Monday, 16 June 2014

Longbourn, Jo Baker

Sarah is an orphan and she works as a servant at Longbourn, the estate of the Bennet family.
She works there with Polly, the other maid, Mrs. Hill the cook and housekeeper and Mr. Hill, the butler. Because there is always a lot of work, a footman is added to the servants, but Sarah soon realizes there is more to this James Smith and he will show. And when a certain Mr. Bingley comes to the village there is also his servant Ptolmey who likes Sarah very much.
In the meantime there are also other things to worry about, like what will happen to the servants when Mr. Collins inherits the estate?

Does this story seem familiair? Of course it does, we all know the story of Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. Most of us will have thought how wonderful it must have been to live in such elegant times, with balls and beautiful dresses when we read her books or see the movie adaptations.

But who were the ones who lit the fires, cooked the meals, delivered the many letters to the post office and washed the mud from the skirts?
Those were the people Jane Austen never writes about, the servants.
For a servant in those days life was anything but elegant or wonderful. You had to work hard from early in the morning to late in the evening, no-one ever paid any attention to your needs and you could be sacked at any time.

Jo Baker used this to write her story, she wanted to tell the story behind Pride and Prejudice. The story of the Bennet sisters is played in the background, but in Longbourn we are shown the other side, the servant’s side who made all of it possible.
Jo Baker certainly managed to do that, through Sarah’s eyes you see how hard the life of a servant girl must have been in those days.

That Sarah has very modern ideas about equality or that the story of the servants itself is a bit like a soapseries are downsides to the book.
Because of those downsides, Longbourn is not the new Pride and Prejudice, but I did enjoy the book very much. It was good for a relaxing and entertaining couple of hours and that was just what I needed.

Published in 2013

4 comments:

  1. I've heard a fair few good things about this particular book. I'm undecided as to whether I want to read it - in general I avoid books that spawn from classics or other such notable books. Your review was very interesting, and didn't give much away!
    :-)
    Bits & Bobs

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jade! In this book the spin-off thing is done alright, and I did enjoy it, despite the minuspoints. :-)

      Kind regards.

      Delete
  2. Interesting viewpoint on a very familiar story; I haven't read this book yet, but I want to. Great review.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lark. It is well done, with the P&P parts in the background, enough to let you know what is happening, with with a new point of view.

      Kind regards,

      Delete

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