(READ BOOK) à Longbourn House â eBook or E-pub free

Hoo, boy.Where do I start Actually, that s easy Any review of Longbourn should feature this warning right at the top If you are an Austen purist, this book will give you a stroke and a heart attack and possibly cancer So there s that.Oh, also Any novel written by a non servant is apparently required by law to feature at least one passage in which a character who is a servant will ponder life as a person of leisure and decide, Naw Overrated Yeah THAT happened.I wanted to adore this book Hoo, boy.Where do I start Actually, that s easy Any review of Longbourn should feature this warning right at the top If you are an Austen purist, this book will give you a stroke and a heart attack and possibly cancer So there s that.Oh, also Any novel written by a non servant is apparently required by law to feature at least one passage in which a character who is a servant will ponder life as a person of leisure and decide, Naw Overrated Yeah THAT happened.I wanted to adore this book because I m tired of people talking about how lovely life was in the Regency No, it wasn t Not even if you were rich, although that was miles better than being poor Even if you were rich, there was no plumbing, very little in the way of social mobility, and nothing remotely resembling a maxi pad, let alone a tampon Not even, in spite of what the author of Longbourn says, any napkins Where would you put one There wasn t anything in the way of underwear as we know it See Susanne Alleyn s awesome Medieval Underpants and Other Blunders for convincing evidence of that There was no reliable birth control, and no quick and easy food for those nights when you just don t feel like cooking Women spent all day preparing or looking after the work of food preparation, and routinely wrote their wills when they became pregnant.There were no no fault divorces, and very few he s TOTALLY at fault divorces even if your husband was an adulterous batterer And I m saving the worst for last here there was NO CHOCOLATE Okay, there was a drink called chocolate, but it was outrageously expensive and it wasn t sweet.I love Austen s novels, but I have no illusions about the era in which she lived and wrote I worked as a live in domestic myself, and I m constantly thinking about the servants who made those leisured lives possible.So I was excited to read Longbourn, a retelling of Pride Prejudice from the vantage point of one of the Bennet s housemaids I was sold when I read the pull quote every review featured If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she d most likely be a sightcareful with them Perfect Think about that the next time you read the scene in PP where Lizzy shows up at Bingley s house with her petticoat three inches deep in mud.I admire Jo Baker s determination to show the story from a different angle Her premise is solid, her prose beautiful.So why am I so put out by this book Partly because it s a bummer from beginning to end It s Les Miserables without the funny musical numbers I think it s just as dehumanizing to servants to assume their lives are endless misery as it is to ignore them Yes, this book has a happy ending, technically But it starts out bleak, it continues dire, and it crosses the finish line with a vague So that turned out okay, I guess Speaking of bleak Anyone who s read Bleak House will probably not find the surprise middle of Longbourn particularly surprising Many who have read PP will find aspects of it offensive Jo Baker takes a lot of liberties with PP I never thought of myself as a purist, but this bothered me For instance, she insists on following the heavily trod trodden trode whatever path of Mary Bennet being infatuated with Mr Collins Know what it says in the book about that Mary might have been prevailed on to accept him She rated his abilities much higher than any of the others there was a solidity in his reflections which often struck her, and though by no means so clever as herself, she thought that if encouraged to read and improve himself by such an example as her s sic , he might become a very agreeable companion She thinks he s a fixer upper, my husband commented when I read this to him But everybody movie makers, Austen sequel writers somehow turns this into Mary adoring Mr Collins from afar and longing to have him as her own And of course Baker follows suit.She also features quotations from PP at the beginning of every chapter Except in the flashback section, where they wouldn t make sense Except I don t think they make sense anywhere What are they supposed to be Messages from God Anyway Back to the liberties Mary s in love Mr Collins is a really nice guy, not at all pompous or judgmental Mr Bennet has a lot of lines, and one of them is cuttingly sarcastic One Are you ishing me Speaking of ish Baker talks about it a lot By name It is, apparently, everywhere in Regency England You couldn t open your carriage door without smacking into a