Nibbly Bits, what the boring old posh people get between their teeth at weddings, was definitely not going to be good enough for Mrs. Hughes. She wanted a BREAKFAST. And a bit of hooey. And me too, I wanted what she wanted! Strike up the MUSICA!


And boy did we get it! Isn’t it gorgeous? Is this the schoolhouse? Because it couldn’t be more perfect. And my favorite white bunting is BACK. They had it at Mary’s wedding too. So festive!



Well, they did it again Girlfriends, I cried all the way through it! The work they put into this show, the details, the creative everything, makes me proud to be a human being. I just love this Downton Abbey. As I’m watching I can’t help but think about the things I’m going to miss.


Besides the stories and the laughter and the tears, I am going to miss the Drawing Room, the prettiest most elegant room.


I love the green wallpaper and how good it looks with tuxedoes, dresses, and lampshades.


And this room, my absolute favorite, because of what is hanging on the walls, and the beautiful woodwork, and the draped table, and the candles. Please don’t go!

IMG_4955And this room, with the long tables and the cupboards, and the wonderful copper pots and pans and the steaming kettle. Because, just like on the show itself, for us too, all good things are coming to an end.


This was such a sad little part. When poor Mr. Barrow (who only needs a partner of his own to be happy, and also for Mr. Carson to quit shoving him out the door) went to look for a job and he came into this sad house where life as it had been was pretty much all gone away and met that sweet man who lost both his sons in the war, who’d worked in this house his whole life, and was preparing for the good times to return again. So well written, hearing him remember the women climbing the stairs in the old days and the twinkling of diamonds? Tears and sadness for a lost era, where beauty reigned. Remember the garden parties? The hats? A changing world: nightmare for people we love.


And how I will miss this WOMAN ~ who knows “many happy couples who haven’t spoken in years.”  The Countess of Grantham, known to her close friends like us as Violet or Granny, was in rare form last night. Accusing Mrs. Crawley of secretly drinking her lunch! I fear she will not be getting her way this time, and there may be hell to pay. I have to tell you though, I have a very difficult time telling Lord Merton and Dr. Clarkson apart. Are they the same person with different makeup. Do we ever see them in the same shot together?  Hmmmm. It seems to me one of them has got to marry Isobelle!  


And Edith! Life is getting so good for her!  She better snap this guy up. Anyone who rushes in to help and works into the night, must be in el-oh-ve-ee, Love! Remember Bertie? (Of course Edith would have to go with a Bertie!)  He flirted with her at the shooting party when they went to that other castle? At the time he referred to himself as an “agent” ~ I didn’t know what that was, but it didn’t sound all that royal so I wondered if he was “good” enough for Edith. Well, lo and behold, he owns that castle, he is an Earl or a Marquess or something, perfectly up to standards, and obviously a hard worker too, not a spoiled brat like some people we know. I hope he’s the one. (Edith will have to quit calling Marigold her “ward” — I’m hoping Marigold gets a new title: Flower Girl!)


Fabulous! Edith took over the magazine and fired that miserable guy ~ and I bet this will be the BEST EVER ISSUE RECORDED IN THE HISTORY OF ENGLISH MAGAZINES! 


But look at Lady Mary’s face when Edith is receiving approval from her father.  YikesIMG_4968

Tra-la, they don’t notice! They are the normal ones! (Although I didn’t like it that Robert coughed in another scene. That struck me as a bit foreboding. I need ALL these characters to get out of this show alive.)


Look who has a secret.  Look who’s smiling and perky and cute for the first time in the history of this show!!!!  Baby on board! Hooray!baby


The wedding was perfect. Poor Mr. Carson, all packed up, saying good bye to his bed.


And Mrs. Hughes, saying a little prayer in hers.


The girlfriends working everything out in Cora’s bedroom, about how to cover the ugly brown dress so that Mrs. Hughes will look slightly better than just “tidy” on her wedding day. Oops, Lady  Mary thoughtlessly forgot to mention the idea to her mother. Uh oh.

IMG_4976So Cora hurts everyone’s feelings with unkind words like “stealing” which she was very sorry for so we forgive her instantly with her totally loving and heartfelt apology. Cora is a good person and despite what her charming daughter says, I don’t think she’s one bit a snob. 


And now, let the show begin! A perfect wedding . . .



With lots of friends, and hopefully  some hooey what ever that is, since Mrs. Hughes wanted it.


Elsie Hughes and Charles Carson, we now pronounce you man and wife ~ you may go ahead and look like you have just swallowed the cat bird. Or whatever that phrase is. While I’m busy crying.

the happy couple

I wanted to add this photo, where you can really see all the details on both of them! Our Girlfriend Angie sent it to me on Twitter ~ it’s so much better than the photos I’m taking of the TV! Aren’t they adorable? That coat!




And then, just as we are toasting the happy couple . . . (coat looks pretty good!) . . . 


Who walks into the room and MAKES MY DAY?


Tom and Sibby!  They’re home! And Tom is looking straight at spoiled Lady Mary!!! And he is going to stay forever! 


I don’t know, I could be wrong, but it seems to me the only sensible ending for this. When all else fails, you have to go with common sense! Even if I’m wrong, I’ve already decided to be happy, so don’t let my longing and wishing upset you. I can take it.


