Tuesday, April 2, 2013

book review: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax

The backstory: You may noticed I'm quite enamored with Downton Abbey and have let my love of the show inform several of my reading choices this year. When I heard about Wendy Wax's new novel, about characters who are watching the show themselves, I immediately wanted to read it.

The basics: Set in The Alexander, a chic condo building in Atlanta, While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is the story of its inhabitants who forge unlikely friendships once building concierge Edward, whose ancestor was a British country house butler, begins screening Downton Abbey on Sunday evenings.

My thoughts: Going into While We Were Watching Downton Abbey, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. It was my first experience with Wendy Wax, but she's an author with whom I was already familiar. As both a big fan of Downton Abbey and the city of Atlanta, where I spent almost half of my life (and met Mr. Nomadreader), I was curious to see how Wax used both the city and the show as backdrops. As I read, I found myself perfectly able to picture the Midtown Atlanta setting the characters inhabited.

I first jumped onto the Downton Abbey bandwagon over Christmas break. I marathoned the first two seasons and impatiently waited to devour the new episode each Sunday. The entire series was still fresh in my mind as I read this novel, yet I still found myself watching along with the characters. Wax incorporates so much detail into the first few screenings as the characters have impassioned discussions, and I ended up almost feeling like a character in the book. Our shared love of Downton Abbey really helped me connect with the different characters early on in the novel. As the novel progresses, Wax shifts the emphasis to the drama of her characters, but Downton still provides a nice backdrop throughout the novel.

The verdict: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is a delightful novel of unexpected friendships and bonds. Downton Abbey first brings the characters together, but it's not what keeps them together. Similarly, I read this novel because of the Downton Abbey connection, but I ended up enjoying it for its own characters.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 384 pages
Publication date: April 2, 2013
Source: publisher

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy While We Were Watching Downton Abbey from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle version.)

Want more? Come back tomorrow for my interview with Wendy Wax!

 As an affiliate, I receive a small commission when you make a purchase through any of the above links. Thank you for helping to support my book habits that bring more content to this blog!


  1. Interesting I would likely never ever pick this book up ordinarily, but I'm intrigued. I don't typically enjoy books that tie in to something this recent in pop culture, but I can see how this would be enjoyable. Thanks!

    1. It was definitely fun--and not my usual fare either, but I quite enjoyed it.

  2. I really want to read this one, but I am behind on my Downton watching, and I am afraid to have things spoiled for me. I have watched the first season, but not the second or third. I need to get to them quickly, so I can read this one!!

    1. Yes! The main emphasis is on season one, but it does also mention season two. You're safe for season three though!

  3. I got into Downton over Christmas break too and now I am obsessed! Glad to hear this book might tie me over till Season 4. I read another of Wendy Wax's books a few years ago and enjoyed it. Thanks for the review!


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