Read Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance by Margaret Powell Online


Margaret Powell's Below Stairs, a servant's firsthand account of life in the great houses of England, became a sensation among readers reveling in the luxury and subtle class warfare of Masterpiece Theatre's hit television series Downton Abbey. In Servants' Hall, another true slice of life from a time when armies of servants lived below stairs simply to support the lives oMargaret Powell's Below Stairs, a servant's firsthand account of life in the great houses of England, became a sensation among readers reveling in the luxury and subtle class warfare of Masterpiece Theatre's hit television series Downton Abbey. In Servants' Hall, another true slice of life from a time when armies of servants lived below stairs simply to support the lives of those above, Powell tells the true story of Rose, the under-parlourmaid to the Wardham Family at Redlands, who took a shocking step: She eloped with the family's only son, Mr. Gerald.Going from rags to riches, Rose finds herself caught up in a maelstrom of gossip, incredulity and envy among her fellow servants. The reaction from upstairs was no better: Mr. Wardham, the master of the house, disdained the match so completely that he refused ever to have contact with the young couple again. Gerald and Rose marry, leave Redlands and Powell looks on with envy, even as the marriage hits on bumpy times: "To us in the servants' hall, it was just like a fairy tale . . . How I wished I was in her shoes."Once again bringing that lost world to life, Margaret Powell trains her pen and her gimlet eye on her "betters" in this next chapter from a life spent in service. Servants' Hall is Margaret Powell at her best—a warm, funny and sometimes hilarious memoir of life at a time when wealthy families like ruled England....

Title : Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781250029294
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 192 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Servants' Hall: A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance Reviews

  • QNPoohBear
    2019-05-11 00:09

    Margaret Powell relates more incidents from her time in service. When the son of one of her employers runs off with a maid it causes a big to-do both upstairs and down. The master and upper servants are furious at this breaching of class distinctions while Margaret and the younger servants think it's a fairy take come true. Margaret would have jumped at the chance to become a real lady but Rose stubbornly clings to her working class roots, parroting her mother's evangelical religious beliefs and her father's hatred of the ruling class. Margaret and another friend from service, Mary, continue to visit Rose and try to remain friends through the turbulent marriage though never fully feeling comfortable with the situation. Meanwhile Margaret and Mary go out in search of their princes. They kiss a lot of men who turn out to be frogs rather than princes but it doesn't stop them from hoping. Margaret sees service as a means to an end rather than a permanent situation. I found this memoir more engaging than the first one because it had a central plot rather than a disjointed set of remembrances. I especially liked the upstairs/downstairs conflicts and learning about how people viewed those distinctions and the possibility of moving up in the world. Rose's story is heartbreaking and anything but a fairy tale. I felt sorry for her and I also had sympathy for her husband because Rose was just SO annoyingly stubborn. For those who like Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs and wonder what life in service was really like, this book is for you. It's not necessary to have read any of Margaret Powell's other books to enjoy this one.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-17 20:21

    The title of this book is A Real Life Upstairs, Downstairs Romance it is rather misleading. The story is told by Margaret, the kitchen maid who becomes a cook. The story is mainly about her, Margaret with the story about Rose, the under maid being rather a sub plot. The book was OK, my copy was 183 pages long, but the story could have been told in probably 80 pages. And I mean the whole story, not just the part of the story that deals with Rose. Margaret only works at the home with Rose for about 4 months, but as they become friends she occasionally visits Rose and hears updates of her new life above stairs. Margaret moves from house to house as a kitchen maid and then as a cook. Sometimes she works for kind people, sometimes not. Sometimes she likes her co-workers, sometimes not. Not a lot of variety in the subject. And several times we read what she prepared for meals. I think a lot of this was just to fill space as this is really a short story. I became bored with the repetitiveness after about half way through. Another technique I believed was used to lengthen the story was repeat phrases, like my friend Mary came to visit, or my friend Mary met me at..., or my friend Mary said. I know Mary is your friend already! Margaret is also well read and the author throws in random quotes from books without necessarily referencing the book. Most, if not all, the quotes meanings were lost on me. Sorry, I guess I am not as well read as Margaret. But I found it annoying to read some quote that didn't mean anything to me and was typically in prose or old English, and believe me it happens often. Also, Odette, a French maid in one house keeps talking in French. Fair enough I guess, but as I don't understand French, again lost on me. Sometimes the author did translate what Odette had to say, but now I get to read it twice, once time that I didn’t understand but struggled to as I didn't know for sure if the author would translate and then again sometimes in English. Again I wonder if this was done to lengthen the story?? Anyway, although the story was cute I would not recommend the book. In my opinion keep searching until you find something better on which to spend your money.

