Author: Jo Baker
Publish Date: October 8, 2013
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the
servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her
days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the
chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much
romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is
upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of
the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably,
Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of
Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern
housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily
particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the
Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully
realized world that is wholly her own. "
My Two Cents:
Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" is the "upstairs" side of the
story, then "Longbourn" is the "downstairs" side of the story.
"Longbourn" is the story of the servants of the Bennett family. This
book is definitely a treat for those that are "Pride and Prejudice" fans
like I am. It is helpful to have read "Pride and Prejudice" prior to
reading this book as there is not really a re-hash of what happened in
that book and you may be a little lost.
This book covers both
the servants' lives prior to the start of "Pride and Prejudice" and
after the first book ends. We get to know these characters, who were
largely unknown to us in Austen's original. Some of them barely appeared
and some didn't have names. Baker takes these characters and shows us
their hopes, fears, and loves. I loved reading about these characters.
You get a taste of the familiar story from "Pride and Prejudice" mixed
with a brand new story. In the Author's Note, Baker mentions how closely
she looked at "Pride and Prejudice" to inform "Longbourn." She even
made it so meals line up between the two books. This attention to detail
makes this book really a treat.
I really liked the character of
Sarah. As Elizabeth is falling for her Mr. Darcy, Sarah is falling in
love herself. It was so interesting to see the juxtaposition between
Elizabeth's romance and Sarah's romance with a freed slave.