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Longbourn Paperback – June 17, 2014
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From Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
Where PRIDE AND PREJUDICE left the Bennet servants as faceless ciphers, in LONGBOURN they are the central characters. There are Mr and Mrs Hill, butler and cook; teenage maid Polly; and the heroine, Sarah. To this small, thinly-stretched team is added James Smith, the new footman. At first Sarah is suspicious of James, whose arrival in the household was the subject of a mysterious argument between Mrs Hill and Mr Bennet. As suspicion hardens into dislike, Sarah finds herself drawn toward the charming footman at neighboring Netherfield, who is also the first black man Sarah has ever seen. As she learns more about these two strange and fascinating arrivals, Sarah takes steps that will change her life forever.
The true subject of LONGBOURN is not, however, Sarah's romantic life, which mirrors Elizabeth's from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE and is equally predictable.Read more ›
Pride and Prejudice has always been a favourite story of mine. And I often wonder, daydream and imagine what life was like for Lizzy and Darcy. But I had also wondered what life would have been like for the servants of that household.
I can't imagine dealing with Mrs Bennett on a daily basis, both publicly and intimately (shudder at the thought) being a simple, easy task to undertake.
I was sucked-into Jo Baker's story within the first minute of starting the book. Immediately I liked and cared for the servants and I felt for them as they got along and completed their daily tasks(that turn my stomach and make me thankful that I live in this century!).
I found myself crossing my fingers and holding my breath that servant and gentry alike got to live Happily Ever After.
Jo Baker showed respect and attention to detail in incorporating her voice and imagination into the back-story of Jane Austen's masterpiece.
I have not read any other works by Jo Baker yet, but I intend to now asap.
From "March" (based on "Little Women" from the POV of the father) to "The Wide Sargasso Sea" (based on "Jane Eyre" from the POV of the mad wife), I'm totally over it. Why? Because I find the authors lazy. They reap benefits they haven't earned, piggybacking on emotions and effects the original author had to sweat to produce. Also, they insert modern attitudes that distort the intentions of the original work. And publishers encourage it because, as with producing the sequel to a Hollywood blockbuster, they can hitch a ride with a proven winner. (BTW, I don't have the same opinion about fan fiction, which to me is based on love, not commerce.)
So you may wonder why, feeling this way, I read "Longbourn." Well, Jane Austen's six books can only be re-read so often. And to its credit, "Longbourn" begins auspiciously. Jo Baker's descriptive powers are exceptional. The reader feels the stiff chapped hands, the dreary cold dawns, the endless, backbreaking drudgery endured by our protagonist Sarah, and by Mrs. Hill and little Polly. There is careful, fascinating detail here about domestic life in the early 19th century. To me, it's the strongest element of the book, and the first third shines because of it.
But for me, the plotting falls apart. Two equally unlikely love interests appear for Sarah, one an ex-slave, the other a mysterious stable boy. Sarah falls predictably in love with one of them, and then loses him due to the evil machinations of the wicked Wickham. The book veers into heart-rending depictions of war in Spain (again, very well-written, yet strangely out of place in this narrative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is ridiculous. It attempts to build on the success and universal dedication to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Read morePublished 5 days ago by L. Todd
Though an interesting tale of a servant's life, this book takes the well known characters from Pride and Prejudice and contorts them into lesser beings. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Grit Lit
If you loved Pride and Prejudice, you will devour this book. It takes you back through the story of the Bennett sisters from behind the scenes. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Joan C. Curtis
I absolutely loved this book! It's made me see Pride and Prejudice in a new light which I'm not entirely sure is a good thing, but I cannot unread this book, so nothing to be done... Read morePublished 9 days ago by Kindle Customer
The book was great; however, the pacing towards the end was extremely rushed. I would definitely recommend to friends for years to come.Published 13 days ago by Daniel j. Boyer
I really, really wanted to love this book. This book's greatest issue about the Bennett's servants is that, well, they're servants. Read morePublished 15 days ago by fruitloop
Borrowing off of Jane Austen's success, this author didn't need to be so lazy. This story could have been told without piggybacking on Pride and Prejudice. Read morePublished 21 days ago by JB knows
Pride & Prejudice has been one of my favorite stories for many years, and upon learning about Longbourn, I could not resist reading this extension of the Bennet family's story. Read morePublished 23 days ago by Amazon Customer