Downton Shabby: One American’s Ultimate DIY Adventure Restoring His Family’s English Castle

Morrow. May 2022. 320p. ISBN 9780063080850. $27.99. MEMOIR
DePree has written a memoir of leaving Hollywood behind (where he produced, directed and wrote several films) and taking on the task of saving a massive 60-bedroom ancestral home. With a name like Hopwood DePree, readers might assume ancestral monies, but sadly that was not the case. However, time spent in Hollywood had left DePree with a great ability to bring people on board, including talented tradespeople, the odd celebrity, and the occasional aristocrat who not only helped, but became friends. A large part of the book is devoted to details about the various historical comings and goings of the occupants of the house, as well as the furnishings and architecture of the time. Perhaps it would have been more engaging if there was more of Depree and the other interesting and quirky characters, and a bit less of the house details.
VERDICT An lightweight book for people interested in English period detail.
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