Feature

Also of interest...in books for Anglophiles

Londoners by Craig Taylor; The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes; Queen Elizabeth in the Garden by Trea Martyn; That Woman by Anne Sebba

Londoners
by Craig Taylor (Ecco, $30)
Craig Taylor is “a special kind of tourist,” said Iain Sinclair in the London Guardian. To create a portrait of his adopted city, the Canadian journalist hit the streets and pubs to coax stories out of everyday Londoners. From the assembled voices, “an authentic London does emerge.” Taylor is a listener with “a deep-rooted passion for place, for loss, for hurt.” A few themes become refrains: London is “hard, unforgiving, dirty”—and definitely worth hearing from.

The World of Downton Abbey
by Jessica Fellowes (St. Martin’s, $30)
Anglophilia has reached fever pitch in the U.S. thanks to the hit PBS series Downton Abbey, about an aristocratic World War I–era British family and their servants, said Connie Ogle in The Miami Herald. This companion book, written by the niece of the show’s creator, “won’t tell you if Mary finally accepts Matthew Crawley or if valet Mr. Bates and sweet housemaid Anna get married.” But it does teem with social history and production details to help fans “while away the time between episodes.”

Queen Elizabeth in the Garden
by Trea Martyn (BlueBridge, $23)
Trea Martyn’s “bewitching” new history focuses on the rivalry between two of Elizabeth I’s courtiers, said Miranda Seymour in The New York Times. To win the queen’s affections, Robert Dudley (aka the Earl of Leicester) and William Cecil (aka Baron Burghley) each built elaborate gardens, which Martyn brings to life. Today, “not a single authentic Elizabethan garden survives—all the more reason to welcome a book” that re-creates this lost world of labyrinthine paths and grand parties.

That Woman
by Anne Sebba (St. Martin’s, $28)
Everyone’s talking about the late Wallis Simpson, said Kim Crow the Cleveland Plain Dealer. With a new play about Simpson having just closed in London and a Madonna-directed movie in theaters, Anne Sebba works hard in this biography to discern the allure of the American divorcée who inspired Edward VIII to renounce Britain’s throne. But “even after 300 pages,” Sebba’s subject remains “maddeningly elusive,” a woman “with few interests outside clothes, jewelry, and throwing a good party.”

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