15808601Reviewed by Poppy Johnson

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is a fictional story about a group of people who get together once a week to watch the award-winning British drama Downton Abbey. The story evolves as their relationships unfold. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey itself would make a great made for television movie with the setting carefully crafted at a midtown Atlanta upscale apartment building called the Alexander. The main characters are Edward, a doorman whose family has spent a lifetime in service to others (and who strives to be more than just a concierge); Samantha who is mostly unhappily married to a well-off but unattentive husband (who may resent her infertility); Brooke, a divorced mother of two young girls with a burgeoning career and an ex-husband (who has a new honey and is less involved each day with their children which is annoying and heartbreaking for her and for the girls), and Claire, a single mother whose college-aged daughter hasn’t quite cut the cord (but offers her mom good advice just the same and parents her mom instead of the other way around).

The reader is introduced to the main characters slowly and this works out well given that there are so many relations and friends of the main characters that it will become difficult to keep everyone straight and in the proper order. The premise of the story is that Edward arranges for the group to watch the television show once a week, but the story line includes what happens to the characters while they are waiting to watch Downton Abbey (their everyday lives), and while they are actually watching the show together (the interactions of the characters at their weekly viewing of the show at the apartment building).

No spoilers here, but the book’s characters are a bit stereotypical in a general sense but it is fun reading in a predictable way. Having said that, the story is quite charming and the reader will enjoy following the ups and downs of everyone’s lives. I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes stories about relationships and about people getting over the awkwardness of learning to trust each other or themselves again (in life and in love).

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.