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Longbourn by Jo Baker
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Longbourn

by Jo Baker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,9161525,129 (3.76)1 / 378
  1. 20
    Mrs. Woolf and the Servants: An Intimate History of Domestic Life in Bloomsbury by Alison Light (Limelite)
    Limelite: Another age but the same perspective of downstairs' view of upstairs. Parallel nonfiction examination of same theme of classism in England at the end of the serving class era.
  2. 10
    Tea By the Nursery Fire: A Children's Nanny at the Turn of the Century (VMC) by Noel Streatfeild (MarthaJeanne)
    MarthaJeanne: The one book is a fictional account of servants' lives in England around 1800. The other a biographical account of the life of an actual servant a century later. But really, not that much had changed.
  3. 10
    Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge (fannyprice)
  4. 10
    An Assembly Such as This by Pamela Aidan (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: With narratives that run parallel to the events of Pride and Prejudice, these historical novels should enchant Jane Austen fans. An Assembly Such as This tells Mr. Darcy's story, while Longbourn examines the everyday lives of the Bennett family's servants.… (more)
  5. 00
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Cecrow)
  6. 00
    Mina by Jonatha Ceely (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although Mina takes place in Victorian, not Regency, England, like Longbourn it centers around the relationship between two domestic servants -- both outsiders in different ways -- whose bond is threatened by the secrets in their pasts.… (more)
  7. 00
    Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund (michigantrumpet)
  8. 00
    Version and Diversion by Judith Terry (nessreader)
    nessreader: They're both Austen from the servants' hall sequels.
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English (145)  Swedish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (149)
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
Wow, this book is really divisive! It has been fun reading the reviews and seeing why people either loved or hated it...
I really enjoyed It. I love historical fiction where I get a real sense of what it was like to live in that era. For me that does/must include the nitty gritty details that many here found so offensive. When I read books that spend so much time talking about dresses and hair styles I do wonder where/how they go to the bathroom, how they managed when they had their period, how often they bathed, etc. I was fascinated while touring castles in Europe to hear guides tell of guests foregoing new "lavatories" and doing their business in corners and behind draperies, much to the dismay of the servants....so I want these details in a book told from the servants point of view. Even Downton Abbey glosses over the nasty stuff.

It has been a long time since I read P&P so I was not obsessing over every detail, I read this more as a stand alone novel. I don't think the life of a domestic servant was much fun, and the novel portrays a life of hard, often nasty work, with rare small breaks. Even walks involved running errands and had to be taken regardless of weather or ill fitting boots. The nosy postmistress - reminded me of the telephone operators who used to know everyone's business in the early days of Ma Bell. Some things never change! Now we just have TMZ.

I liked the evolving story of James, and the interlude where we find out where he had been and what he had been through...I just found it a bit long. I loved watching Sarah's fascination with Mr. Bingley build. I thought the storyline of Mr. Hill, Mrs Hill, Mr. Bennet etc was great and not at all unrealistic.

I feel that this book stands on it's own merit. Wether or not it is a suitable companion to Pride and Prejudice is a call I will leave to the die hard Austen fans, of which I am not. ( )
  Rdra1962 | Aug 1, 2018 |
I really enjoyed this book, but if you go into it thinking that it's going to be in the same style as [b:Pride and Prejudice|1885|Pride and Prejudice|Jane Austen|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1320399351s/1885.jpg|3060926] or any other of Austen's novels, you're probably going to be disappointed. I think a lot of the criticism of this book is that it's not written in the same style as the book it was based on, but I think it would be almost impossible to represent the lives of the downstairs servants in the sort of "comedy of manners" fashion that Austen employed.

I didn't really like how Baker included multiple POVs in a single scene. It was a little jarring to jump around from one person's thoughts to another's. Overall, though, the prose was excellent.

I'm going to keep this book in the back of my mind whenever people try to tell me that fanfiction is bad, because that is basically what this novel is -- it's fanfiction of one of the most popular books of all time. And that's a great thing. ( )
  captainmander | Jul 19, 2018 |
Neat concept -- to look at the lives of the servants of the homes in Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice." Nicely done as well, with a backstairs idiom and approach. ( )
  abycats | May 11, 2018 |
Adjusted my rating down to three stars from four when I realized, while I liked the novel, I wouldn't read it again. ( )
  MelissaLenhardt | Mar 11, 2018 |
This writer knows how to tell a STORY! ( )
  Siubhan | Feb 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 145 (next | show all)
Like Austen, Baker has written an intoxicating love story but, also like Austen, the pleasure of her novel lies in its wit and fierce intelligence. Longbourn is a profound exploration of injustice, of poverty and dependence, of loyalty and the price of principle; running through the quiet beauty of much of Baker's writing is the unmistakable glint of anger.
 
Jo Baker’s interesting novel focuses on the downstairs life at Longbourn, the house where the Bennets of “Pride and Prejudice” live. The author makes no attempt to imitate Austen’s style, and pays relatively little attention to Austen’s major characters...Jo Baker’s thoroughly researched description of the servants’ toil expands the tiny piece of ivory that Jane Austen worked on by showing how the lives of the middle and upper classes depended on work that’s now hard to imagine...Certainly, of the many literary rethinkings of Austen’s work, “Longbourn” is one of the most engaging and rewarding

 
Baker deploys them to good effect not only for their intrinsic interest but as a moral corrective. She has also fashioned an absorbing and moving story about the servants at Longbourn...If part of Baker’s inspiration could have come from Charlotte Brontë, there’s also an aside straight out of “Les Misérables... But to mention these classics is not to condemn as pastiche a work that’s both original and charming, even gripping, in its own right.
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Baker, Joprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fielding, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Giráldez, RubénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
What praise is more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant?
Dedication
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
With Clare, with thanks for her attention, forbearance, patience.
First words
There could be no wearing of clothes without their laundering, just as surely as there could be no going without clothes, not in Hertfordshire anyway, and not in September.
Quotations
If Elizabeth had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she'd most likely be a sight more careful with them.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Sarah, a servant at Longbourn, which belongs to the Bennet family, while scrubbing laundry, polishing floors and emptying chamber pots, watches the romances, heartbreaks, and intrigue happening downstairs of the main house, but when a mysterious new fooman arrives, the order of the servants' hall is threatened.
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A novel whose principal characters are the servants in Jane Austen's Pride and prejudice.

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