Downton Abbey: Past Attraction Guest post by Shannon Donnelly
Please welcome Guest Blogger Shannon Donnelly!
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There’s blood in the air—Downton Abbey’s latest season ended, and it did not end well. The fan-friends I have are all deep into disappointment. Which shows what the real attraction has been: we thought we were watching a romance.
Downton Abbey offered an escape from cell phones, job deadlines, traffic, and a way-too-busy world. That’s the great thing about the past—we know how it worked out (mostly). Of course, folks back then had problems—it wouldn’t be an interesting story if the characters didn’t have troubles galore. But they also had fabulous dinner parties, social whirls, servants, glamour and wit.
And let’s not forget the clothes.
And the houses, too. (Wouldn’t you just love to spend a few days wandering those beautiful rooms, and those gardens?)
Downton Abbey brings us an elegant world…and guys who look great dressed for dinner. There are jewels and gowns, and all of it can sweep us back to a time when who is going to marry whom really does seem like the most earth-shattering issue at hand.
But Downton Abbey failed (no, I’m not going to spoil it, but I recommend only watching the first couple of seasons…up to the wedding…if you want that mostly happy ending). But the Abbey opted out of the romance, which is why I’m heading back to my Regency England.
Like Downton Abbey, the stories I write set in Regency England have glamour…and great clothes. It’s about the wit, the style, the elegance. The setting, and all the details that go into that, is a huge part of any Regency—the elegant houses, the horses, the carriage rides, the candlelight, and guys who look great dressed for dinner.
Of course the also characters have troubles—it could be a rough world back then, particularly if you were a servant, or not one of the rich and titled. In the Regency, there was a war going on (and on and on, since France went from a revolution to Bonaparte making trouble for everyone). But the focus—in a Regency, and particularly in a romance—is on who is going to marry whom. And will it work out?
That’s where Downton Abbey failed—we wanted to see how will Matthew and Lady Mary (still not spoiling—go read a summary if you must), handle their marriage, or what’s going to happen to the servants as the world keeps changing. Instead, the story shifted (as TV shows tend to do). And it was a disappointing shift for most of us. (And even more changes are coming to the series.)
So it’s back to Regency romances for me—I’m heading back to where I know I will not lose a favorite character (there are better ways of dealing with that, you know). After all, those glamorous clothes need to be filled, and I want those favorite characters to stick around.
Shannon Donnelly Bio
Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a RITA nomination for Best Regency, the Grand Prize in the “Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer” contest, judged by Nora Roberts, RWA’s Golden Heart, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: “simply superb”…”wonderfully uplifting”….and “beautifully written.”
Her Regency romances can be found as ebooks on all formats, and include four novellas now out as a collection with Cool Gus Publishing.