  • Lori
    2019-04-21 02:04

    I am a fan of the TV show "Downton Abbey" so very interested in reading books from authors who actually worked downstairs for the big houses.Margaret Powell has written several books about the years she worked as a kitchen girl and then worked up to cook. this book she is an assistant cook in a big house in the 1920s. she writes some of the families she has worked for but mainly about herself and the staff she works with.This book focuses on herself, and a couple of the staff members. one in particular is "Rose" a beautiful kitchen girl who catches the interest of the son "upstairs" of the family that lives there. an upstairs wealthy family member who takes an interest in "the help" is unheard of and not usually accepted.Gerald the rich son and Rose start up a relationship and marry. Gerald's father never accepts the marriage and neither does Rose's dad who hates and resents the well to do. A part of this book has Margaret and another staff member Mary who visits Rose over the years and witnesses how the life is for Rose and her wealthy husband. Rose has a baby girl with Gerald.and soon the marriage goes downhill. this is an interesting book. Margaret Powell does a fine job describing inservice work during the 1920s.

  • Julie
    2019-05-11 20:25

    Well. I haven't read her earlier memoir, Below Stairs, yet... and after reading this I'd still like to do so. So that says something.I didn't love the author all the time; however, her voice and the fairly reasonable way she looked at situations kept me interested. It made me feel like Downton Abbey is doing a pretty good job showing the life of domestic servants in the '20s, including the squabbles over hierarchy and personal dignity (they are doing this particularly well with Mr. Molesley) and the attempt to have something of a life in a job where you only get one full day off a month.The central thread of this memoir centers on the story of Rose, a parlourmaid who achieves the ultimate dream (or commits the ultimate sin) of capturing the attention of the son of the household - and he doesn't want to just have his way with her, he wants to MARRY her! Predictably, it is not a smooth road. The book shows the difficulties faced by the couple from all sides, and frankly, I think the author is about as sympathetic as I would have been.Overall, it's a quick, interesting read.

  • Julie
    2019-05-18 20:15

    I picked up this book because it was similar in nature to the TV show/series Downton Abbey which I thoroughly enjoy. However, this book wasn't as enjoyable and was more like a Diary of the author's time while in "service". It was all about how she moved around in "service", what the personalities of the other's "downstairs" were like and how the female servants tried to get out of service by getting married in various ways. I guess I just would rather have a well written story than a biography which is more like a diary.

  • Cindy Williams
    2019-05-09 01:12

    Dry & not much of a story - moral is don't marry above your station. Only reason this came out was popularity of Downton Abbey.

  • Vicky the Cat Lady
    2019-05-10 04:20

    I just couldn't get into reading this! I really enjoyed Maragret's first novel, but this one just fell flat. It's a small book but it got so boring that I couldn't even finish it. Maybe it's the because the story this time was about an under parlour maid instead of Margaret herself, but I felt utterly disconnected from the characters. They didn't feel very alive on the page, and I just wasn't invested in Rose's story enough to finish this already slim novel. The time I can use tackling my October to-be-read (TBR) pile is too precious to waste!

  • Dawn Livingston
    2019-04-29 21:02

    I got this book because based on the summary it sounded like a romance novel, but it's not, it's non fiction, stories bases on someone actual experiences. So that was a let down from the start. Then the real issue is that the summary talks about a maid named Rose that marries the son (Gerald) of her wealthy employers. Of course I thought that was the focus of the story, but it wasn't. The main character is actually a servant named Margaret, she's the one that tells the story, it's her point of view. Rose is just one of the characters of the book. So... the reader is led to believe the main character is Rose, when it's actually Margaret. Margaret's efforts to find a husband are part of the content yet she glosses it over when it does happen. At the end of the book the author just summarizes what happens in the end to whom, and what happens in her own life and it makes for a sudden, hurried and unfulfilling ending.

  • Paula
    2019-05-02 02:27

    From the blurb about this book, one would think it was the story of Rose's life, first as a maid and then her "move upstairs" when she married the son of the house. But that's very misleading. In reality it's the story of another "downstairs" person who tells the reader a very little of Rose's story while she telling you about herself and another friend. I found the story to be a bit dry and it wasn't what I expected it to be at all.

  • Eugenia
    2019-05-13 00:12

    Reading this book is like gossiping with a friend-it waivers between interesting and tiring. I really did enjoy reading about details of day to day life of servants, but toward the end of the book it began to get repetitive and boring. The author is pretty funny and she addresses subjects like sex and having babies with candor you don't expect from a person of her generation. Overall, it's an easy and fun book to read, especially if you like time period pieces.

