“There were times when Lady Marjorie could have cheerfully strangled her daughter.” – p 112
This book (and series) is actually a novelisation of the ITV television series that was so popular. It follows the activities and lives of a household in 1903 in Britain. The “upstairs” part stands for the society family – the Bellamy family. The “downstairs” refers to the servants who work for the Bellamys.
At the get-go, we see just how much the servants have to put up with, when Clemence is hired but is told her name will now be Sarah, because “Clemence is not a proper name for a parlourmaid.” However, the servants are still loyal to their masters. They love them and are quite caught up in all the affairs of the upstairs, as they affect their lives as well.
There is no set plotline in this novel, just the events in the lives of the separate families. Which is pretty much the type of book I like. The characters, whether they are upstairs or downstairs, are so very interesting – despite the fact their everyday activities are pretty much the same thing day to day. I would love to see the television series sometime, just to see how the producers and writers from the show envisioned these lovely characters.
“Upstairs, Downstairs” was written by John Hawkesworth and published in 1972.