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Book Review – Bright Young Dead by Jessica Fellowes

Bright Young Dead

Jessica Fellowes


RRP: $34.99

This novel is set in the genre of Downtown Abbey – and is the second in a series (that can be read alone). The author is the niece of the creator of Downtown Abbey and she has previously published a number of guides to the show.

Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the first novel, it felt tooooo much like Downtown and there seemed far too many characters and not enough character development.  There’s no denying the accuracy and research that went into the novel, I just found it a bit slow.

This novel, Bright Young Dead, is a bit faster paced and some of the weaker characters from the previous novel begin to shine – but still I feel there’s just something lacking. I wonder if Fellowes has some great plan than spans many novels and that she’s building to something great. The issue for me is that I don’t think the novel is the right format for this. Or that the vision doesn’t quite match the execution – I’m sure she knows her characters well, and that with her insight the depth of feeling is apparent, but as a reader it all fell (sadly) a little flat again.

That said, it’s not a bad read – and interestingly is based loosely on fact. The novel follows a group of rich, young people in the 1920s and the murder of one of their party at a birthday celebration. There’s a false accusation, an amateur sleuth and a gang of female thieves…so enough to keep you reading.

I suspect for real Downtown type fans this would be a much anticipated and enjoyed read, but for me it was just “fine”. The bit I enjoyed the most was the Postscript – discovering a little more of Alice Diamond; and that’s probably not a great sign…

About the Author

Jessica Fellowes is an author, journalist and public speaker, best known for her work as author of five official companion books to Downton Abbey, various of which have hit the New York Times and Sunday Timesbestseller lists. Former deputy editor of Country Life and columnist on the Mail on Sunday, she has written for publications including the Daily Telegraph, the GuardianThe Sunday Times and The Lady. Jessica has spoken at events across the UK and US, and has made numerous appearances on radio and television. She lives happily in London and Oxfordshire with her family, an energetic Labradoodle and two chickens.

About Esther Perriam

Esther Perriam
Esther Perriam is a Director of Eldernet. She’s worked in the business for over 15 years and has been lucky to visit many of the older person’s services around the country. She’s never short of an opinion on…pretty much anything. Esther really loves reading and you’ll see plenty of book reviews authored by her. As a mother of two children there’s not much free time but if there is she also enjoys cooking (for grown-ups, not the kids!) and anything beach related in her spare time. Esther has presented at conferences around New Zealand and is happy to be contacted in regards to speaking or presenting at your event.