Longbourn

Longbourn

Book - 2013
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The servants in the Bennet household live their lives in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars. A retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and prejudice from the servants' perspective.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada, 2013
ISBN: 9780345813602
034581360X
Characteristics: 331 p
Additional Contributors: Austen, Jane 1775-1817

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SPPL_Anna Mar 22, 2018

I found this more compelling than Pride and Prejudice. Very good.

j
Jillbookgirl
Mar 18, 2018

I will never read Austen the same way. A beautiful story full of heartbreak, adventure, and love.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 14, 2018

Fascinating and deeply engaging story of a housemaid in Jane Austen's Bennet household. Austen is a tough act to follow. That this book has been chosen as a best of the year says something!

j
JackieStuts
Jan 23, 2018

Perfect in every way. I still find myself wondering what the characters would be doing if the author had continued writing. These people were so important to the operation of Longbourn. It was delightful to discover the intimate details of their lives.

s
SRZ37
Nov 20, 2017

Either you "dig" Jane Austen and her Georgian times or you don't, as the other comments clearly show, but I truly love this book. It's "Pride and Prejudice" turned inside out and upside down. The entailed Bennets, not as rich as they'd like to be and try to appear to be, are shown as silly, shallow and insensitive to the lifetime plight of their servants. The heroine's story is heart-breaking as she manages to find happiness through a lot of pain. Darcy and Bingley, so romantic in Austen's novel, are dumb-show giants, who appear in doorways and tramp through the house, creating more work for the beleaguered servants. The story of the relationship of Mrs. Hill and Mr. Bennet is sensitively told. And, like all Austen books, it has a satisfactory ending!

l
lostintheshelves
Sep 21, 2017

This is one of very few perfect novels I have read. It answers the question I always had about those Jane Austen novels where women need to marry for money--what about the actual flesh and blood women who worked for a living?--but the truth is that the characters, especially Sarah, became so fully realized in my head I forgot about the point being made and was entirely sucked into their world. (I listened to the audiobook while driving, and after a while I couldn't wait to get back to the car and be immersed in another world.) I suppose it might not be for those who only want the pretty parts of Jane Austen, but I come from people who did manual labor, and I loved seeing a woman with all the limitations of that life get to be the center of the story. This book stands on its own, but for those who care, the way Baker meshes her plot with Pride and Prejudice (and builds entire plot arcs on Austen's few throwaway lines about the servants) is brilliant.

w
weezie1
Sep 21, 2017

Just could not get into this novel. I found the first few chapters boring and did not inspire me at all. Returned Sept 2017

Uninspired writing. Poorly crafted story line with the 'James' war story' interrupting the flow of the downstairs drama and unrealistic, overly simplified characters. Did she need to waste so much space on Sarah's chilblains. I appreciated the barrier author created between those well known upstairs Austen characters and the invisible downstairs. But she took a good idea and turned it into a tedious story.

u
uncommonreader
Mar 09, 2017

A quite charming imagining of downstairs, the real people inhabiting "Pride and Prejudice".

m
martha_w
Jan 11, 2017

If you are like me, and when reading Jane Austen often roll your eyes at the fact that her ostensibly financially strapped characters still have a house full of servants, this book is for you. It was fascinating to read the events of Pride & Prejudice from the servants' point of view, and it really illuminated the fact that being "poor" by the standard of members of the gentry, like the Bennets, still looks pretty luxurious to someone who spends sixteen hours a day ensuring that those people get to live a life of leisure. Baker's attention to detail is astonishing -- this book was clearly excellently researched -- and the romantic subplot between two of the servants keeps readers turning pages to find out whether, like Lizzy and Jane, Sarah the housemaid will also get her happy ending.

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LibrarySquare Feb 03, 2016

Did you love Pride and Prejudice? Well, you will enjoy the flip side of the story from the viewpoint of the scullery maids, the coachman, and other servants at Longbourn. You`ll get to view of what the servants think about the main characters and events in Pride and Prejudice. There is intrigue, romance and laughter between the pages of this 19th century title set in a Great Britain`s upper class country estate. Readers will learn about the customs and social life of all classes even though the focus is on "below stairs help" life. With a handsome new coachman's arrival, all the help is atwitter about where he's from. A few scandals with the infantry and a persons mysterious disappearance add suspense to this romantic story.

e
easyread3
Jul 07, 2015

A well-written and thoroughly enjoyable book about the "downstairs" lives of servants living in Regency England.

siammarino Aug 05, 2014

This is another historical novel set in the English countryside in the late 1700's. I liked it because it is told from the servant's point of view. Author Jo Baker gives a very candid account of their daily toil, and the idiocy of war. The protagonist, Sarah, falls in love with a manservant who inexplicably leaves one day. Their story propels the novel on. Fans of Downtown Abbey and Charlotte Bronte will like this one.

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easyread3
Jul 07, 2015

"It does not matter what I think of you, it does not matter in the least."

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