load of ish I m surprised the publisher didn t offer a special scratch and sniff edition of Longbourn, just to get the point across Point being Wow, you guys, was there a lot of manure in the bad old days.You know what there wasn t The kind of 21st century thinking Baker gives her miserable underclass characters The line about how Miss Bennet could be a littlecareful of her things was perfect But there s no way a teenaged maidservant in the eighteenth century was thinking, Really no one should have to deal with another person s dirty linen Really This little revolutionary decided all on her own not that laundry day sucks a sentiment that holds true to this very day but that all people should have the doing of their own underthings Similarly, Mrs Hill the housekeeper is often burdened by Mrs Bennet s emotional demands Mrs Hill has quite enough work to do to fill her day already without having to offer a shoulder to cry on just when the bread is rising That works I love that.This very Mrs Hill overworked, miserable, a character who seems to exist only to be taken advantage of is the one who decides near the end of the book that, really, there s not much difference between living as a servant and being a genteel lady The end was all the same I mentioned this is a happy book, right The writing is very, very good The author has clearly done her research, and it shows without seeming show offy.But in the end, this book was just A Bummer Reposted from my review at AustenBlog The publication of Jo Baker s new novel Longbourn generated the same sort of excitement as the arrival of a single gentleman of good fortune It has been described as being a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey When we heard this premise, we were all admiration What a brilliant idea Two of the most wildly popular and well known popular culture properties now together It might be the greatest idea since some genius combined chocolate and Reposted from my review at AustenBlog The publication of Jo Baker s new novel Longbourn generated the same sort of excitement as the arrival of a single gentleman of good fortune It has been described as being a cross between Pride and Prejudice and Downton Abbey When we heard this premise, we were all admiration What a brilliant idea Two of the most wildly popular and well known popular culture properties now together It might be the greatest idea since some genius combined chocolate and peanut butter The Commercial Publishing Industrial Complex has predictably lost its mind over it frankly, we are astonished that its publication did not rip open the fabric of the universe, creating a giant black hole that sucked us all into it.While this soundbyte selling point makes it simple for publishers and booksellers, we think it has done the authoress a disservice We think Ms Baker was shooting for something less mercenary andambitious the Wide Sargasso Sea of the Jane Austen oeuvre by which we mean a paraliterature title that strives for literary achievement as well as, or perhaps eventhan, popularity We have long wondered why no one has written such a novel Sadly, Longbourn did not work for us, either as ambitious literary fiction or as a PP Downton mashup There is nothing of the elegance of Downton Abbey, and a Pride and Prejudice that we do not recognize.The story takes place almost entirely belowstairs at Longbourn, domain of the long suffering Mrs Hill the butler, Mr Hill the two maidservants, Sarah and Polly and the footman, James The foreground story is their melodramas and heartbreak and there is a lot of both , while the familiar story of Pride and Prejudice unfolds in the background like a dimly heard radio play Sarah is pretty much the main character She is fascinated with one of Bingley s manservants, a freed slave who impresses her with his sophistication and tells her stories of London Sarah finds James annoying, and she is convinced he is a Bad Man who will cause trouble and wait a minute, haven t we read this story before The link to Pride and Prejudice seems tenuous to us, other than perhaps the romantic triangle The Bennets could affordthan two maidservants, and it s silly to say otherwise The Bateses in Emma could afford to employ a maidservant surely the Bennets could employthan two If Ms Baker truly wanted to tell the story of the servants of Pride and Prejudice and link it to the wildly popular Downton Abbey it would have been better to give the Bennets a fuller complement of servants If she wanted to write about overworked servants in Austen s time, don t give them to the Bennets Why not the Lucases, for instance They are certainly involved in the main story or perhaps another neighbor If the idea really was that marketable mashup, it would have equal commercial potential marketed as a servant s story in Jane Austen s time, set in the world of her novels.We are probably not the audience for this, being on record as unappreciative of Gritty Realism We acknowledge