Plus, here is Sibby hugging Mary’s little boy, George, the heir of Downton Abbey. I’m just saying’.  And that’s it for another FABULOUS week of Downton Abbey. Now I will go watch it (actually I will listen to it) again, and probably one more time, while I paint away this snowy day. The whole time I’m writing to you right now, the snow plow is going up and down Birds in the snowmy street outside my window. Dawn is just now breaking, and my view is of a pure white winter wonderland Christmas card outside. Life is good. Joe is making all of our bookstore dates. The tour (30th Anniversary of first book, btw, who would have thought, not me!) starts off with a tea party and fund raiser, a talk and a signing, a big wonderful event at the new delightful bookstore called An Unlikely Story in the darling little town of Plainville, MA ~ then it’s off to RJ Julia’s in Connecticut, New Hope, PA, and from there, points west, not necessarily in this order . . .  Kansas City, St. Charles, Chicago (for another Tea Party), Cedar Rapids, Denver, Salt Lake, Danville, CA, San Luis Obispo, to Vroman’s in Pasadena, to still another delightful tea party in Prescott, Arizona (more info to come), to Book People in Austin, Texas, and right now testing watercolorswe’re working on the wonderful Parnassus Books in Tennessee, if any of you are interested in that, I’m sure it would help us if they heard from you. I think we also have stops in Arkansas and North Carolina and New Jersey planned also. And More. Keep checking COMING SOON/EVENTS in the right-hand column of the blog for new additions. We’re not done yet. I’m so looking forward to meeting you out in the real world! But FIRST, before any of that, I must complete the book and get it to the printer! That’s my job!  So, back into the rabbit hole I go dear ones. Have a wonderful day, can’t wait to hear your take on Downton, or any other thing for that matter!  Girlfriends Forever!  Love, XOXO, me.

If you do it with heart


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591 Responses to NIBBLY BITS

  1. Laurie Walt says:

    What a great show on Sunday! Everyone is fulfilling our expectations! Lets hope that we have a baby on the way too. I have been quilting this winter, and crosstitching, and baking bread. Isn’t it romantic? The only thing I’m missing is a fireplace. Maybe next year! Dwell in possibility! Love.

  2. Marcia says:

    I cried all over again when I got to your picture of Tom & Sibby! Best moment of the show for me!

    So happy you will be at RJ Julia’s! Right next door to my beautiful hometown of Guilford! A road trip might just be in my future 🙂

  3. Annie Dru says:

    I’m sure someone has already mentioned it in the 300 plus comments above, but I think what Mrs. Hughes… I mean Mrs. Carson… was referring to is a ‘hooley’ or an ‘Irish party with music’. I can just see her dancing a jig and blowing Carson’s whole image of her on their first night as a wedded couple! Heh heh!

  4. Denise Wysong says:

    Oh Susan! You have made my day, my month, my year!! You are coming to Kansas City! When you see the silly, dark haired lady with stars in her eyes, it’s me! Can’t wait…won’t sleep! See you soon❤️

  5. Marilyn says:

    Tears here for this Downton Abbey show. So much happened, WOW! Loved it.

  6. Heather L. says:

    I’m sure you may already be a reader of Lady Carnarvon’s blog but have you also seen the new Highclere app they just released!! It may be a way we can stay “in the story”……

  7. Elaine in Toronto says:

    Hi Susan, did you play with paper dolls when you were a little girl. I sure did and I remember having Cyd Cherisse, June Allyson and the Lennon Sisters paper dolls. My best friend and I made our own dolls and spent many happy hours “designing” clothes for them. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if they created paper dolls of all the Downton folks, upstairs and downstairs – such glorious costumes. It would make a wonderful keepsake for us. I would buy two – one to keep and one to play with, lol.

    • sbranch says:

      I’m surprised they haven’t done it already! Very good idea!

    • Rachel Scott says:

      Elaine, I adored paper dolls also and still have some of mine…Dinah Shore, Dagwood and Blonde, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, and a set of babies. It’s been said that you love certain things as as child that you still love as an adult. I “play with paper” now and have found Julie Nutting doll stamps ….which are so much fun to “dress” with all the wonderful scrapbooking papers and embellishments. And, guess what, if you google: Downton Abbey paper dolls, you can find some that you can print out. Have fun.

    • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

      I was thinking the exact same thing the other day about DA paper dolls! has “paper dolls in the Downton Abbey style” but just not the same as seeing the faces of our favorite characters in their own paper doll version! Maybe soon!?

  8. Donna Money says:

    I was looking forward to your review of the show! So wonderful! After this season I’m going to rent the first season from our library, I’ve never seen the first season .
    I love that you’re going to be in Tennessee! That book store is in Nashville I believe. Have you ever been on TV It would be wonderful if you were on Channel 5 Talk of the Town program. 🙂

  9. Heidi G says:

    I just love how you recount the whole episodes of Downton Abbey! It’s just like sitting down with a girlfriend and talking about all the juicy “Nibbly Bits” of the show together. Such fun! I hate that this is going to end! I love that it is on Amazon Prime so I can rewatch it whenever I want to. I’ve loved going back and rewatching it all before this season started again. I had missed so much when I watched it before.

    • sbranch says:

      I know what you mean, three times is the charm for me. By then I have it all!

      • Mary S. says:

        I know what you mean exactly! I’ve watched all of them 3 times except season five and of course 6. I’ve bought the DVDs so I can do that, but also so I can loan them out to my friends who haven’t seen them. Love from Mary S. In Fresno, California

  10. Edith McAdoo says:

    Please email me your blogs. Thank you. A day is better with Susan Branch!!

  11. Oh Susan- how wonderful if you come to North Carolina! Looking forward to reading about your upcoming events 🙂 xoxo Jacqui

  12. Ann in UK says:

    I love your take on Downton, and yes, ‘that’ coat was beautiful, the colour, the velvet, I would love to own a coat in that fabric. Think I will have to buy the ‘box set’ and re-watch it all. So pleased you have snow, my favourite Cardinals will stand out so well, please take lots of photos of them

  13. Carol says:

    Your review of DA’s latest program is wonderful. It made me remember and think through (again) some of the best parts. I think there will be babies (at least one) and more weddings! My nasty side would like to see Lady Mary get a come-uppance as she is so MEAN to Edith. (And what happened to the blackmailer? Did I miss that?) Poor Mr. Barrow! Finally I can feel some empathy for him. Times are indeed changing. The Countess and Mrs. Crawley are having quite the time of it, and I’m quite enjoying the zingers that fly back and forth between the two. Thanks for your ideas/comments about DA. It’s always refreshing to read your work.

  14. Barbara says:

    Susan, do you have plans to visit Washington, DC on your book tour? Where can we find the schedule? I enjoy your DA recap.

    • sbranch says:

      Not this time, but we’re working on North Carolina and Atlanta.

      • Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

        ATLANTA?! Whoopee!! I think this will be a first visit (that I can recall) for you and your happy, lucky, Southern girlfriends. 💕👭 We can’t wait to see y’all and are hoping you and Joe find the perfect venue for this occasion. This is wonderful news, dear Sue!

  15. Charissa says:

    Oh how I love Downton Abbey and your posts are such a big part of that:) How do you take such perfect pictures of the TV? if I take a picture of the tv, mine looks like a picture of the tv. Anyhoo, I agree with everyone that Robert will be in need of some of that new hospital equipment, but he will be fine. I was so proud of Edith this episode too. The wedding was perfect in all the details and I cried along with everyone else. I literally gasped when Tom arrived. I thought I had been hoping for too much. I must say that I really feel for Barrow. There were times in the early seasons when I hated every ounce of him, but now… I feel he needs love just like the rest of us. I wish Carson didn’t make him feel so unwelcome. I wanted to give him a hug and be his friend, if he promised not to be as deceitful as he was before. I am thrilled you are going to Austin, but you are also going to KC where my mom lives. The best kind of decision one gets to make. Susan here or Susan there;) xoxo

  16. Barbara in NC says:

    Susan, I love your sense of humor! Your posts on Downton Abbey are so clever…I was so thrilled with the last episode, too, and clapped when I saw Tom and Sybie in the doorway at the wedding hall. Yay! I’m so happy you will be coming to North Carolina!! Will keep a lookout for where and when. Enjoy snuggling inside with the pretty snow outside.

    • sbranch says:

      We are deeply snuggled, we have very high winds and freezing temperatures. I had to wear a hat to keep warm when I first got up this morning!

  17. ArlineLA says:

    Such a great recap. I watch the first time trying to capture every nuance, then listen to it again the next morning too. That look in Cora’s eye ….. The pig farm is not a done deal. Who new – we are all getting a little fond of Thomas. And Marigold. Will she finally get something to say? So much left to reconcile. Good thing we have a book coming to take the sting out of Downton’s ending!

    • sbranch says:

      I hope it works!

      • Marianne says:

        No, nothing in my junk file…I’ll keep checking. I’ve not received your blog since the first of the year, strange! Not to put a downer on anything, love your blog and just do not want to miss the action!

  18. Susan says:

    I’m so sad this is the final season! I do have one criticism (is she REALLY going to criticize Downton??!?) I think they are resolving all the issues too quickly. They could have easily stretched out the series for another year or two. I wish!

  19. Lisa Gabel says:

    I know they say ‘clothes make the man’ but really….. both of them appeared to have light shining from their faces – it is particularly apparent in the photo you posted. My hat is off to both of them for their acting because I don’t think you can fake such happiness. It was simply exquisite. Thank you for your pictures to refresh my memory. They are lovely. Really.

  20. Starr miller says:

    Hi Susan,
    We all thank you for working so hard on your next book. Hope the rabbit hole has a few treats in it for you.
    Downton Abbey was smart, charming, beautiful and funny. The wedding and Tom’s return brought happy tears to my eyes also.
    This show will be missed by so many.
    I’m following your appearances in the Chicagoland area and plan to be at one for sure. I so enjoyed seeing you at Anderson’s Bookstore in Downers Grove in 2014? I think. Time goes so fast these days.
    I recently bought Kevin Henkes new picture book, Waiting, and thought of you. If you haven’t seen it, you must. The story and illustrations will tug at your heart.
    Enjoy your winter snowfall –

  21. Carol On the farm in Iowa says:

    Hi Susan,
    It is fun to read your commentary of DA! Has anyone noticed what a listless child Marigold is, always has been? Sorry if I sound negative, it just seems she has no spark! I feel sorry for poor Mrs. Drew.
    I will see you in Cedar Rapids, can hardly wait! You should try to visit the Amma Colonies while you’re in the area. It’s very scenic and interesting even if you just drive through. If you are staying overnight I recommend Hubers Bed and Breakfast in one of the little villages(I have to look that up) there are 4or 5. Anyway we stayed there a few years ago, the rooms are charming and food good.
    We are cold here too. Below zero often, but we’ve got sunshine! Hugs, Carol

  22. Debbie F. in Indiana says:

    I am delighted that you are including Cincinnati on your book tour. My college roomie and I reserved our books today and are planning a lovely girlfriend day together. It will be hard to wait for May! Looking forward to meeting you!!

