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Julian Fellowes's Belgravia cover art

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia

By: Julian Fellowes
Narrated by: Juliet Stevenson
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Summary

The creator of the hit show Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes weaves a tale filled with dark secrets and scandal amongst the privileged set in the upper classes of London society. Wonderful and witty, it perfectly captures a bygone era with a colourful cast of characters and an intriguing story.

Julian Fellowes's Belgravia is the story of a secret. A secret that unravels behind the porticoed doors of London's grandest postcode.

Set in the 1840s, when the upper echelons of society began to rub shoulders with the emerging industrial nouveau riche, Belgravia is peopled by a rich cast of characters. But the story begins on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. At the Duchess of Richmond's now legendary ball, one family's life will change forever....

©2016 Orion Publishing Group (P)2016 Orion Publishing Group

What listeners say about Julian Fellowes's Belgravia

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  • Overall
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    4 out of 5 stars

A superb multi-layered piece of historical fiction

This is a really enjoyable story with a very strong sense of place and time that takes a good look at the English class system in the Victorian era. It's beautifully written and developed and it’s full of acute social observation and comment delivered in a classically understated, English manner.

The story opens on the eve of Waterloo at the now infamous Duchess of Richmond's Ball. Sophia Trenchard, the daughter of the man known as "Wellington's Vittler", James Trenchard, is in love with Edmund, Viscount Bellasis, heir to the Earl of Brockenhurst. But there is no future for a viscount and a tradesman's daughter, and Sophia's mother, Anne, is very sensible of that and tries to caution her daughter.

Some months later, following Edmund's death in battle, Sophia realises she is pregnant and reveals to her mother that she had gone through a wedding ceremony with Edmund that she later discovered to be false. When Sophia dies in childbirth, Anne and James reluctantly decide to send him away to be brought up by a clergyman in order to protect Sophia's reputation.

The bulk of the story takes place some twenty-five years later as the two families from very different social classes, and who, but for that one twist of fate would almost certainly never have come into each others' orbits, discover that they are inextricably linked, in a way that sees petty jealousies explode into something far more dangerous.

The story is very well told and suits the episodic format employed. It's fairly slow paced, but that means there is ample time for character exploration and development, and the descriptions of the fashions and customs of the era are detailed and all contribute to that very strong sense of time and place I mentioned at the beginning.

Juliet Stevenson's performance is simply outstanding. Her vocal characterisations are many and varied and there is never any confusion as to who is speaking.

All in all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable listen and one I'd definitely recommend.

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48 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Lovely story

Really looked forward to this and I wasn't disappointed.

Juliet Stevenson read so well using different voices for each character. It felt like a dramatisation instead of a narration.

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48 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Reminiscent of Georgette Heyer

And none the worse for that. Full of typical Fellowes anachronisms, but a jolly romp through middle and upper class London, with satisfyingly unpleasant villains, enough nuanced characters to keep the listener's interest, and a limited number of wholly 'good' saps. Beautifully read by Juliet Stevenson.

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43 people found this helpful

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Superb

A first class novel From Julian Fellowes with superb narration from Juliet Stevenson. Highly recommended!

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21 people found this helpful

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What a treat!

Perhaps a little predictable but an excellent read nonetheless. Wonderfully read by Juliet Stevenson who brought all the characters to life and who is so easy to listen to. A must for lovers of Julian Fellowes and period drama. I hope there is more to come about all these characters in a second book.

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19 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

typical fellows

beautifully told story showing the prejudices of the class system in the early 19th century.
you get lost in the story. characters become real and you will be sorry to leave at the end.

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16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Did not disappoint!

Julian Fellowes tells such a good yarn. Really enjoyed it, not least of all because s happy ending was assured!

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15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Comforting and clever

Enjoyed every minute of this wonderful story. It painted a wonderful picture of 19th century society.

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15 people found this helpful

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Perfect escapism

Soap disguised as historical novel. Addictive. I even enjoyed the slightly annoying didactic elements, v interesting insight into society, the arts, politics, architecture and social mores.

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15 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Entertaining family melodrama

After a brief introduction, where many of the characters meet at a grand ball given on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo, the narrative moves on to the 1840s where the consequences of a relationship between Sophia Trenchard and Edmund, Viscount Bellasis, heir to the Earl of Brockenhurst, leads to a rollickingly good story of class snobbery and skulduggery. I won’t elaborate further and recommend the excellent review below by Caz who sets out the book’s merits in illuminating detail.

Suffice to say I very much enjoyed this engrossing melodrama that is greatly enhanced by Juliet Stevenson’s superb dramatization.

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11 people found this helpful