that it existed in that time, and we acknowledge that it is present in Austen s novels if one looks for it but Austen s pen famously did not dwell on guilt and misery, and the darker aspects of her world are sketched in lightly, shadowing the background upon which her characters are drawn Ms Baker seems to be determined to inform the reader that life in that time at least for the servant class was dark, dingy, dangerous, unpleasant, painful and there is nothing wrong with that, but if some information is enlightening, then too much becomes a blunt object concussing the reader One is sometimes truly stunned by the imagery for instance, militia officers converge on the Phillips house like lice on a beggar s head We struggled through this book, constantly pulled out of it by this determination to dunk Austen s work in a literary mud puddle It seems to us a subversion of Pride and Prejudice, not a celebration of it No doubt that is purposeful, but it does not interest us and marketing it to Austen fans seems disingenuous There seems to be a determination to make us think ill of Austen s characters for committing the sin of making work for the servants If the somewhat sanitized version of Georgian Regency England portrayed in many Austen film adaptations is overly romantic, wallowing in filth, poverty, and misery has a romance of its own that is equally dangerous.We still like the idea of a PP Downton mashup, but we would have preferred something different a properly big cast of servants and a jolly, rollicking tale of belowstairs hijinks There would be work hard work, sometimes dirty work, and all the squalid details of bodily fluids could have been worked in if absolutely necessary butimportantly, it would have been fun, and the companion piece that Austen s light, bright, and sparkling masterpiece deserved Longbourn is ambitious and beautifully written we wish we could like it, but we cannot Unfortunately I found this to be a stuffy contemporary literary novel in historical clothing, with none of the brio of Austen s own style and little insight to contribute about the characters or story of Pride and Prejudice.There s not much logic in how the plot of this book fits in with the above stairs developments of Pride and Prejudice The action of Longbourn doesn t consist of previously unseen repercussions of those familiar events, nor does it posit any new motives or influences that pro Unfortunately I found this to be a stuffy contemporary literary novel in historical clothing, with none of the brio of Austen s own style and little insight to contribute about the characters or story of Pride and Prejudice.There s not much logic in how the plot of this book fits in with the above stairs developments of Pride and Prejudice The action of Longbourn doesn t consist of previously unseen repercussions of those familiar events, nor does it posit any new motives or influences that provide alternate explanations for them At times, it feels as though Baker s characters are waiting for something to happen in PP, which only makes sense if you see the plot of PP as necessary or guaranteed which you can t, because the characters in that book are frequently surprised by news, choices, and revelations of the past Wickham appears here as a scoundrel, which we already knew, and the author seems very pleased with her insight that Mr Collins and Mary would have made a good match something that I think every reader of PP perceives and a luscious bit of permanently unresolved dramatic irony on Austen s part Baker adds backstory for a few major characters that can t feel consequential because it s entirely unmanifested in PP Unlike Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead which you could superficially say interacts with Hamlet the same way this wants to with PP, this book doesn t provide us with any cleverly interlocking alternate explanations, new plot twists, thematic extension, or characterization.Baker tries too hard to convince us of her commitment to gritty historical realism her frequent mentions of chamberpots, menstruation, mud, etc are cloying and to me seem to lack historical logic Would someone of that period spend so much time thinking about the dirtier aspects of existence, or would they view them as given, as background I d much rather read something that also acknowledges the beauty of historical times, like, for example, the passage in Doomsday Book about the snowy medieval Christmas Notably, Doomsday Book has plenty of gross scenes the point is that it has both, whereas this book perhaps unconsciously betrays a modern viewpoint by dealing mostly in grime and unpleasantness Similarly, there are moments where the protagonist, Sarah, acts in bold or independent ways that seem implausible for a character of her station in that period and unjustified by her personality They seem like things a modern young woman would do, so they only work if you are putting yourself into the story in her