“Lady Almina” was an unusual biography because the author didn’t just discuss Lady Almina, but provided a biography of Highclere castle and everyone associated with it. What made Highclere as much of a character in this book as any one of the family members were the pictures of it that were speckled throughout the pages. The descriptions of its history and how it was used throughout the war as a convalescent home were very interesting. The handwritten notes between the inhabitants were also a nice addition to the book that added a personal element to the reading and connected me with Highclere.
There was a perfect balance of the history of the people of the home living both upstairs and downstairs. In this way, the plot was extremely similar to “Downton Abbey”, making this book a must read for anyone missing their favorite show. After reading this, I was even more impressed with the plot lines of “Downton Abbey”which truly do capture the social climate, ambiance of Highclere castle, and its eccentric inhabitants. I’m ashamed to say that while the descriptions of Highclere castle were interesting, I was most taken with the story of Lord Carnarvon’s friendship with Howard Carter and his involvement with the search and discovery of King Tut’s tomb. However, the entire book was enjoyable because the writing presented the rich history of the famed castle as a story, not jut a stuffy biography.
Just like “Downton Abbey,” this too was a little dry at times, but for anyone who can’t seem to get enough of the English countryside and upstairs downstairs plots, this would be enjoyable!