Belgravia

By Julian Fellowes (read by Juliet Stevenson)

Orion (audiobook)

 

Is it a novel? An app? A literary box-set? An audiobook? All hail Belgravia, which is all the above, and more. Written by Julian Fellowes, Oscar-winning screen­writer of Gosford Park and creator of Downton Abbey, it is a historic­al blockbuster following the wealthy Trenchards from the Battle of Waterloo into the prosperous, if unstable, mid-Victorian era. The plot pits the Trenchards against the Bellasis family, their dispute beginning at a party to celebrate Wellington in Brussels, only for war to sprout suddenly. There are scandalous affairs, clashes over money, rivalrous lords and butlers, gossip, mansions and more balls than Euro 2016. What is innovative, sort of, is the means of production. Episodes, both digital and audio, were released in serial form (with literary extras), although the whole story is now available. Narrator Juliet Stevenson purrs at intrigue, lightens for quick-witted dialogue and slows proceedings towards a cliff-hanger.