I admit, the story was a bit rushed. I don't know the original book, but maybe a two-part treatment would have been better. The beginning does start off at a good pace, but then suddenly everything seems to happen in a short space of time. I am thinking of reading it. The book is The Making of a Marchioness, but the movie itself is more about the sequel, The Methods of Lady Walderhurst, and they were written by Frances Hodgson Burnett.
I have seen it compared to ITV's other period piece, Downton Abbey, but the comparison is completely wrong. While both have beautiful pictures, excellent costumes, and happen when women still wore long skirts, the similarities stop there. This is a TV movie, that is a long series. This is somewhat Gothic in feel, and centres around one woman, that has the character list that could be the length of one of my old school headmistresses' speeches (she was known for speaking for hours).
I thought the acting was done superbly. The main character, Emily, is played by Lydia Wilson, and she shows the required amount of gentle intelligence and slight naiveté that is required for the story. The other characters are sufficiently creepy, helped along by the equally creepy music.
I am going to read the book, and I'm sure the movie will wet other people's appetites as well. Partly because it feels like there should be more of the story.