  • Sandy
    2019-04-23 00:01

    As someone who enjoys Downton Abbey, I was drawn to this book about life "downstairs" where the servants work and live. Margaret Powell provides us a first-hand account of what it was like to work for the wealthy families who ruled England. Her style is witty, detailed, and poignant. A good glimpse into careers and lifestyles of both England's servers and the served.

  • Darlene Ferland
    2019-05-20 04:20

    I am a fan of Upstairs/Downstairs and Downton Abbey so naturally I can now add Margaret Powell's work. Her characters were easy to understand. Their emotions were quirky, depending on their status in the House. It's a good book for anyone interested in the two previously mentioned shows.

  • Patricia
    2019-04-29 03:09

    I enjoyed this second memoir of Margaret Powell's time in service as much as her first - Below Stairs. I wish the library had more of her books - I'm going to buy a few used ones online to continue reading her story. I like her feistiness!

  • Katherine
    2019-04-27 22:08

    Not much of a romance...haha!This was a good read. Learned more about Margaret Powell's life in service and the friends she met along the way. Some stories are repeated from Below Stairs, but not too much.

  • Renee
    2019-04-24 04:20

    This was terribly slow. I fouind myself about 2/3 through, skipped to the last chapter, read that and closed the book for good.

  • Kathleen Sams
    2019-04-23 00:18

    I enjoyed this tale of life below stairs by a woman who entered service at the age of 15 in 1922. There were few options for women at that time - marriage, work as a shop girl, a life in service, or prostitution. Even a life of service could make a woman vulnerable - to advances from men both above and below stairs. Pregnant women were dismissed - with life on the street often their only option. People in service were not guaranteed a pension from the families they served for years. "Servants' Hall" tells the story of a woman below stairs who marries the master's son. Although many readers might view this situation as a Cinderella tale, most of the upper and lower class characters in the book belief such unions are destined for failure. Upper and lower classes don't mix. Everyone must know his or her place. Author Margaret Powell is a well-read woman with a realistic sense of her role as a kitchen maid, then cook. I would have enjoyed learning more about her life after service and her marriage to the milkman.

  • Lori
    2019-04-21 20:24

    The second book written by Margaret Powell, whose first book, Below Stairs, is said to have inspired the tv shows Upstairs, Downstairs and Downton Abbey, gives more details of Powell's life in service and follows the romance of a parlor maid and the wealthy son of the house. Do the two live happily ever after? Do fairytales come true? Margaret Powell will tell you! I thought this book was enjoyable, but had a different tone and a completely different feel from the first book. I think Powell had a co-author in the first book--either she had a different writing partner for this one, or wrote it alone. I preferred her easy, quickly-moving structure of Below Stairs to the more complicated, wordy construction of Servants' Hall. Still, a fun read with lots of interesting details of the differences between the "bosses" and the "working classes" in the 1930s England.

  • Elise
    2019-05-20 03:10

    Definitely a follow-up to her previous book, Margaret Powell covers her time in service with a little more depth and some new stories, especially the saga of Rose, the maid who marries "above stairs." Although the story of Rose is different from the similar marriage in Upstairs, Downstairs, I immediately thought of it as I read. The best part of this book, for me, is the personal information about Margaret's marriage and family, the descriptions of the hardships families faced during the depression and the difficulties faced later in World War II.

  • Nancy
    2019-05-15 02:13

    A disappointing sequel to a 3 star first book. Ms. Powell is a tedious, pragmatic storyteller. Her previous memoir got by through some interesting facts and details about "downstairs" life. Not so this one. The hook is that she's included ongoing info regarding Rose, the maid who marries upstairs. Her fate is predictable and dull. The rest of the book is comprised of dalliances with boyfriends and the occasional meal prep.

  • Joe
    2019-05-19 20:23

    Too much whining for me!

  • Gertrud
    2019-04-28 20:09

    A nice memoir about the life Downstairs. A servants to the rich.

  • Lola
    2019-05-19 20:27

    Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey".Stories of working in different households for the wealthy in England beginning with1922 as maids and cooks.Rose runs away with the wealthy master's son & they get married. Consequently,the son is disowned by his father. Rose goes from being a maid to a "lady". Surprisingly,she is very lonely and unhappy in her new role in life, is not really accepted by otherwealthy people, and doesn't fit in.Margaret Powell, the author, is the main character in this true account of life as aservant.