shoes.I ve complained a lot about this novel s relationship to PP Can it be considered successful as a freestanding novel Yes, somewhat, it s just that then it is a novel in a genre that I almost never enjoy Several reviewers have said that Baker writes like Austen, which I don t think is remotely true Austen wrote a brisk drama comedy of manners this is a ponderous romance Austen was matter of fact and sometimes pert this is self serious and tries to assign mystic import to even prosaic life events Austen requires you to read between the lines of straightforward seeming dialogue and descriptions to discover a character s motives or mindset Baker writes paragraph long descriptions of roadside foliage that are a single sentence Austen dealt in interpersonal relationships and power imbalances Baker is keen on totemic objects like James s collection of seashells.The plot didn t work for me on its own there were several key moments of this book where something was revealed with great pomp and circumstance that I d figured out long before, and I honestly couldn t figure out whether Baker meant the scenes as actual plot twists or satisfying resolutions of what the reader had begun to suspect I found Sarah likable, but there was something so soft focus and arbitrary about her relationship with James that I didn t care much about them.Obviously I considered this novel thought provoking enough to finish, but I didn t find it a success Read it if you like current woman oriented literary fiction skip it if you like Austen s wit Review copy received from Edelweiss. You ll think that I m being silly and hyperbolic when I say books like this are the purpose that historical fiction is meant to serve but I mean it very sincerely Don t pick this book up wanting to swoon over Elizabeth and Darcy, or expecting the narrative focus to be on the story Austen told in P P It s not about that It s about giving voice to the voiceless, fleshing out the ghosts that would otherwise fade and be shred to pieces before the onslaught of time Blue coat, black horse that wa You ll think that I m being silly and hyperbolic when I say books like this are the purpose that historical fiction is meant to serve but I mean it very sincerely Don t pick this book up wanting to swoon over Elizabeth and Darcy, or expecting the narrative focus to be on the story Austen told in PP It s not about that It s about giving voice to the voiceless, fleshing out the ghosts that would otherwise fade and be shred to pieces before the onslaught of time Blue coat, black horse that was Mr Bingley The great tall fellow in the green was Mr Darcy again They clipped past the orchard, in profile and oblivious to the housemaids Sarah felt herself fade She could see the leaves and branches through her hand the sun shone straight through her skin.And now I can t wait to go back through PP and ferret out all the glimpses of Sarah and her ilk from which Jo Baker spun this tale Longbourn is simply tremendous It s the world of Austen made real, Austen in context, with all the mud and blood and shit that comes with that And it s so deep and beautiful and heart stoppingly real that I m in awe I didn t expect to feel so strongly about Longbourn when I first picked it up but it s far and away one of the best books I ve read in the past year Highly recommended I read five chapters and then I admitted defeat I threw up my arms through a sea of frothy pink fluff and pushed it aside and emerged, if not a better person, then at least a relieved one with one less cloud in my world.To be fair, I m not the audience for any kind of romance except perhaps classics But I am fascinated with Jane Austen and having recently read A.A Milne s superlative stage play Miss Elizabeth Bennet, I felt I would like to readbooks directly descended from Pride and Pre I read five chapters and then I admitted defeat I threw up my arms through a sea of frothy pink fluff and pushed it aside and emerged, if not a better person, then at least a relieved one with one less cloud in my world.To be fair, I m not the audience for any kind of romance except perhaps classics But I am fascinated with Jane Austen and having recently read A.A Milne s superlative stage play Miss Elizabeth Bennet, I felt I would like to readbooks directly descended from Pride and Prejudice After Colin Firth is it possible to have too much Darcy Is it possible to have too much chocolate Is it possible to have too much candy floss Yes, to the last, sadly it is And was DNF.A note on the writing It wasn t Jane Austen It wasn t A.A Milne It wasn t bad in any way But it was perfectly one note, shallow, clear and descriptive and left me in no doubt that what I saw was what I got That s all Maybe this is par for the genre If you enjoy period romances, then you might love the book, this review is my impression and not one that should influence you in any way Jane Austen meets Downton Abbey is the crude shorthand, but this novel is