  23. Eileen Ammendolea says:

    Downton Abbey was so sweet this week! So much going on! Usually I watch it with two of my girlfriends, but I had a nasty cold so it was just me and a cosy cup of tea. It’s the best show and I will miss it so much. Enjoy the beautiful snow!

  24. Linda Kidd says:

    Hi Susan,

    Love to read your recaps of Downton! I’m sad to see it end too. Also, I am looking forward to your new book. Have read, and enjoyed, both the others. You are a very talented person and, I’m so glad you share that talent all of with us.

  25. Vienna Vance says:

    Hi Susan! Ever thought about coming to La Jolla? There’s a great independent bookstore here called Warwicks, the oldest family-owned one in the country! It’s by the La Valencia Hotel that you stayed at decades ago! We would love to see you here! Hugs from your 15-year old girlfriend and her grandma. <3

    • sbranch says:

      Come girls, get in the car and come to Vroman’s and see me!!! I can’t get down to La Jolla this time, although I would LOVE to! But I hope you can cross LA and come see me in Pasadena!

  26. 'Arden says:

    Susan….I’m so sorry you can’t get up to Portland to be at Powell’s. You would have a HUGE audience! Please change your mind!! Arden in Portland, OR

  27. silvia w. says:

    Hi Susan,

    This is the first chance I have had in a long time to respond to your blog. This was a very nice post. It was right on target with Downton Abbey, from the ‘nibbley bits’ to Thomas and his struggles to the big wedding (love that coat) to what ever are we going to do when this series finishes???!!!! For me, other than my son’s birthday, Downton Abbey is something to look forward to in the wintery month of January. It’s as if I know these characters, like they are part of my family or something. Every Sunday when watching Downton Abbey, I want to get cozy and comfy as I try to figure out what will happen next. I am glad you brought up missing them when they no longer come for a stay, because now I know I am not the only one that is going to miss these characters when they are no longer. In our hearts these characters shall remain. Thanks, for this post. Hope your snow-filled winter is a cozy one.

  28. PAULA says:

    You are coming to Vroman’s???? San Luis Obispo was enough of a treasure, but now, Vroman’s? Sorry, will try to contain myself. After that wonderful wedding on D A, it seems too much to hope for. You see, we lived in Glendale for 50 years, I taught there for 20 years, and any teacher knows Vroman’s. Just like coming home. Maybe a chance to thank you in person. Hoorey!!!!!!!!! Polly from Oxnard.

  29. Janet Tentler says:

    Hi Susan, not sure if you mentioned this in “A Fine Romance” or not … I wasn’t hooked on Downton Abbey when I first read it and it is with a friend right now, but did you see the castle that is Downton? I hope so! BTW, I am totally hooked now, I binged watched Seasons 1-5 in November!! But what I really wanted to tell you, on your next trip, over the pond, look to see if there is an exhibit of the Downton costumes. I saw that there have been some exhibits in England! I was thinking/hoping they might bring it here! The Queen Mary would be a perfect place!!! Afternoon Tea, the Downton costumes, ahhhh, just like the Diana Exhibit! Am I right?!? Take Care

  30. Linda Metcalf says:

    I was very disappointed with Mary trying to take over the reception. Love that Edith may have found someone! Like you I’m going to miss Downton….may have to buy the series so I can watch it over and over!

  31. Lori C. says:

    How in the WORLD did I miss you are coming to Prescott, Arizona???!!!! I sent my friend your link (due to us missing Downton On Sunday) and she said “did you see that???!!!” Oh, please, PLEASE, can’t wait for more info!!! Will your sweet Daddy be coming over the hill to join us? Get out the White Bunting!!!!!

    • sbranch says:

      We are planning for him to come, and also his darling wife Jeanie and her sister Mary. That’s the plan! Wait till you hear about this event, it is going to be wonderful!

      • Mary in Phoenix says:

        SOOOO excited that Blogdaddy and his posse are planning to come!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 Get out the white bunting is right ♥ xoxo

      • Lori C. says:

        I have given so many of your beautiful books (and book ends) to my friends over the years – that they ALL want to come! Tears! Excitement! Can’t Wait!!!! Finally get to meet your Daddy who has graced the front page of my journals! And his wife and sister! And YOU!!!

  32. KathyG says:

    I just don’t have time to read all gazillion comments so far, but had to mention that the beautiful green wallpaper you talked about in the dining room, is SILK. We just belatedly watched the PBS special on the history of Highclere Castle, and that wallpaper was a wedding gift to the heiress Almida Wellwomb from her father (Rothschild!) when she married the 5th (?) Earl. It cost the earth, even in 18– something, no telling what it would cost today. She received enough for the walls AND curtains in that room.

    And of course I cried too, all the way through. Geez, though I am bit less patient than you are. I just want to shake a few of the characters — Edith: get a move on! Fire that idiot editor! Mary: grow up and get a life of your own so you can stop ragging on Edith. But it all just shows how involved we are in this silly show. 😉 Enjoyed your take on everything.

