Julian Fellowes, the creator of Downton Abbey, Dr. Thorne, Gosford Park, and many other fine television screenplays and books, has returned with this latest – Belgravia. Based on his 2016 novel, it’s titled after an affluent area in London of the same name, and a hidden secret regarding the man named Charles Pope.
The story starts out twenty-five years earlier, introducing viewers to the cast of James and Anne Trenchard, and their daughter Sophia. Trenchard is a tradesman who supplies the army during the war against Napoleon. Now facing the final battle at Waterloo, the families in Brussels enjoy one last night at a ball. Sophia has fallen in love with the son of an aristocrat. Her father, who hopes to rise ranks in society sees nothing wrong with her affections for the handsome Lord Edmund Bellasis, while her mother, Anne, is more realistic that nothing came come of the affair.
Well, young people will do what they do when in love or lust, and Edmund secretly marries Sophia in a private ceremony, which Sophia later believes to have been a sham. He is killed on the battlefield, and Sophia is left pregnant carrying his child. When she dies in childbirth, the male baby is placed with a vicar and his wife to raise. But, alas, not all is as it seems.
Fast forward in the story twenty-five years later when the paths of Anne Trenchard and Edmund’s mother, Lady Brockenhurst, cross paths. Unable to keep the secret any longer, Anne tells her that she has a grandson. The news sets in motion the events for the remainder of the story.
It wouldn’t be Julian Fellowes if he didn’t have antagonists that you’d like to strangle or antics of the downstairs servants to get under your skin. The story, of course, involves a budding romance between the daughter of an aristocrat, and the young Charles Pope, who is supposedly the illegitimate son of Sophia and Edmund. It’s a rather unpassionate romance, so don’t expect too much in the way of emotions as everyone remains very prim and proper.
The story is predictable, but it’s villains and worthless characters keep it interesting. The acting is somewhat dull, but the setting and costumes fill that period-drama need for the ladies. My biggest complaint was the soundtrack, composed by John Lunn. It sounded so much like Downton Abbey that it drove me nuts. I would have liked something a little more original. I’m not the only one to complain about that score. Read Here
I enjoyed the series but wasn’t exactly enthralled. While watching it, I read the book, and they match closely. I found Julian Fellowes writing quite interesting. His point of view is all over the place when it comes to characters, and you often have to switch it up to follow along.
Hopefully, the forthcoming The Gilded Age will be a delicious series with more meat to it. This one was sort of bland.