so muchI hardly dare say it Janeites are a fearsome bunch such talk could get me lynched Could this be better than the original Pride and Prejudice, that is Perhaps better is not the right word, but fuller Baker s is a fully convincing and unbiased vision of early nineteenth century English life, featuring multiple classes and races and it doesn t airbrush away unpleasant bodily realities Longbourn is for Jane Austen meets Downton Abbey is the crude shorthand, but this novel is so muchI hardly dare say it Janeites are a fearsome bunch such talk could get me lynched Could this be better than the original Pride and Prejudice, that is Perhaps better is not the right word, but fuller Baker s is a fully convincing and unbiased vision of early nineteenth century English life, featuring multiple classes and races and it doesn t airbrush away unpleasant bodily realities Longbourn is for the most part meticulously contemporaneous with the action of Pride and Prejudice A house the size of Longbourn was run by a small band of servants all Baker has done in the way of invention is to give faces and stories to those previously nameless below stairs characters expanded roles for Mr and Mrs Hill the latter both housekeeper and cook young maids Sarah and Polly and a new footman with murky origins, James Smith.Our protagonist, housemaid Sarah, is a feisty heroine from the lineage of both Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre indeed, the first line is particularly reminiscent of Jane Eyre There could be no wearing of clothes without their laundering Like Miss Eyre, Sarah is an eager orphan who turns to books for temporary escape from her troubles like Lizzie, she faces a similar choice between two very different suitors and again like Jane, she will set off on a fraught, solitary adventure to secure true love.Baker builds sympathy for her characters by shifting between third person limited perspectives usually that point of view will be one of the servants , as in Sarah s view of Jane Bennet She was as sweet, soothing and undemanding as a baked milk pudding But occasionally readers are privy to the thoughts of one of the Bennets themselves here is Mary, for example the distraction of those silly sisters If they could but think of higher things, of music, religion, good works, instead of officers For the most part, though, we are limited to knowing whatever the servants can overhear or imply The Bennets utter obliviousness to the reality of life for the lower classes is slyly juxtaposed with a growing awareness of the brutality of slavery Even on the second page Baker shows concern for those people of color omitted from Austen s world the sun would be shining on other places still, on the Barbadoes and Antigua and Jamaica where the dark men worked half naked, and on the Americas where the Indians wore almost no clothes at all Footman James is a committed abolitionist, with a copy of Wilberforce by his bedside, and Baker gives a significant role to a new black character, Ptolemy, the Bingleys footman who turns Sarah s head.Baker expertly mimics Austen s trademark use of free indirect speech and witticisms A prime example is when Sarah is sent out in the pouring rain to fetch decorations for the Bennet girls dancing shoes whereas the original text has the anonymous and passive the very shoe roses for Netherfield were got by proxy Sarah never has to open her mouth to issue this deliciously snide response The ladies could like the shoe roses or they could lump them Indeed, she would rather like it if they lumped them She rather looked forward to their having to lump them The epigraphs heading each chapter come directly from Pride and Prejudice, but I only found one line of word for word lifted dialogue in the main text eagle eyed Austenites, correct me if I am wrong, and let me know if you spot the same line I picked up on If you search the PP e book free here on Project Gutenberg , you ll be interested to learn that there are in fact allusions to a Longbourn footman and a serving Sarah, in chapters 7 and 55, respectively Where Longbourn diverges most noticeably from Pride and Prejudice is in its unflinching portrayal of the physical reality of early nineteenth century life chilblains, scars, lice, reeking chamber pots, animal slaughter, napkins soaked with menstrual blood, even underarm hair you mean the Bennet girls had hairy pits say it ain t soEven behind the fine appearances of the Netherfield ball guests, all Sarah can see is the same old freckles and wrinkles and bad breath and smallpox scars and limping goutHer envy puffed up into smoke and was gone on the wind Nonetheless, I don t think there s anything here that will upset Austen lovers, while there is plenty that should draw in new fans I think Longbourn might particularly appeal to those male readers who have previously professed that Austen isn t their cup of tea who are too jaded and knowing, or just too darn cool, for this chick