  33. Frances Fowler says:

    Oh, I sniffled away at their wedding — I love their love, born out of long years of friendship. I know the main spoilers from UK posts, but Downton lives in my heart, regardless of sets, actors, behind-the-scenes, and what Highclere is really like. My brother gave me the CD for my birthday and it’s really fabulous! I only have Season 3 on DVD, but Amazon Prime is running all the seasons free until some time in March. You can imagine that it’s been a running marathon of each season. I want Edith to be happy, too, though it took longer for her redeeming qualities to develop than Mary’s, but as the youngest (and all three exhibit classic birthing-order qualities to the extreme) and the target of Mary’s spiteful and belittling remarks, we can see how her sometimes petulant and whiny behavior developed. Nor was Edith very friendly with servants in Season I, except when she disingenuously comforted Daisy in order to coax the poor girl’s terrible secrets about Mary’s Infamous Night! So glad she’s a working editor now, capable (I think!) of making coffee giving a sexist editor the boot, and “staring middle age in the face”! Robert cannot, I repeat – cannot! — perish, and no spoiler has indicated anything but happy endings for all, lest viewers revolt. Upstairs, Robert and Cora are Mr. and Mrs. Kind. I think we should chalk it up to Cora’s earthy American influence ^_^ I was thinking that as much as we want Downton’s kitchen, library, and dining room, the Drew’s kitchen was perfectly dreamy, especially if we could swipe a few polished copper pots from Mrs. Patmore. It looked more like something Beatrix would have loved, and would be magazine worthy today! Reading that section in A Fine Romance, I can just imagine how you and Joe felt when discovering it sparsely attended and with time to roam. Heavenly!

    • sbranch says:

      A dream come true. And now, when I’m working, I dream about it again and think about our next trip. It’s a very big light at the end of the tunnel!!

      • Frances Fowler says:

        Wait…Edith is the second child, so no excuse for her early behavior! Some of us are intent on having tea at Highclere (well, the thought counts for something!), but maybe a visit can go on your agenda. I would truly think I was dreaming!

    • Terrie from Atlanta, GA says:

      Oh, Frances, I absolutely fell in love with the Drews’ kitchen, too! That scene where Mrs. Drew “rescues” little Marigold from the busy chaos at the pig/farm animal fair? Such a cozy, cottage-y room their kitchen/dining/living room was … I kept pausing my saved version of the show so I could capture every detail: the large stove, with kettle always on, warming rack above and oven below; their busy farm table, full of the detritus of everyday life; even the different chairs – some fancy, for company, others built for warmth, or work. And the collection of dishes they had! It’s no wonder we all so easily find ourselves living in the moment, isn’t it?

  34. winnie Nielsen says:

    With Elsie and Charles saying their vows, I was full of tears and a huge lump in my throat, but when Branson showed up with Sybie, I burst into a huge crying mess!! OMG, I was so happy to see him!

    The end of this series is just too painful to dwell on at the moment. Gosh, I am going to miss all of the characters and their ups and downs. Remember that incident of Lord Grantham having a touch of heartburn in front of Mr. Carson? Don’t let it be the forewarning of a major heart attack that takes him out.

    I am totally with you on the new bright man in Edith’s life. It would be such a welcome to see her genuinely happy and able to feel like she could truly own up to being the mother of Marigold!

    So many twists and turns again this past Sunday and so many important pieces still to fix!

    Enjoy being snuggled in while you work to finish our special Trilogy book #3! I’ve got mine pre-ordered from your online store and looking forward to enjoying every page and painting!!

  35. Allison says:

    Dear Susan,

    I wonder if you’ve ever thought of writing a children’s book? Just a thought. I couldn’t find the 2015 Susan Branch calendar I had just taken down – my daughters took down their old 2015 Frozen calendar & put yours up, saying they want to have my Susan Branch calendar this year (it’s a year off but they really like it). You’ve upstaged Anna & Elsa! Maybe a book about your bunny character or a book of inspiration for girls. My daughters love to read over my shoulder when I have one of your books out. Just a little thought …

    And doesn’t Mrs. Carson look lovely.

    Happy new year

    • sbranch says:

      LOL! Your daughters, the heck with what day it is on that calendar! 🙂 Honestly truly every book I write is for twelve year olds. More or less. I’m always thinking of them, because that’s pretty much my age for life. I love that age. I promise they will love the book I’m writing now. How old are they?

  36. Gill Smith says:

    Susan we have just had the National Television Awards on TV here in UK. And guess who won………DOWNTON ABBEY!!!! YAY Gill

    • sbranch says:

      I can’t say I’m too surprised. They must be over the moon. I love love love your country and its total charm.

  37. Ruth thomas says:

    Love this show. Have already requested the series on DVDs for Xmas !🎄⛄️ But, I think Tom is too good for Mary, yep, I said it. Edith needs to take another look at Tom!

    • sbranch says:

      You aren’t the only one that thinks that! I do too, but she might blossom with him, and become much more real. She has the tendencies anyway. Except when it comes to poor Edith.

      • KarenP. (Wisconsin) says:

        And Mary and Tom both share a passion for the estate and the farming which makes a great partnership!

      • vickie says:

        It is so bittersweet to watch “Downton” this season knowing it is the last. I have to admit..I try to watch each new episode at least 3x’s each week! My house is frightfully neglected! Things are really piling up! Sad! AND.. when Tom appeared last week, I actually gasped so loudly, my hubby thought something had seriously occurred! Tears actually came to my eyes..Oh how Downton has captured our hearts!!! Yes..I agree..Edith WILL rule in the end. Proud Mary will finally look at her despised sister with new eyes.
        With all of that aside, Susan, I just finished “Fairytale Girl”.
        Well done! Your life has been amazing.

