Downton Abbey Downton Abbey

New York Times best-selling author Teresa Medeiros has written more than 20 novels, including Goodnight Tweetheart and her latest historical romance, The Pleasure of Your Kiss, out now. Here she writes about what makes the PBS hit Downton Abbey so downright irresistible:

There are two words that send romance authors into spasms of rapture: Downton Abbey. Because of its glorious costumes and smattering of history, we like to pretend watching it is an intellectual exercise. But the truth is that Downton is a soap opera in the grandest tradition of the genre. We've all but abandoned soaps in our own culture. I lost my beloved Guiding Light in 2009 and One Life to Live was just the latest casualty to fall beneath the programming axes. We may have lost Erica Kane forever but thanks to Downton, we can now agonize over Mary and Matthew's thwarted passion and sigh with tender yearning as Anna the maid pines for her noble valet Bates.

The show has even managed to turn muddy, miserable World War I into the trendiest conflict since the Moldavian massacre on Dynasty. And could there be anything more delicious than booing the nefarious doings of ladies' maid O'Brien and her sneering minion, Thomas the Evil Footman? The show has even mastered a staple of the classic soap — cliff-hangers that keep us panting breathlessly for the next week's installment.

Others may prefer mindless entertainment but on Sunday nights, you'll find me parked right in front of my television, munching popcorn and improving my intellect by watching Masterpiece Classic.

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-Teresa Medeiros