Deadline is reporting that Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes has signed on to write and produce a new drama for NBC. Fellowes will make his way across the pond with The Gilded Age. Set in 1880s New York, the show will depict the world of excess that surrounded the millionaires of that time. Fellowes described the Gilded Age as “a vivid time with dizzying, brilliant ascents and calamitous falls, of record-breaking ostentation and savage rivalry; a time when money was king.” In other words this show will be the life of Lady Cora before she went to England and married Lord Grantham. The characters may be different but let’s hope the intrigue and the drama remains the same. Want to do some research before The Gilded Age hits the air? Here are some Gilded Age novels to get you in the mood.
Washington Square by Henry James
The shy and sweet daughter of a well-to-do physician, Catherine Sloper seems destined for lifelong spinsterhood until the sudden appearance of a dashing suitor who proposes marriage. Her adored father suspects the would-be fiance of fortune-hunting and threatens her with disinheritance, forcing Catherine to choose between lover and father.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
Deeply moving study of the tyrannical and rigid requirements of New York high society in the late 19th century and the effect of those strictures on the lives of three people. Vividly characterized drama of affection thwarted by a man’s sense of honor, family, and societal pressures. A long-time favorite with readers and critics alike.
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.
The Walworth family was the very symbol of virtue and distinction for decades, rising to prominence as part of the splendor of New York’s aristocracy. When Frank Walworth travels to New York to “settle a family difficulty” by shooting his father at point blank range, his family must reveal their inner demons in a spectacular trial to save him from execution.
She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage in the late 1890s, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city’s most eligible bachelor. Debuting means plenty of work–there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity’s spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.