Tag Archive for: Pawleys

Sparkle Abbey on Downton Abbey

by Sparkle Abbey

Downton Abbey’s final season launched this past week and so we couldn’t let this major event pass without a nod to this highly acclaimed British drama.

You might remember we did a contest a while back with all the differences between Downton Abbey and Sparkle Abbey. And now, our latest book Downton Tabby offers even more entertaining comparisons. Check out our “The Pawleys: A brief episode in the British family hiss-tory of Lady Toria Cash, the feline fatale of Downton Tabby.”

No spoilers here if you haven’t watched the first installment in this final season of Downton, but you can bet there will be butlers and maids, elegant frocks, fancy dinner parties, secrets revealed and problems in love, some below stairs and some in the drawing room.

Why do we (and millions of viewers) love this show so much? The twisted plots? The intrigues? The beautiful costuming? The “no-they-did-not-just-do-that” writing?

We believe the bottom line is whether it’s a book or a movie, and whether the setting is a cozy, quirky small town, a galaxy far, far away or a castle in Yorkshire; we all continue to watch or continue to read because of the characters.

The characters in Downton Abbey have become our friends and we want to know what will happen to them next. The stoic Carson, the sometimes clueless Lord Grantham, the forward-thinking Isobel Crawley, and the just-can’t-get-a-break Lady Edith. And then poor Anna and Mr. Bates who give new meaning to “when bad things happen to good people” adage. Plus the evil Thomas who can always be counted on to shake things up. And the best, the very best, Lady Violet, the Dowager, who routinely delivers the zingers we love.

Here are a few:

“At my age, one must ration one’s excitement.”

Mrs. Crawley: “I take that as a compliment.”
Countess Violet: “I must’ve said it wrong.”

Dr. Clarkson: You want me to lie?
Countess Violet: Lie is so unmusical a word.

Cora: “I hate to go behind Robert’s back.”
Countess Violet: “That is a scruple no successful wife can afford.”

“There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.”

“I don’t dislike him. I just don’t like him. Which is quite different.”

“All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite.”

“Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”

“Principles are like prayers; noble, of course, but awkward at a party.”

“Don’t be defeatist, dear, it’s very middle class.”

And our favorite:

“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”

What do you think? Do you watch the show? And, if so, do you agree with us that it’s the characters that have made the show such a success?

We’d like to hear your thoughts?

Comment below to be in the drawing for a signed copy of Downton Tabby.

Sparkle Abbey is the pseudonym of authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter. They write a national bestselling pet-themed mystery series set in Laguna Beach. The first book in the series Desperate Housedogs, an Amazon Mystery Series bestseller and Barnes & Noble Nook #1 bestseller, was followed by several other “sassy and fun” books in the series. The most recent installment is Downton Tabby and up next is Raiders of the Lost Bark. www.SparkleAbbey.com

Anyone for tea and crumpets…and murder?

by Sparkle Abbey

We’re so excited about our new book, Downton Tabby, which is due out in June. Our fab publisher, Bell Bridge Books, is doing some fun promo with a cover reveal at Goodreads on May 15th, a blog tour, special pricing on our backlist, and the placement of a short, featuring Toria, the feline star of Downton Tabby.

We thought you might enjoy reading the short so here goes…

Cats dressed in period clothing

The Pawleys 
A brief episode in the British family history of Lady Toria Cash, the feline fatale of Downton Tabby

“Can you believe that alley cat?” Lady Meow Grandcatham lifted her whiskers in disdain. “Thinking I’d simply fall under the spell of his gorgeous green eyes.”

I shook my head. “He does seem rather cheeky.” I’m Annakatrina, Lady’s Meow’s lady’s maid, and the alley cat she was referring to was Alexander Kittingham who’d apparently made a play for Lady Meow in a big way.

I carefully folded the lace frill she’d worn to dinner and reached for the brush I used every night on her silky black fur. Though I would never bring it up to Lady Meow, talk below stairs was that Alexander Kittingham was not actually a purebred British shorthair. He was often referred to as “Alley” in a disparaging tone, by Thomas Cat, Lord Grandcatham’s valet. Alexander was quite a handsome fellow and a favorite of the ladies around the dinner bowl.

He was nice looking with dark brown fur and deep green eyes, but I was not impressed. You see I’m madly in love with Mr. Bait. Poor Mr. Bait is currently locked up in the pound, but I had no doubt he would soon be freed.

“Beyond cheeky, I’d say.” Lady Meow lifted her paw to her neck. “Would you help me get out of this collar?”

I pulled on the diamond collar with my teeth and it snapped off easily. Carefully placing it in the ornate trinket box, I picked up the brush again.

Suddenly, there was a scratch at the door and I moved quickly to open it.  Lady Vi, Meow’s grandmother, stepped into the room. She was a formidable feline and referred to as the Dogwagger Countess because even the dogs at the neighboring estates were afraid of her. I don’t believe she’d ever actually bitten anyone, canine or otherwise, but all it took was a hiss and the very slight unsheathing of her claws and it was clear she meant business.

“Grandmother.” Lady Meow purred. “What a surprise.”

cat in straw hat“Not an unpleasant one, I hope.” The older feline stepped closer so Lady Meow could bump noses with her.

“I’ll leave you.” I moved quietly on soft paws toward the door.

“No, please stay.” The Dogwagger waved her tail in my direction. “I know Meow trusts you.”

“What is it, Grandmama?” Lady Meow dropped on her haunches. “Is something wrong?”

“What is wrong is my sources tell me someone is publishing a catty tell all tome about the Britain’s aristocats. I am told there’s a whole chapter devoted to the Grandcatham Family.” She leaned on the edge of Lady’s Meow’s bed and smoothed her fur.

Lady Meow began to pace. “Have you told Pappa’?

The Dogwagger shook her head. “No, nor your mother. It will be up to us to sort this out.” She gave a deep sigh and tipped her head to look at me. “We must find out who this low-life is and stop him or her before our good name is dragged through the litter box.” Sharp blue eyes pinned me in place.

“What can I do to help, M ‘lady?”

“My dear, you must be our eyes and ears.” The Dogwagger put her paws together as if it were all settled. “You can go places we must not and you will never be noticed.”

I had the thought that not being noticed was hardly complimentary, but knew she was right.

“You will help us, won’t you, Anna?” Lady Meow crossed the room in a single smooth leap to stand in front of me. Her golden eyes searched my face.

“Of course, I will.” I bowed my head.

And thus began my new career as Annakatrina, Cat Sleuth.

What would Mr. Bait think?

Downton Tabby, book seven in The Pampered Pets Mysteries by Sparkle Abbey, is now available for pre-order at Amazon. Pre-order now and send us an email with “Downton Tabby Pre-Order” in the subject line and you’ll be entered in the drawing for this adorable Andrew Cardew teapot and a canister of special blend, Downton Abbey tea.

Also, if you’re missing any of our backlist this is a great time to grab them. Details here.

And if you want to make sure you’re up on all the Sparkle Abbey news, stop by our website and sign up for updates at sparkleabbey.com.

Art credits: 
Siamese Cat in a straw hat © Nizhava1956 | Dreamstime.com 
Loving cats in 1900 © Lestoquoy Véronique | Dreamstime.com