  • Victoria Moore
    2019-05-12 01:22

    "Servants' Hall" a memoir about working "in service" by Margaret Powell has all of the drama, wit and historical relevance that continues to make me a fan of the genre. Set in England, and delightfully reminiscent of the PBS Masterpiece shows "Upstairs, Downstairs," "Downton Abbey," and "Wooster and Jeeves" it's a wonderful glimpse into the life of a servant. Powell, predominately a kitchen maid and a cook throughout the book, provides the full story of Rose, a maid who marries upstairs and out of her class. Sadly realistic the relationship had its share of issues caused by this phenomenon. One of the things I really loved about the book, and makes me want to read "Margaret Powell's Cookery Book: 500 Upstairs Recipes from Everyone's Favorite Downstairs Kitchen Maid and Cook," was the description of the meals served. After years of service and training the way Powell describes her cooking techniques and environment I also enjoyed the process she went through. Delightful and warm throughout "Servants' Hall" was a fun, bright and intelligent trip back to a simpler time.

  • Jennifer
    2019-04-20 23:18

    Her first book was better, this one rambled a bit and had a very obvious "old woman reminiscing" tone. But still an interesting look into that period of time.

  • Ladysatel
    2019-05-03 02:17

    In the introduction the author states that this is a true story. However, she waited until only two people witness to the tale were left alive, herself and her good friend Margaret. Therefore her frankness in describing the people involved is refreshing.The author Margaret Powell writes non-sentimentally about her time in service as a kitchen maid, then later as a cook.She worken in houses where the servants were valued members of the household and in those who treated their pets better than the people serving them. Needless to say Margaret did not stay long in those houses and left as soon as she could.Her story is primarily about the household where the young Master fell in love with the parlor maid and to his father's horror married her. The develpment of their relationship and marriage makes for a good read.The author's thoughts about their situation are given as well as a realistic picture of the times she worked as a cook.

  • Elderberrywine
    2019-05-02 02:28

    Enjoyable enough, but rather meandering.The romance between Sir Gerald and the parlormaid Rose, as mentioned in the subtitle, is actually take care of in the first quarter of the book. Sir Gerald and his bride are immediately disowned by his imperious father, but Gerald ends up making piles of cash anyway (how is not explained). But alas, it ends up being a Bad Romance for Rose is as dim and stubborn as she is pretty and Gerald learns that Looks Are Not Everything.The rest of the book is a chatty account of life under the stairs (or in the kitchen, since the writer is Cook) in the great houses of England during the '20s. The primarily female servants bounce from one position to the next, enjoying freedom (on their off hours), various degrees of comfort or austerity, and a not inconsiderable amount of personal prestige due to their situations. A world, of course, that was about to come to an abrupt end for most.

  • Abby Johnson
    2019-04-21 01:08

    This book was a great pick for our family book club since we are all Downton Abbey fans. This memoir of a cook who worked in service in the 1920s reads very much like a season of Downton Abbey. Margaret Powell discusses not only her own work as a cook, but the work and relationships of girls she was friends with, including Rose who married the son in one of the houses and became the head of her own big house. The beginning of this book really grabbed my attention, dealing with the staff of the house that Margaret worked in. But she soon leaves that position and take a variety of other positions throughout the book, which introduce a LOT of additional characters to keep track of. I would have liked this book more if it dealt with just one house and characters we could really get to know. But as it is, I liked it just fine and I think this will be a hit with our book club!

  • Naomi Blackburn
    2019-04-24 21:29

    Oh my goodness, I love DOWNTON ABBEY, but this book bored me to tears. The writing was so incredibly dry and what should have been a great storyline couldn't maintain my interest. Now I must admit that I have not read the author's first book Below Stairs: The Classic Kitchen Maid's Memoir That Inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey"and reviewers that had read that book gave this book a higher rating.

  • Kelsey Dangelo-Worth
    2019-04-19 22:26

    I bought this book on a trip to the Newport mansions, and as I’m fascinated by the Gilded Age (and a fan of Downton Abbey), I couldn’t put it down. The memoirs of a domestic servant in the period between the wars in England, mostly featuring the story of a fellow kitchen maid who married “above stairs”, the son of the “Sir and Madam”, as well as her own journey towards matrimony and the escape from service. Powell’s voice is lively, engaging, feisty, and incredibly intelligent and perceptive. A wonderful book that portrays a fascinating time period and perspective, a truly thoughtful and thought-provoking memoir concerning class and service. Grade: A

  • Sarah
    2019-04-21 20:13

    This book was disappointing. I thought from the title that it would be a happy story of a lucky servant girl who has a fairy tale romance with someone from "above stairs." Instead, it was merely an opinionated, self absorbed story of the author's own quest for men while bragging about great she is as a cook. She also manages to complain how her friend couldn't make a go of her romance, but she could have done a much better job with fitting in. I felt sorry for Rose, all the while feeling no such pity for Margaret, the author. I found this book difficult to get through, definitely not a good read.