stuff They will find that there is just the right level of earthiness here to root the romantic plot in reality Kudos to Jo Baker, and bon app tit to all you lucky readers who soon get to encounter this terrific novel for the first time A slightly expanded version of this review is at Bookkaholic The best word to describe this book is unpleasant It was a very unpleasant reading experience But I can and will bespecific First of all, technically, this is a Pride and Prejudice retelling from the point of view of the Longbourn servants Good idea, right I sure thought so And honestly, there are some very good things in here I was very interested in hearing what kind of daily tasks made the Bennett lifestyle possible There s also a few great parts where you really see how much th The best word to describe this book is unpleasant It was a very unpleasant reading experience But I can and will bespecific First of all, technically, this is a Pride and Prejudice retelling from the point of view of the Longbourn servants Good idea, right I sure thought so And honestly, there are some very good things in here I was very interested in hearing what kind of daily tasks made the Bennett lifestyle possible There s also a few great parts where you really see how much the servants care about each other But then First of all, there s a terrible sexual awakening subplot I m sorry, if I wanted to read a romance novel, I would read a romance novel Second, there s a really long flashback sequence about war, which has nothing to do with Pride and Prejudice at all If you want to write about the horrors of war, that s fine, but don t just say it s a Pride and Prejudice retelling to increase your audience That s cheap Third, for someone who says she loves Pride and Prejudice, the author sure spends a lot of time trying to convince readers that all of those beloved characters are d bags Seriously, the only one of the Bennett s who comes out looking OK in this book is Mary Of course, and I m sure this wasn t intentional, the main character, Sarah, is not a joy to read about either Stop whining, you whiner Fourth, the narrative is really all over the place One paragraph will be from Mrs Hill s POV, then suddenly we ll switch to Polly, then to James for a second, and back to Mrs Hill, then maybe one of the Bennet kids will have a say Get it together, author Finally, the love triangle is so ridiculous Tol is clearlyinteresting and fun, and the only reason that Sarah prefers James is to make the really stupid plot twist towards the endshocking meaningful.There you have it I did not enjoy this book, even though I fully expected to I m not sure why it s gotten such good reviews, but take it from me if you want a good servant story, stick with Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey Three and a Half Stars In the Author s Note at the end of Longbourn, Jo Baker writes, One final note in Pride and Prejudice the footman appears just once in the text, when he delivers a note to Jane page 31 of Volume One, in my Penguin Classics edition After that, he is never mentioned again Well, that is an undeniable fact But what are we to glean from this tidbit That Baker found her inspiration from this one tiny glimmer into the world behind the scenes That Austen was remiss in show Three and a Half Stars In the Author s Note at the end of Longbourn, Jo Baker writes, One final note in Pride and Prejudice the footman appears just once in the text, when he delivers a note to Jane page 31 of Volume One, in my Penguin Classics edition After that, he is never mentioned again Well, that is an undeniable fact But what are we to glean from this tidbit That Baker found her inspiration from this one tiny glimmer into the world behind the scenes That Austen was remiss in showing only the Upstairs of early nineteenth century English country life Much has been written about Jane Austen s omission of socio political context in her novels, but in the end we are left with the stories as she chose to tell them Full stop.In the same author s note, Jo Baker tells us she has interfered only so far as the give names to the unnamed the butler, footman, and the second housemaid There ensued a great spluttering of coffee, coughing, and general wiping up The plot itself depends upon interferences large and small Early on Mrs Hill, the Bennet s cook and housekeeper, enters Mr Bennet s library and closes the door A central twist of the story is predicated on a very mighty interference, indeed I m not convinced that anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice can accurately assess whether Longbourn could stand on its own, a story complete Well, for heaven s sake, of course it couldn t It wouldn t exist without Pride and Prejudice But that s not really what I mean I mean that it s built upon the backs of Austen s characters Little has to be done by way of introducing or maintaining this supporting cast, which is what the Bennet femmes et homme