That Baker found her inspiration from this one tiny glimmer into the world behind the scenes? Oct 25, Deborah Markus rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Maybe because they were just a tad too dark, too wretched, and too much removed from the world of Jane Austen. I would have loved to have spent more time with her, seen more of the story from her perspective, and learn more of her thoughts and emotions. Sarah does not meet Ptolemy on her travels and is more than happy to return to the Bennet household. Dec 06, The Library Lady rated it it was amazing Shelves: In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage.

View all 18 comments. I’m not too interested in that, unless it’s historical fiction. James Smith endures the evils of the Peninsula Campaign only to be cast in the role of deserter by a villainous sergeant and to suffer accordingly. 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: 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. She is plucky, resilient with a heart of gold. I would love to see other reader comments! It kind of hurt my heart to see how the help was treated in these days, I know it was normal in those days– but hard to see people being treated as if they are no more than a barn cat.

I wanted to love it. She caught him, as it were, on the hop.

I wanted to adore this book because I’m tired of people talking about how lovely life was in the Regency. Who were the ghostly figures that kept both the storyline and the Bennet household going behind the scenes? Finally, the love triangle is so ridiculous. To them Lizzy is known more for her soiled petticoats all those muddy walks! That’s how I feel about this book. Longbourn — a review Sarah Emsley.


Longbourn Summary & Study Guide

But again, the focus was wrong: The author delivers Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen retold from the servants’ perspective. But that is a mere quibble in an otherwise wonderful novel.

Its almost as if the author had a list of controversial plot lines and was ticking them off as she went along. After James’ departure, Sarah goes through some changes of her own as she leaves Longbourn to become the personal maid for Elizabeth Bennet after she is married to Mr.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Orphaned, she came to work for the Bennet family with whom she still resides along with the other servants including the married Mr and Mrs Hill and the much younger Polly. All in all, a great tale that will become part of my permanent book library. 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.

As well, it stands to reason that what we loved so much about Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennett is not going to seem quite as endearing to the servants of Longbourn. Austen requires you to read between the lines of straightforward-seeming dialogue and descriptions to discover a character’s motives or mindset. I really struggled through the opening chapters too. Hill the housekeeper is often burdened by Mrs.

The second part of the book, follows James’ history serving his country in war and the horrors of what he had to endure. Thanks so much for the words of support, Robyn!

And honestly, there are some very good things in here. She is plucky, resilient with a heart of gold. But Longbourn just made me a little frustrated and angry and includes none of the reasons why Pride and Prejudiece is such a timeless classic and has such an army of fans.

A house the size of Longbourn was run by a small band of servants; all Baker longboufn done in the way of invention is to give faces and stories to those previously nameless below-stairs characters — expanded roles for Mr.

It is assimilated with the story; it is not heavy handed, and is entirely believable.


And there are servants doing hard, sweaty, smelly, unpleasant olot behind the scenes,carefully allowing the Bennetts, the Darcys and the Bingleys to live in their pretty-pretty Austen world.

Perhaps better is not the right word, but fuller: Just when Elizabeth announces that she is expecting her first baby, Sarah decides to leave her position in order to search for James and her own happy ending.

I would have loved to dive deeper into Mrs Hill’s mind, for example, or to know how James dealt with view spoiler [the secret of his birth hide spoiler ] throughout his life. It gives an alternative view of the events in Jane Austen ‘s Pride and Prejudicetelling the story from the perspective of the servants at Longbourn, the Bennet family home.

View a FREE sample. I am sure that the sometimes silly and plog behaviors of the Bennet family could make them discourteous or even disrespectful to their servants, but Jo Bakers take does not feel like an Austentale. 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.

Yes, the second half really picked up. If you’re an Austin fan and you should be it’s a great read. She yearns to be appreciated by the people she serves, yet remains invisible to anyone other than the exacting housekeeper Mrs. You couldn’t open your carriage door without smacking into a load of ish.

Longbourn by Jo Baker – review

Especially while I am having a conversation about details of my life with someone else. Are you ishing me? Pride and prejudice is ploh set during the era of the Napoleonic wars, in Regency England. Broken hearted, Sarah continues to live and work at Longbourn.