        • sbranch says:

          Of all the relationships, I would love most of all to see Mary and Edith as girlfriends. But it’s hard to believe that could ever happen! Thank you Vickie, very kind words! I can’t wait until the next one is finished, so much to TELL! 🙂

    • Mamey says:

      I agree, but I actually started liking Mary when Matthew was in the picture. Maybe Tom will turn her around…

  38. daniela says:

    Hi susan, i want to thank you for show me Vera Lynn, what a discover! and what a voice¡ I can’t stop to listen her. Thank you.:)

  39. Gail says:

    I just loved the show on Sunday. My only complaint was t hat I would have loved the show to have been longer! The wedding was sweet,wonderful and made me so happy. Hoping Anna and Mr Bates have their baby and find happiness. I’d also love Mary and Tom to get married and raise the kids together. Then poor Edith, I’m so happy to see her coming into her own. I felt sorry for Barrow, such a sad life. Then the dowager and Isabel,I’ll miss their verbal sparring. I’m going to miss this show like crazy. What will we do on Sunday nights?

  40. Mamey says:

    My FAV show on tv!!! I’m soooo glad Tom is back!!!!

  41. Therese says:

    It is so true that a day is better with a little ( or a lot) ofSusan Branch!
    I always love your ‘Downton dish’.
    I gotta say that I was hoping that Julian’s sequel to this gem of a story would be set in Boston and feature Tom and Sybie…Mary does not deserve him by any stretch. THANK YOU for this blog entry dear Susan. and especially that wedding portrait. I never get enough of poring over all the set details and the wardrobe.

  42. Jane Franks says:

    I re-watched episode 3 yesterday. Love it,love it! “Mrs. Hughes — oops, Carson’s” outfit is perfectly wonderful! That grey and mauve combo just sings. I would love to have that embroidered coat!! and Carson doesn’t look bad himself!! It was such a sweet wedding, and I think suited them in the schoolhouse! Tom arriving back was not unexpected! I didn’t think he would stick it out in Boston for long! I did think it odd that he crashed the Carson wedding, and that rather overshadowed Elsie and Carson’s moment. It was fun to see all the cousins together again. I don’t think either Edith or Mary will end up with Tom. But I could be wrong. It will be interesting to see. I am glad he is back though, and it will be fun to see what story line his life takes. I think everyone is too hard on Mary. She has had her fair share of hardship. That awful Pamuk thing and Edith betraying her to the embassy. Then finally finding real happiness with Matthew and having him die the day she gave birth to their son. And she has been so kind to Anna — visiting her in prison, and risking scandal for that. She has warded off any number of unsuitable suitors. And now she is helping Anna get help with her pregnancy. Not to mention taking on the pigs!! (She reminds me of Beatrix Potter as a country farmer!) I admire Mary’s spunk and sticking up for what is right for the Abbey which means jobs for the county. And, while Edith is very much improving in this season, she has been her own worst enemy; gullible to the core; up until this season, whining about everything; mean spirited toward Mary and even betraying her to the embassy. If I were Mary I would probably have said, in the words of Cora, “how do you think I”ll ever trust you again!” And I find it very hard to forgive her for the agony she caused Mr. Drew. I think it is despicable that she was responsible for driving him from his work on the farm, which had been in the family “since Waterloo”. And she didn’t seem to care a bit about it. She has never owned up to causing the whole horrible mess to anyone but her father, in private, who would of course stand up for her. Anyway, I hope Bertie knows what he’s getting into if he takes her on. She will be a full time job!! Well, I got that out!! 🙂 As for Violet and Isobel, this is just hilarious to watch, with everyone else holding their breath! And I love the way Violet handles Denka! When she is fishing for information about Sprat, my favorite line: “I know he has a great number of relations who seem to get married and buried with numbing regularity, usually on very inconvenient days!” Well, Julian Fellowes is a genius! He has spun his web and holds us fast! I can’t wait to received my DVD of Season 6 which ships on Jan. 26th. I shall spend the rest of the winter watching each episode as it airs on PBS and then re-watching the entire Season until spring! Yay!!

  43. Barbara Heinsohn says:

    Tessa Hadley is the special guest on today’s Diane Rehm show on NPR. She is talking of her new, 6th, novel which takes place in western England. It is supposed to be her best one yet and is getting rave reviews. The premise it’s based on touches on something in me. I thought you would probably enjoy it too so I wanted to give you a heads up. : )

    Tessa said that even though the book doesn’t say where it takes place, she knows exactly where it is and it’s in or near Somerset…in estuary country.

    Thursday, Jan 21 • 11 a.m. (ET)
    Tessa Hadley: “The Past”
    British author Tessa Hadley’s new novel “The Past” — about a family gathering for a three-week holiday in their late grandparents’ home — is getting rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. The author and frequent New Yorker contributor joins guest host Susan Page to discuss the new book, and why it took decades to publish her first novel and hit her stride as a writer.

    Enjoy your blizzard. I’m so jealous. Born and raised on Long Island I am now stuck in Houston and always jealous of snowfall and seasons. I’ll be watching the Weather Channel. lol


  44. Laura in Sacto Ca. says:

    I scared my poor dog half to death when I gasped out loud when Tom surprised US ALL! I was truly shocked. I believe Robert will have a heart attack and die….this angina they bring on every once in a while is leading up to something in the near future. You know Julian Fellowes cannot leave happiness alone…he loves a good death at a drop of a hat.

