father. Had someone upstairs been downstairs? Oh dear.
Keeping the Castle. By Patrice Kindl. 2012. Viking, $16.99 (9780670014385). Gr. 7–11.
Althea Crowley would love to choose a husband with no thought of money or position. But that’s not happening, since she must marry rich to secure the family’s only inheritance: a dilapidated castle. Can dashing Lord Boring (happily not boring Lord Dashing) save the day?
Manor of Secrets. By Katherine Longshore. 2014. Scholastic/Point, $17.99 (9780545567589). Gr. 9–12.
The Lady Sybil lookalike on the cover is our heroine, Lady Charlotte, whose mother has her eyes on Lord Andrew as a potential husband for her daughter. (Charlotte finds the footman more attractive.) Then there’s downstairs Janie, who wants a life with more opportunities. Is there a connection between the girls? You bet. Surprises and romance? Indeed.