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Upstairs/downstairs romances?

 
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Cee



Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 200

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:56 am    Post subject: Upstairs/downstairs romances? Reply with quote

I'm a little bit obsessed with Downton Abbey and love the romance between Sybil (daughter of an earl) and Branson (the chauffeur). Does anyone have recommendations for historicals with class differences, preferably rich girl and poor boy? And not romances where the poor boy is really a duke in disguise or whatever.

I know of two off the top of my head - Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas and The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt.
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ChrisReader



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 741

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my favorite books in this genre is Catherine Cookson's "The Moth."

While she isn't as "romancy" as the other authors you list it's definitely a romance.

They made it into a fantastic TV movie for British Television with Jack Davenport. I highly recommend it.
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Charlotte McClain



Joined: 04 Oct 2008
Posts: 396
Location: Abu Dhabi, UAE

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While it's not technically romance, Connie Willis' To Say Nothing Of the Dog is wonderful. The upstairs/downstairs romance is in the background, but it's a jaw dropper once it's revealed and you look back at the story and all the pieces fall into place.
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MEK



Joined: 09 Dec 2010
Posts: 281

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mary Balogh's novella A Matter of Class addresses this subject and is a good read, but short. The hero is wealthy, but not in the heroine's social circle because she is an aristocrat and he is "working class". Not truly upstairs, downstairs, but pretty close in that day and age. Enjoyable.
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Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 667
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about Eva Ibbotson's A Countess Belowstairs? Such a charming novel with a comic turn. I've loved it for years.
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willaful



Joined: 02 Jan 2008
Posts: 1556

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Second A Countess Below Stairs, although it's not exactly a misalliance as you'd guess from the title.

Joanna Chambers debut The Lady's Secret has some excellent upstairs/downstairs action.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll join willaful in recommending The Lady's Secret. I can think of three other class difference romance novels that I've read in the past few months:

* Silk is for Seduction by Loretta Chase
* The Sergeant's Lady by Susanna Fraser
* Portrait of Seduction by Carrie Lofty

My favorite of the three is The Sergeant's Lady.
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CD



Joined: 15 Sep 2007
Posts: 665
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I love DOWNTON ABBEY - I've got the DVDs for the second series and haven't started watching them yet. I missed the first few episodes on telly and decided to wait and save the DVDs as a Xmas treat...

Cross-class historical romances - hmmnnn. I do love them (I'm English afterall and we're obsessed by class) but it's very difficult to do at all realistically. These are my favourites though:

- Patricia Gaffney's LILY - although the heroine is one of those secret daughter of nobility types, the description of her life as a maid and the consequent power imbalance between her and the hero is pretty well done, taking into account the over the top gothic atmosphere, of course... Old school-type romance, though if that bothers you: the hero treats the heroine like aristocrats those days routinely treated their maids in the first half of the book, only to have the tables turned in the second.


- Patricia Gaffney's FOREVER AND EVER - this is the third book in the Wyckerley trilogy and the one that everyone forgets. However, I really loved it - the hero is a socialist/radical journatlist from a poor mining family, and the heroine is the owner of the mine that he's going undercover to investigate.


- Mary Balogh's LONGING - Balogh has quite a number of cross-class romances but this is probably my favourite. I loved it because it really highlights how difficult the situation would have been then - even if the couple really loved each other. It's one of the few times in a romance book where I honestly did not see how it could work out for the couple, and then it does [sigh]...


- Carla Kelly's REFORMING LORD RAGSDALE - Probably the most realistic ending for a cross-class romance while still having the obligatory HEA. Amazing book and Emma is a fantastic heroine.


- Judith Ivory's THE PROPOSITION - Forget the angst, let's just have fun!! Great Pygmallion in reverse storyline, and Mick is a hero to DIE for...


There's a whole lot more but those are the books that come to mind where class plays a large role. It's somethig which I find American romance writers rarely get right as there's (still) a large cultural divide in that area.

However, if you want the ultimate cross-class romance, then I would HIGHLY recommend the BBC series NORTH AND SOUTH with the absolutely delicious-lick-him-all-over Richard Armitage [swoons]. I'm sure others here will be take to take up the raving...
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
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Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can think of a few where the heroine is from nobility and the hero a commoner...

Rightfully His by Tracy Grant...The hero used to be her father's secretary.
Broken Wing by Judith James. The hero is a working prostitute at the start of the book.
The Emerald Necklace by Diana Brown ...hero is a commoner but very wealthy.
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autumn



Joined: 13 Mar 2011
Posts: 59

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Cee, I love this theme too, and posted asking for something similar a while ago - a lot of these recs although they have a poor hero are not necessarily based on class difference - might help though.

http://likesbooks.com/boards/viewtopic.php?t=8551&highlight=bit+rough

I was surprised that so few romance books seem to have this theme, as I would've thought it would be very popular. All the heroes who started life poor seem to have become self made men with loads of money, I really don't understand why romance heroes have to be rich, it's not something that floats my boat!

Btw, I'm a big Downton Abbey fan too, love it! I much prefer Sybil and Branson's romance to Mary and Matthew's who are both such irritating people I just wish they would get together to spare anyone else having to be with either of them!
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Cee



Joined: 19 Feb 2009
Posts: 200

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for all the great responses!

CD, North & South is monthly viewing in this house. Laughing

autumn, agreed about Matthew and Mary. Holy crap I want to smack both of them. Matthew really doesn't seem special enough to have all these ladies falling all over him. I'm worried that Sybil and Branson might not appear in series three since they will presumably be living in Ireland...
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ChrisReader



Joined: 05 Sep 2009
Posts: 741

PostPosted: Tue Nov 29, 2011 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cee - if you are a big "North and South" fan you should definitely watch "The Moth." It's up on You Tube - I think a couple of people have posted the whole series in sections. Here is a link to the first part if you are interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNbw_Mf5hiU&feature=related
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angela



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 106

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 3:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CD wrote:


However, if you want the ultimate cross-class romance, then I would HIGHLY recommend the BBC series NORTH AND SOUTH with the absolutely delicious-lick-him-all-over Richard Armitage [swoons]. I'm sure others here will be take to take up the raving...


THIS, a thousand times over!!!!! Richard Armitage makes the perfect English romance hero. I love that movie and all his yummy gloriousness!!!
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Lynda X



Joined: 05 Apr 2007
Posts: 1465

PostPosted: Wed Nov 30, 2011 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I loved N&S too, but it took me a while to get into it, but boy, am I glad I did.

Thanks for comments on "The Moth." I'll look it up. I don't think anyone explores class better than Catherine Cookson. She's gritty, but she's good. Not everybody's cuppa, but she is mine.
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