OVERRIDE

The New Countess

Habits of the House

Fay Weldon

St. Martin's Press

England, 1905. Lord Robert and Lady Isobel Dilberne, as well as their entire regal estate, with its hundred rooms, are busy planning for a lavish visit from King Edward VII and his mistress just a few months away. Preparations are elaborate and exhaustive: the menus and fashions must be just so. But even amidst the excitement, not everyone is happy.

Lady Rosina—now widowed and wealthy— insists on publishing a scandalous book despite her mother’s objections. Arthur Dilberne and Chicago Heiress Minnie O’Brien’s two young sons—the eldest of whom is heir to the estate—are being reared to Lady Isobel's tastes, not Minnie's. After making a shocking discovery, Minnie will take drastic measures for the sake of her children. And when fate deals a hand in the middle of the royal shooting party, the entire Dilberne estate will face upheaval once again.  

The New Countess is the final novel in Fay Weldon's outstanding trilogy that began with Habits of the House and Long Live the King. As the bestselling novelist and award-winning writer for the pilot episode of the original Upstairs Downstairs, Weldon magnificently lifts the curtain on early twentieth-century British society, upstairs and downstairs, under one stately roof.

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PART ONE

 

A Visit to Stonehenge

Midsummer's Day, 22nd June 1905

 

'RIGHT ON TIME,' said Anthony.

'One should hope so,' said his sister.

They took it as a good omen, though no more than they deserved. At ten to five the rising sun's first rays caught the Friar's Heel monolith: just as they were meant to. The famous stone glowed like a beacon while all around was still undefined, and misty grey. Then all of a sudden there was glorious light, you could see everything bright and clear, and the longest day of the year was upon them.

Then it was time to take
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    Listen to this excerpt from the audio book edition of The New Countess by Fay Weldon.

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Praise for The New Countess

THE NEW COUNTESS

 

A USA Today New and Noteworthy book

 

“Readers will be eager to plunge in…Weldon has deftly capitalized on the Downton Abbey momentum.” —Booklist

 

“Funnier and nastier than the two earlier volumes.” —Kirkus Reviews

 

“The novel’s conclusion is surprising. With remarkable skill, Weldon reverses the reader’s expectations in such a way that the astonishment is followed by an immediate recognition of inevitability.” —The Star Tribune

 

“Weldon knows her subject and era well, and the last book [The New Countess] in her trilogy is perhaps her best.” —RT Book Reviews

 

“Weldon amuses with her usual mix of courtly language undercut by snark.” —The Boston Globe

 

LONG LIVE THE KING

 

"Weldon remains at the top of her game with [Long Live the King]…Fans of Downton Abbey will relish this rich and witty comedy of manners." —Star Tribune

 

"Teeming with tasty tidbits about royals great and small, Weldon’s second installment in her Dilberne Court trilogy gives devoted Anglophiles a whirlwind tour upstairs, downstairs, and all around the castle." —Booklist on Long Live the King

 

 “Weldon’s second installment in her Dilberne Court trilogy, following Habits of the

House (2013), gives devoted Anglophiles a whirlwind tour upstairs, downstairs, and all around the castle.” — Booklist on Long Live the King

 

HABITS OF THE HOUSE

 

“Weldon’s flair for capturing the grudging envy shared by the British and their colonial counterparts is worth more than its market value in fool’s gold.” —The New York Times

“Before there was Downton Abbey, there was Upstairs, Downstairs, and, having written the first episode of that iconic television series, it is only fitting that Weldon now returns to the scene of the crime to further explore the disparate worlds of ‘them that has and those what serve ’em.’…Always a ripe target for mockery and disdain, the British aristocracy comes in for a thorough drubbing in Weldon’s snarky send-up.” —Booklist

"[Habits of the House] succeeds as an opening to a new series." —Publishers Weekly

 

Habits of the House is good fun from start to finish, thanks to its breezy storytelling and witty social observations.” —The Washington Post

"There is simply no touching Weldon as a writer." —The Observer (UK) on Habits of the House

"Fay Weldon has always examined the scary parts of what lies beneath the silk cushions and behind the closed gates." —The Chronicle of Higher Education

"I was a girl from Downstairs. When I was 16, my bedroom was in the basement of a posh house in London, where my mother was the housekeeper. . . . Odd, this class business. Here's Upstairs Downstairs back again, Downton Abbey so popular." —Fay Weldon

In the Press

Fay Weldon remembers life upstairs and downstairs - The Washington Post
With “The New Countess,” she completes a trilogy set at the opening of the 20th century.
- The Washington Post

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Fay Weldon

  • FAY WELDON is a novelist, playwright, and screenwriter who, at the age of 16, lived in a grand London townhouse as the daughter of the housekeeper. In addition to winning a Writers' Guild Award for the pilot of Upstairs Downstairs, she is a Commander of the British Empire whose books include Praxis, shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction; The Heart of the Country, winner of the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize; Worst Fears, shortlisted for the Whitbread Novel Award; and Wicked Women, which won the PEN/Macmillan Silver Pen Award. She lives in England.
  • Fay Weldon © Alex Bake BW
    Fay Weldon
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    The New Countess

    Habits of the House

    Fay Weldon

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

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