  45. Joy Pence from Ohio says:

    Ahhhh, yes, what a beautiful episode. I too will miss this sweet, wonderful, show. I lose all track of time when it is on. My sweet daughter got me the first 5 seasons for Christmas! My husband has decided to watch them with me so we have watched episode 1 and 2 of Season 1. It is amazing how everyone has changed thru the “years”. I looked at Mrs. Hughes and Carson in that first episode and saw a spark in their eyes for each other back then, took them this long to tie the knot! My girlfriends and I are planning a tea party for the last night, many tears will be shed. Hugs

  46. Melody says:

    What a wonderful Downton post. I’m behind and haven’t watched this episode yet… but will be very soon. I agree I will miss the show also, it’s been wonderful. I’m excited about your bookstore tour !! Cedar Rapids, IA is within range for me, I hope I can make it. Thank you dear Susan!!

  47. Sara says:

    Your commentary on DA was spot-on as usual, Susan. I know it seems like Edith and Tom would be perfect together, but I have to confess I’d like to see Mary just totally lose her mind over Tom! I don’t think anyone could ever take Mary down a notch (and she certainly needs to be), but I think falling in love with Tom would do the trick. Just a thought…

    Thanks for poking your head out from time to time. It really does help these winter days to sail by. 🙂 Sara 🙂

  48. Monique says:

    I loved this episode to bits!
    Everything you retrospect though..I have been thinking of Cora..and in the long run..I have to say she has had the least personality:( I hate saying that..but once in a while I would have liked to see more passion in her words..and not of reprimand..
    I’s a role:) But we are so into Downton that we feel we know them all:)Real well;)

    Carson is undeniably romantic now..and Branson lit up the screen ..and yay for Edith and Mrs Hughes looked fab..and Anna will have this baby I just feel it♥

    If Mary ends up with Branson..I hope she develops empathy for everyone around her…and grows a kindness gene.
    She needs to stop rolling her eyes in disdain.

  49. Pat Johnson says:

    Oh what in the world can we say about Downton? It is definitely the highlight of our lives! I must admit that this last one was a true favorite – the wedding was wonderful and before the wedding was so touching. Yes, I cried. I truly try not to think about the fact that this is it! Otherwise, it would drive me crazy!! I so look forward to seeing you in San Luis. You are just traveling all across the country…look at you! What fun!! Another subject: Hope you fair in the awful stormy weather right now. I think about you always when I get the weather report. Hang on, girlfriend!! Hugs to all!!

  50. paula says:

    Oh Susan Branch…how I love you so! You are, simply put, one of us!! We all were sharing yesterday our own predictions of how this season will play out…I just want it to go in slow motion!
    Would you please add a precious little shop in the Dallas area to your schedule?
    It’s called Bradbury Lane and is just beyond the perfect fit for you and Joe! Take a look and see what you think!!! at or

    • sbranch says:

      Looks so cute! Kindred spirits! Would love to SHOP there! We’ll be relatively close, in Austin! I hope we can meet everyone there!

  51. Annie in IL says:

    I, too, have my tickets for the tea at Westmorland Country Club in May. Can’t wait. The excitement of attending the book signing/tea helps mitigate the sting of losing Downton.
    Snowy here in IL with ‘blustery’ weather coming in. Makes me think of Winnie the Pooh!
    See you soon. Time flies, as we all know!

  52. Tina says:

    Oh, I so hope you’re going to truly come to North Carolina. Maybe McIntyre’s Bookstore at Fearrington Village? Oh, you would love the place, both the cozy store and the setting of the village and community.

  53. Pat Fullmer says:

    I loved this latest episode DA! Your photos from the various scenes are wonderful!
    I’m also thrilled that your book tour will stop in Danville. Count me in!!

  54. Marilyn Young says:

    Hoping Suzanne at Strawberry Patches in Bakersfield, CA will be having you back again. Love to see you again.

    • sbranch says:

      She did such a wonderful thing at her store. One of my favorite events ever. Remember the little “Jack” she made for me? Too much!

  55. Peggy Cooper says:

    I’m with you on Tom and Mary getting together, but I’ve mentioned to you before that I think Edith has a thing for him. So I wonder if there will be a plot of Edith and Mary both going after him. Can you imagine the chicanery that would go on behind backs for that? But in the end, Edith has her new life with the magazine in London, and Mary loves Downton so, so her and Tom would be the best fit. Oh how we’re going to miss this :o(

  56. mary spring says:

    ..good morning !!..’loving your pics on “twitter”.. ( I’ve always called your creative endeavor (sp?) creative chaos !!)..enjoy the blizzard, as I know you will… sincerely

  57. Virginia says:

    Thinking of you in this huge blizzard, Susan. I saw that Martha’s Vineyard will be hardest hit in Massachusetts. I hope you and Joe are well hunkered down–I’m sure you are well prepared–and most of all that the power stays on. In one of these storms, losing power is toughest part–if it happens and I hope it won’t. The rest will take care of itself.

    • sbranch says:

      It was beautiful, we didn’t lose power, which is always the main thing. During storms, the Island loses electricity regularly, I have worked in candlelight many times and there is something wonderful about it, but it’s a lot easier if there is lamp light!

  58. Ro'se at the Cottage in New Jersey says:

    LOVE your recaps to DA! and the pictures so I can look at all the background wonders.
    I am cozyed down here in New Jersey with the storm raging outside, Spoke to my sister Carol, she is making pound cake at her house because her internet server is ‘down’. My daughter Deb is making potato soup and bread at her house in PA. Maybe I should start my oven with something! cookies maybe. AND the BEST news! I have tickets for Carol and me to see SUSAN IN NEW HOPE PA! sorry for shouting! I am so HAPPY AND EXCITED! Stay warn, and don’t let Joe over do the snow shoveling!
    Happy Happy Joy Joy! Tea with Susan in May!

