I have trouble watching some TV shows without binge-watching. It’s become common for shows to end every episode on what used to be a season-ending cliffhanger. Here are a few options to get you through withdrawal or the waiting game until the show returns.
Still missing/traumatized by the Game of Thrones finale?
Check out the Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. An ongoing bloody battle for various thrones across England, before England was England, these books follow the true tale of King Alfred in his desire to unite the English kingdoms under one ruler (spoiler: himself), as the island is battling invasions of Vikings and Norsemen.
The books are all based on real events, real battles, and often feature real people who lived, but they are historical fiction, as they are told through Uhtred, a reluctant Saxon born and Dane raised warrior for King Alfred.
The series starts with The Last Kingdom, which may be familiar to some as the name of the BBC series the books were turned into. The three-season show covers much of the books, but it also leaves out so much action and detail. The books are fast-moving page-turners, clearly laying out life in late 9th century England including the brutality and danger that was present daily. Warning: It’s a lot of books and you’re probably going to love them!
Need some of that 1960s New York life?
On a lighter note if you’re wondering what to do until the next season of Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (or you really miss Mad Men), check out Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen. Set similarly in 1960s Manhattan, Alice moves from Ohio to make a living and follow her mother’s dreams. An aspiring photographer in need of a job, she goes to work for Helen Gurly Brown at Cosmopolitan Magazine. Between learning the ropes of the single life in New York, and managing her job and the powers trying to kill what her boss is trying to create, Alice has to figure out her place in the world. The backdrop is glamorous restaurants with the whose who of publishing and advertising mixed with the grit and realness of cafes and diners in Village.
Anxiously awaiting the Downton Abbey movie next year?
For fiction fans, check out American Heiress (The Last Duchess in the UK)– the story of an American sent to England to marry into a title and land. She has to do more than adjust to the rules, rank, and order of English society. She also has to adjust to a lack of running water, cold rooms, and her husband. Yes, her family money will save the estate, and yes, it is a somewhat arranged marriage where the two are rather thrown at each other. Sound familiar? Here’s how you know it’s good – it’s written by Daisy Goodwin. If you know the name you’re a Victoria watcher, and yes, she created the show.
If you’re into non-fiction (or just really love the time period) check these books out: Lady Almina and The Real Downton Abbey, and Lady Catherine, the Earl, and the Real Downton Abbey. Both books, written from the detailed and well-kept archives of Highclere Castle, are by the current Countess of Carnarvon. Both books feel like fiction, except you’ll likely recognize names and estates from Downton Abbey and The Crown.
Sad to see Matt Smith go, but weirdly excited about Tobias Menzies (oops, I mean Claire Foy for Olivia Coleman)?
Speaking of The Crown, if you’re having a hard time waiting for it to return, I cannot recommend enough Elizabeth The Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith. I read this immediately after the first season ended. A more recent biography, published in 2012, Smith writes right up to through the wedding of Prince William and becoming a great-grandmother.
What are you watching and reading? I need something to tide me over until Derry Girls returns – it’s too long a wait and too short of seasons!