Catch ‘Downton Abbey’ fever at library

  • Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Russian tycoon bought his own Downton Abbey, a report on CNN Money, stated on Jan. 29.

It seems that nowadays money from outside Britain is restoring that country’s most prestigious properties. It is certainly not a foreign concept for the titled gentry in England to “allow outside money” to cover the maintenance cost of their estates. At the turn of the twentieth century the British nobility suffered major financial losses, and their properties became huge burdens. Some aristocrats who found themselves in these dire circumstances saved their property by marrying an heiress.

From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles – just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the “Downton Abbey” characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading “To Marry an English Lord” by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace.

“Downton Abbey” is a British period drama television series, a PBS Masterpiece Classic. The first season aired in January 2011 and the show was immediately a mega hit. The Carnarvons’ family home, Highclere Castle, is the location used for the fictional residence of the Earl of Grantham and his family.

Julian Fellowes was also inspired by the book “Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle” by the Countess of Carnarvon, and chose Highclere as the Granthams’ family home. And of course the book “Below Stairs” by Margaret Powell was not only a contributing inspiration for the series “Upstairs, Downstairs” but also for “Downton Abbey.”

Books inspired by the series are “The World of Downton Abbey” by Jessica Fellowes and “The Chronicles of Downton Abbey” by Jessica Fellowes and Matthew Sturgis.

The long waiting list in the Charleston County Public Library for the show proves my statement. Patrons get frustrated because of the waiting time and very often the DVD sets that make up each season do not arrive in the right order. To lessen this frustration, the Mount Pleasant Regional Library proudly presents, “Downtown Abbey” hosted by Rick Pelletier. Come join him on five consecutive Saturdays starting on March 16 at 2 p.m. Watch the first two seasons, three episodes per Saturday. He may even serve tea and scones.

Rick is one of the reference librarians at the Mount Pleasant branch. He was born in Nashville, Tenn., but when he was four and a half, his family moved to Greenville. He received his bachelor’s degree from USC Spartanburg and his master’s degree in Library and Information Science from USC Columbia. During his study at USC Spartanburg he worked at the Greenville County Public Library in the audiovisual department. After finishing his BA degree he moved to Charleston and started working at Charleston County Public library.

Rick likes to read chick lit like the “Shopaholic” series by Sophie Kinsella. Chick lit is a genre fiction which is often humorous and lighthearted. He prefers reading this kind of literature because “there is already too much negativity in the world.”

Besides reading Rick is interested in everything concerned with TV shows. He follows information about TV in magazines, like “Entertainment Weekly” and on websites such as daytimeconfidentional.zap2it.com, sitcomsonline.com and tvshowsondvd.com. Rick hates it when people tell him that there is nothing good on TV because even if you are not into sitcoms or soaps, there is always HGTV, National Geographic, History Channel and Discovery Channel.


‘Downton Abbey’

Saturdays March 16, 23, 30, 2-6 p.m.

Join us on Saturdays in March for a “Downton Abbey” marathon. Watch the first two seasons, three episodes per Saturday, for five Saturdays. 


(Mirjam Veldkamp works in the reference department at the Mount Pleasant Regional Library Branch. Reach her at 843-849-6161).

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