This is a book I bought solely based on the title, and I’m glad I took a chance on it. While We Were Watching Downton Abbey is the story of four women who live in the same luxury apartment building and who are struggling with issues ranging from empty-nest syndrome to family scandal. When the concierge invites them to a weekly screening of Downton Abbey episodes, they become quick friends. Through the course of the novel, they help each other cope and they becomes stronger through their loyalty to each other. Though the novel is technically “chick lit”, I think calling it that does a disservice to Ms. Wax’s ability to create real characters that have issues many of us over a certain age can relate to. The concierge, an Englishman named Edward, comes from a long line of English butlers/valets and takes his role at the apartment very seriously. He’s a delightful character and the kind of friend who truly cares about what happens to the residents. It ended pretty much the way you’d expect, and while I thought that there were a few ends were just too suddenly and neatly tied up, it was refreshing to read. Maybe I’m a sucker for a happy ending, but not every story has to have a deep philosophical meaning or a bleak outlook. Call it “chick lit”, a “beach read” or whatever you choose – I think this is a sweet story, with characters I felt invested in, and I am glad I read it.
4 out of 5 stars