Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where place is main character

Now that I've admitted leaping aboard the "Downton Abbey" fan wagon, I've been thinking about how special locations or places sometimes become a large part of the story, the main character if you will. "Downton Abbey" is shot at Highclere Castle located in Hampshire, England. Interestingly, Lady Almina, the 5th Countess of Carnarvon, converted Highclere Castle into a hospital in September of 1914 in time to welcome the wounded from the fields of Flanders. The 8th Countess of Carnarvon has written a book entitled "Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey." I am on the long waiting list at the library. I am also on my own dream list of places to see before I die for a visit to England, its gardens, and perhaps Highclere Castle which opens again for visitors Easter 2012.

When thinking of place as main character, I couldn't help but think of the novels of Kate Morton. All are set in England and the place drives the story. Does England with it country estates, beautiful gardens, and a castle or two lend its self to this type of story? As I pondered place as character in the United States, "Gone with the Wind" came to mind. Can you think of or share any others?

I have enjoyed these three Kate Morton books based on a place, a time in history, a bit of mystery, and interesting characters some of which have a dark side.

I especially enjoyed this one with its own secret garden. Ah, "The Secret Garden" another book where place is of most importance.

"The Distant Hours" was my most recent read and perhaps the most disturbing. The place, the castle, becomes more important than the people with an inglorious ending. I understand that Kate Morton is releasing a new book sometime in 2012. I look forward to seeing if it will include a special place.


Laraine Eddington said...

The swampy confines of "The Yearling" have as much character as the characters and in all of Willa Cather's books the land is a huge presence. So glad you're a Downton fan.

Laurel said...

So true about Cather. It doesn't have to be a structure to be a place.

Anne said...

I have read a bunch of Sharon Kay Penman's historical fiction after it was recommended in a 76th ward enrichment (I think it was Nan?) My favorite novel of hers is Here Be Dragons. It takes place in England and Wales during the time of King Richard and King John. Wales is such a huge part of the story- the geography (as it effects living and warfare), the culture and the pride in their country is just amazing to learn about. The more I read about Great Britain the more I want to go there right now! I need to start watching Downton Abbey... but I am afraid I will be addicted!