and their society neighbors are in this below stairs account of life at Longbourne We who know Elizabeth, Darcy and Wickham have already colored between those lines and need little in the way of further fleshing out For this first half of this novel, I said a resounding No There is no there here Longbourn although far from an Austen pastiche reads like a meticulously researched and lovingly crafted vignette of servant life in a middle class Regency home There seems to be little point beyond showing the difficulties and deprivations of a life in service and to point out that even in Georgian England, people pooped, masturbated and menstruated.Then the novel enters its stride Although I never lost the twitch of discomfort that Jo Baker was trying to make up for some absence of verisimilitude in the original, the characters begin to live on their own accord, as if the author herself snipped the ties constraining her to Pride and Prejudice It s somewhere around the time Wickham ventures into the kitchen to leer at Polly and we see each servant s response to his trespass that we fully, finally, enter the world of distinct, complete characters who haveto offer than chilblains and chamber pots Baker won me over, however, with Longbourn s enigmatic footman, James Smith She creates a haunting portrait of a soldier s experience during Napolean s Guerilla war in Spain and Portugal Equally moving, though much briefer, is a recounting of Mrs Hill s troubles at Longbourn in the era before she became Mrs Hill From these points forward, the characters above stairs becomethan ciphers and those below stairs develop backstories and backbones Jo Baker s writing, though at times heavy handed with the metaphors, is lovely She maintains a formal, dignified diction that feels just right for the period and place, without trying to emulate Austen s vivacity and wit She sprinkles in jarring vulgarities and peers inside chamber pots to let us know if they contain solids as well as liquids all of which seems a bit forced, as if she were trying too hard to distance herself from Austen gentility but the moments are brief and tolerable Longbourn is a very engaging and enjoyable read The quality of writing is such that I will seek out Jo Baker s other novels and look forward to her next, though I hope she is finished outfitting 19th century classics with 21st century hindsight (READ BOOK) ⛄ Longbourn House ë Sarah a servizio a Longbourn House da quando era bambina, ma non si ancora rassegnata a certi compiti ingrati quali lavare la biancheria e svuotare i pitali dei signori Questa pesante routine senza svaghi la opprime non vuole accontentarsi di mandare avanti la casa d altri come Mrs Hill, la governante, fa da sempre Perci , quando un giorno di settembre Mr Bennet assume a sorpresa un nuovo valletto, la gioia per la novit grande James ha il fisico asciutto e gli avambracci scuriti dal sole Lavora di buon u, fischiettando, ed gentile, ma d poca confidenza Sembra sapere tante cose, eppure sul suo passato stranamente vago Ama i cavalli e dorme nel solaio della stalla l , su una mensola, ha dei libri e, sotto il letto, una sacca scolorita piena di conchiglie un mondo intero quello che apre per Sarah, una nuova geografia di orridi, vallette in fiore e campi di battagliaIspirato al non detto di Orgoglio e pregiudizio, Longbourn House ricostruisce con tono brioso la vita della servit nell Inghilterra di inizio Ottocento, facendo emergere tra le righe la fatica e le disuguaglianze su cui si reggeva il bel mondo All interno di questo affresco storico, che oltre alla campagna dell Hertfordshire include la Spagna sconvolta dalle guerre napoleoniche e i porti commerciali sull altra sponda dell Atlantico, Jo Baker dona pensieri ed emozioni autentici alle ombre che nel celebre romanzo di Jane Austen si limitavano a passare sullo sfondo rapide e silenziose I adore Jane Austen, and I was dreading reading this take on Pride Prejudice from the servants point of view I thought it was a crass cash grab on Baker s part, and that I d spend the entire novel longing to reread P P I couldn t have beenwrong I got entirely wrapped up in the story of Sarah, a servant at Longbourn, and felt impatient even with brief mentions of favorite characters Jane, Elizabeth , who seemed selfish, boring, and clueless because of their wealth Crucially, this I adore Jane Austen, and I was dreading reading this take on Pride Prejudice from the servants point of view I thought it was a crass cash grab on Baker s part, and that I d spend the entire novel longing to reread P P I couldn t have beenwrong I got entirely wrapped up in the story of Sarah, a servant at Longbourn, and felt impatient even with brief mentions of favorite characters Jane, Elizabeth , who seemed selfish, boring, and clueless because of their wealth Crucially, this novel does NOT feel like a gimmick it s beautiful and literary, and stands on its own non fans of Austen will love it too, I think