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Longbourn Hardcover – Deckle Edge, October 8, 2013
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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
I love the downstairs side of the story for this period in history. This book put me in that place in time.Published 3 days ago by Teresa Holbrook
Good storyline by really drags on... There are not enough captivating moments in the book. It does pick up towards the end.Published 10 days ago by Akalisz
Fantastic idea, Pride and Prjudice seen from below stairs. But the storyline is frail and to
make things more interesting, the main character is pictured as a woman of all... Read more
For those of us who love Pride and Prejudice, this book is a delight. It also addresses some of the issues that critics have, for decades, criticized Jane Austen: class and... Read morePublished 21 days ago by LZ000
My daughter and I started watching Pride and Prejudice, the BBC version, when she still in elementary school. We loved it so much, we bought the book and read it over a summer. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Ammie ODonnell
Good story...,,many details about the real life of the people downstairsPublished 26 days ago by Paula rees
A wonderfully written story which tells the tale of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice from the servant's point of view. Highly recommend!Published 1 month ago by Serejoro
This book is Downton Abbey meets Pride and Prejudice. I liked that the author used bits from Austen's work and had quotes heading each chapter to give reference.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer