Happy Bookers Discussion Group

Next meeting: Wednesday, May 28
at 7:00 p.m.


by Julian Fellowes

From the creator of the Emmy-Award winning Downton Abbey. "The English, of all classes as it happens, are addicted to exclusivity. Leave three Englishmen in a room and they will invent a rule that prevents a fourth joining them." In his superbly observed first novel, Julian Fellowes brings us an insider's look at a contemporary England that is still not as classless as is popularly supposed. Edith Lavery, an English blonde with large eyes and nice manners, is the daughter of a moderately successful accountant and his social-climbing wife. While visiting his parents' stately home as a paying guest, Edith meets Charles, Earl of Broughton, and heir to the Marquess of Uckfield, who runs the family estates in East Sussex and Norfolk. To the gossip columns he is one of the most eligible young aristocrats around. When he proposes. Edith accepts. But is she really in love with Charles? Or with his title, his position, and all that goes with it?

Return to Phillipsburg Library home page



Discussion Questions

What is your opinion of Edith? In what ways do you feel her choices are justified or otherwise? Did she know --- or should she have known --- what marriage to Charles would entail?

Edith might be said to have made a "bargain" in life. She has chosen to provide herself with a position of importance and power rather than to marry for love. Is this kind of bargain immoral in our day and age --- or is it her failure to stick to the deal that puts her at fault?

The Uckfields and Charles accept that their largely unearned status carries with it certain public duties and responsibilities. How is hereditary obligation, in exchange for privilege, useful in a society? In what ways is it detrimental?

Contrast the actors' world to life at Broughton. What are the attractions and limitations of both?

Who are the biggest snobs in the book, and how does this affect your view of them?

Questions excerpted from ReadingGroupGuides.


NY Times profile of Fellowes

 Upcoming Selections:

June - The Book of Salt by Monique Truong

July - The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

Happy Bookers selections are chosen by the participants.  Suggest a book for discussion

The Happy Bookers is Phillipsburg Library's monthly book discussion group.  We meet on the fourth Wednesday of the month at 7:00 p.m.  Newcomers are always welcome, and no registration is necessary.  Call Deb at 908-454-3712 for more information.

Can't make the meeting? Visit our Happy Bookers Group on Goodreads and add your thoughts there!