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Missing “Downton Abbey”? Try Fay Weldon’s “Habits of the House”

Let’s face it: you’re addicted. You can’t live without it. When you’re not actually enjoying it, you’re longing to savor it again. You’d be ashamed to admit how many waking moments you’ve devoted to obsessing about it.

I’m not talking about drugs, kinky sex or even double chocolate layer cake.

I’m taking about Downton Abbey. You can’t get enough of those crazy Crawleys and their long-suffering servants. The gorgeous settings! The fabulous clothing! The crisp British-accented dialog! The oddly compelling plot twists. (Pre-eclampsia? Who saw that coming?)

You’ve watched every season. Twice. But you hunger for more.

I’ve got good news. British novelist Fay Weldon has just written a novel, “Habits of the House“ that’s so close to watching “Downton Abbey” that you can practically hear the theme music as you read it.

Weldon, who has written dozens of novels and won countless awards, has long been popular in the U.K. She’s even a Commander of the British Empire! (I don’t know what that is either, but isn’t it a fabulous credential for an 81-year-old woman?) More to the point, Weldon co-wrote the pilot of the original “Upstairs Downstairs,“ from whose DNA Downton Abbey was undeniably cloned.

Weldon’s novels tend to be acerbic and provocative, and often contain a sharp feminist critique of patriarchal culture. And while some of her recent books have been so meta and disgruntled as to be nearly unreadable, “Habits of the House,” is a page-turner, packed with wit, wry observation and fascinating period detail. 

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