26 July, 2013

Book Review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey

From Goodreads: When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings of Downton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…
Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.
Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.
And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.
For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey. 

Thoughts: This book came to me through a review by Sheila on  Book Journey. 
And can I just say thank you Shelia, for introducing me to the girls - they are a great bunch!
So Edward, the concierge of The Alexander apartment building decides to foster a little community spirit in the building by hosting a weekly screening of Seasons one and two of Downton Abbey in the lead up to season 3. As residents gather for their weekly "fix," friendships are formed, support is given and much wine is drunk! Sounds like my kind of place!
While quite predictable (I picked the likely out come for the three main characters and one or two "extras") the story never felt boring or pointless. It became about how each of these women grew and how they got to their resolutions. I love the message of the importance of friendship and how it can be found it places you would never think to look. I adore the value it places on friendship while acknowledging friendships change, evolve and are a two way street. 
I was a bit concerned that linking it to Downton Abbey was a bit of a gimmick - and maybe it is, but I can remember getting together with friends to watch Friends or Melrose Place. I remember how wonderful those nights were, how we often missed the show altogether and had to re watch it (thank goodness for VCR's!). I remember the strong friendships built on those nights, the laughter, the tears, the break-ups (ours and the characters), the excitement of new relationships - all reviewed and dissected with great friends. I'm sure Wendy Wax could have invented a fictional show, but why do that when there is one ready made for you. While you don't need to have watched Downton Abbey to read the book, it most probably wouldn't hurt to have seen the first two seasons, especially as there are a few little spoilers.
While We  Were Watching Downton Abbey is a lovely light, fun read. Go for it!