    • sbranch says:

      Nothing inspires cooking more than a cold day! Love that you are shouting, feel free! 🙂 Joe is so funny, he was out last night way after dark, shoveling. The man loves weather! See you in New Hope dear Ro’se!

  59. Gail Buss says:

    Hi Susan. I love everything about Downton and my favoriteslast week were the bagpipes at wedding since I’m half Irish and half Scottish! Also have you seen this month’s Good Housekeeping Magazine? Well Anna is modeling some outfits in there. I was so surprised! I can’t wait for Sunday evening. What on earth will I do when it ends? I hope Julian Fellows next series is as good. Hope you are keeping warm with all the storms. Hugs, Gail

  60. Judy in Ohio says:

    Hi, Susan…Don’t know if you will receive this for awhile but just wanted
    to tell you I am thinking of you…and Joe and the furry family…and hoping
    all is well there (considering)…and that you are warm and still have electric!!

    Thoughts and prayers are with you, dear friend.

    Please take care.
    (Hopefully you are having a good adventure!!)


    • sbranch says:

      Everything is wonderful. I am just working most of the hours I’m awake, trying to meet the printer’s deadline. A “Must-do.” Thank you for your loving thoughts, this IS a great adventure, and I feel lucky to be on it. And, because of you and my Girlfriends, I don’t feel alone.

  61. debra sewell says:

    I dont have cable so cant watch till its out on DVD. But ill wait. I so love this series. The next one the writer has is going to soo good too. Once they have a deluxe set ill buy it on Amazon. Yay

  62. marty from New York City says:

    Just read your tweet! MOVIE RIGHTS! Be still everyone’s pounding heart.You make so many people’s day that much brighter, sharing your joy of life and determination with a larger audience should be someone’s “No-Brainer”

    Please , please though, Be sure that your blog continues forever-your unique talent of description and your willingness to share the joy of things-large and small as well as the painful and personal struggles it sometimes takes to move along in this world means so much to so many of us.

    Best of luck if you get to what will probably be a tough negotiation . I am reminded of the PBS’ “As Time Goes By ” episodes when book rights were sold. Rueful and Hilarious.

    You and Joe should soar like the eagles-we love you and will do our best to keep the wind beneath your wings. Marty

    • sbranch says:

      I should go back and look at those episodes! I haven’t had much experience in this! Thank you so much Marty! Love hearing from you!

  63. Judy Adair says:

    On another subject this came out about Beatrix Potter. A story found that she had written and a modern artist asked to illustrate it will be out soon.

    I love your blog and the thoughts and comments on Downton Abbey. I am eating up every word. I get a kick out of your thoughts. Happy Day!

    • sbranch says:

      Won’t that be fun? I imagine her publishers have been wishing they had something new for a very long time. What a find! Thank you Judy, same to you!

  64. Kathy Phenix says:

    Breaking News!! Have you heard, they found a long lost final story by Beatrix Potter? It’s called Kittie in Boots and will be illustrated by the illustrator for Roald Dahl books. It’s set for publication in Sept 2016. At this time merchandising is not planned but the publishers are open to a movie or TV. I immediately thought of you when I read this on Goodreads. Happy days.

  65. Rhonda Cooper says:

    Oh Happy Day! You’re coming to New Hope – I can’t wait. I go there all the time, over the river from NJ – lovely town if you’ve never been there, great restaurants, gorgeous old homes and B&B’s. Five minutes from the library is Rice’s Market which is open on Tuesdays. Old farmer/antique/and new items flea market. Bucks County is antique heaven. Your kind of place, I think.

    Now, Downton Abbey. I have a bit more hope for the new possible love interest in Mary’s life and only because he played the main character in the movie “Leap Year” opposite Amy Adams. He was the one who drove her all over once she got to Ireland.
    All of which mean zip if you didn’t see it and of course, that character has nothing to do with Downton’s now, either! It’s easy to get caught up in your blog-logic 🙂 and fun, definitely that, too.

    Rhonda C.

    • sbranch says:

      We’ve never been there! This is what I love about going cross-country! OH! I did like him in Leap Year A LOT. I love that you see logic in the blog! Yes!

  66. Vita says:

    Hi Susan,
    I loved the blog today, as always, and I just wanted you to know that you have inspired me to start painting again!! I am going to take a water color class! Thanks for being you!! Vita

  67. Patricia Boehm says:

    Dear Susan, I’m almost finished reading your book “A Fine Romance”. I borrowed it from our library as I heard so much about it. I cannot even begin to tell you how much I love it. The story itself, wonderful drawings/colors, pictures of the English countryside is like a fairytale in which one can easily get lost in. What makes the book so unique too is that the story is all handwritten by you which makes me feel as if you wrote it “just for me”. This book is a once in a lifetime find for me at the age of 73. The book will go back to the library but your book will now be in my personal library as I will purchase it so I can read it over and over again. Thank you so much for taking the time to present the book in the manner in which you did. I appreciate all the hard work put into it.

    • sbranch says:

      That is so nice to hear Patricia, I’m so happy you like it . . . I enjoyed every moment of making it happen. I truly fell in love with the English Countryside! It really is a fairytale. xoxo

  68. Jean says:

    My favorite line was Mary saying “I couldn’t be less interested in cars if I took a pill to achieve it.” She has her Granny’s quick wit.

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