This was one of the books that was recommended to fans of Downton Abbey. I am a fan of Downton Abbey, so I put it on my wishlist and got it from the library. Then I got it again. I have check it out three times already and it is due Monday, so made myself read it. I don't know why I kept putting it off, it is right up my alley. I guess other books kept butting in. Books can be such bullies. So here are my thoughts.I really felt sorry for Elise in the beginning.... well for most of this book. But in the beginning she was almost portrayed as the ugly duckling, living in the shadow of her beautiful and talented mother and sister. Oh, they loved her, as did her father, a novelist, but she didn't feel as if she fit in. When the others were expecting easy passage to the US, Elise's only option was to go to England as a house maid. Even when she arrived in England, she still didn't know how to fit in, she was used to being "upstairs", and had to really change her thinking at Tyneford. Eventually she found her place and did a lot of growing up. She experienced happiness and sadness along with the other occupants at Tyneford.There were so many good characters in this story. Elise missed her parents and sister terribly, and even though they didn't have any interaction with each other for most of the book, they were always "present". There were many other characters who helped shape Elise's life. The Master of the house, Mr. Rivers, was handsome and pleasant, and at the same time serious and reserved. But, he cared about Elise and her situation, which was thoughtful. Kit (his son), was a breath of fresh air. He was my favorite character and his friendship with Elise was so enjoyable. I could have read about just the two of them the whole time. Lady Diana, whom I hated, was just horrible and mean spirited. She was a minor character, and seemed to be thrown in just to cause problems. I guess every good novel has someone you love to hate.Over all, this story was well paced and well written. Sadly, I did see the end coming, but that was more historic reality, not predictable writing. I won't say I liked the way things turned out, but the ending did have some bright spots.So, did I think it was very Downton Abbey-ish? Well, maybe a little. I think that I was able to visualize Elise serving meals, and the Butler standing in white gloves during dinner a little better. Words like valet seemed more common and the idea that a man would not have ever shaved his own face was believable But overall, it didn't feel like Downton. This story was a bit darker. This was probably a more realistic view of an estate house during war time, where as the show really put a glamorous spin on it. One thing that was similar was the theme of "change is coming". At one point in the story it was mentioned that Tyneford would never be the same, and it really was true. Change came quicker in this novel than for the show.If you enjoy WWII era historical fiction/romance, then this would be a good book for you.