Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Longbourn - Jo Baker

If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.

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, upended.

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 thoughts:
This was a nice re-telling as it dealt with the servants at Longbourn. Yes things are going on upstairs, but they got their own issues downstairs.

We have of course Mrs and Mr Hill. Going on with their daily life of chores and something later on that I shall not talk about.

We have the maid Sarah who wishes Elizabeth would not walk through muddy fields when it's Sarah who has to spend a day trying to clean that damn petticoat. Sarah who catches the eye of a Netherfield servant.

Then there is Polly the younger maid, and James, the mysterious new servant who shows up. But who is he? I liked his story, it worked.

While the Bennets deal with heartbreak and balls, the servants clean after them. It also gave a portrait of Wickham that made sense, he is not a good man. But to my surprise I actually kind of kind of liked Mr Collins, he was nice. That too made sense.

Conclusion:
Dirty linens, making food, blasted petticoats, running to Meryton to deliver letters. it's another world for the downstairs folk. And it makes it into a great re-telling. It's their story, not the Bennets.

Cover
Nice
 
 
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Knopf
Historical fiction / Pride and Prejudice variation
Library


42 comments:

  1. Is it Friday yet? No? How about now? ;)

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  2. I think this would be something I would enjoy. I feel a Historical Fiction kick coming on :)

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  3. I like the upstairs/downstairs drama, very Downton Abbey!

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  4. Sounds good. I'll have to look for this one.

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  5. Any book having to do with the Bennet family is one I want to read!

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  6. I have yet to like a single retelling, but this sounds like one I might enjoy. :)

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    1. Oh tricky then, but still, you can always get it from the library

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  7. I really like that cover, simple and catching. I'm a huge fan of retellings and I'll have to get my hands on this one! Great review :)

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    1. Then you have to try it :D I have been on a re-telling high lately

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  8. I remember seeing this somewhere and I was tempted to read it.

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  9. Ooo Linda this would be one I would enjoy!

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  10. Ooh, I like that this focuses on the downstairs folks!

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  11. Looking good. Seems like all your reads are just fab. So jealous.

    :-D

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    1. I would not say that, August has been a very bad month too

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  12. Ooh i've been wanting to read this, glad you enjoyed it! I can't imagine liking Mr. Collins but I'm happy to be swayed. :-)

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    1. Haha, well like and like. I understood him

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  13. Oh that sounds like it could be a good time. I've not read a re-telling of this recently that I can remember.

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  14. I am so glad someone wrote this book! I always wonder about the poor secondary characters - especially the people taking care of the main characters. Good find!!

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    1. It was so fun reading it, do read it too :D

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  15. I've had this from the library for a good 6 weeks. I don't know why I keep failing to pick it up. You're inspiring me to get on it!

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  16. I've had my eye on this one as I do enjoy a good retelling.

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  17. I really liked Pride and Prejudice, and there are many retellings out there. But this seems like so much more fun! The servants are the really gossips ;)

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  18. I admit that I found this one pretty boring, actually. Maybe because I did it as an audiobook.

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    1. Honestly cos of the way it was written I can imagine an audio would be like you said very dull

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  19. You've made me curious about this one. I can't imagine ever liking Mr. Collins!

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    1. He had good sides, ugh, that I just said that

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