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Longbourn by Jo Baker
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Longbourn (edition 2014)

by Jo Baker (Author)

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2,7361945,315 (3.74)1 / 465
Fiction. Literature. Romance. Historical Fiction. HTML:

â?˘ Pride and Prejudice was only half the story â?˘
 
If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, sheâ??d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
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In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servantsâ?? hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austenâ??s classicâ??into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily p… (more)

Member:Jus628
Title:Longbourn
Authors:Jo Baker (Author)
Info:Vintage Canada (2014), 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work Information

Longbourn by Jo Baker

  1. 20
    Servants: A Downstairs History of Britain from the Nineteenth Century to Modern Times by Lucy Lethbridge (fannyprice)
  2. 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.
  3. 20
    Tea By The Nursery Fire: A Children's Nanny at the Turn of the Century 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.
  4. 20
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Cecrow)
  5. 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)
  6. 10
    The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow (Mind_Booster_Noori)
  7. 00
    Version and Diversion by Judith Terry (nessreader)
    nessreader: They're both Austen from the servants' hall sequels.
  8. 00
    Ahab's Wife or, The Star-Gazer by Sena Jeter Naslund (michigantrumpet)
  9. 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)
  10. 00
    Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James (Mind_Booster_Noori)
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» See also 465 mentions

English (188)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (194)
Showing 1-5 of 188 (next | show all)
This writer knows how to tell a STORY! ( )
  Abcdarian | May 18, 2024 |
I remember, reading Pride and Prejudice, that Mrs Bennet once called for her maid, Hill. When Mr. Collins dined with the Bennets for the first time, he assumed that the Bennet girls had made the dinner, and Mrs. Bennet told him crossly that they had a cook and maidservants. Beyond that, I cannot recall any mention of the servants at Longbourn; they are the invisible players who got the shoe-roses from Meryton; who helped the young ladies dress, and do their hair, and pack their bags. This lovely book brings to light these invisible people, who have a life as full and interesting and dramatic as the girls upstairs do.

I loved the characters that Baker drew of Mr. and Mrs. Hill, the old carriage-driver and housekeeper; of Sarah, the young woman feeling there must be more to life than doing other people's laundry; James, the footman, on the run from a troubled past, and Polly, the girl of all work, innocent, forever tired, and an outspoken little love of a child.

I cannot fathom, even after reading this book, how hard servants in a Regency household had to work. I was astounded and horrified. The thought of washing other people's underclothes by hand, stains and all, put me off entirely. I am so grateful for washing machines right now.

Longbourn is a really good book. I thought the ending (which I am not going to spoil) was excellent. Do read it if you're an Austen fan. ( )
  ahef1963 | May 9, 2024 |
I loved this book. I had understood it was a telling of 'Pride and Prejudice' from the servants' point of view, and thought this sounded underwhelming. But no. It's a completely different story, mainly told from the point of view of Sarah, taken in as a young foundling to complement the small serving team of Mr and Mrs. Hill at Longbourn, the house and home we know so well from Jane Austen's book. The Bennets are only the bit parts in this story, their narrative only important when it affects the servants'own lives. Baker vividly brings to live the harsh toil of the servants, their close dependency on one another, and on the Bennets themselves. The tale she weaves round Sarah and the new footman, James, is believable and eventually gripping. The 'back story', which eventually comes to light towards the end of the book adds yet another dimension. I'll return to Pride and Prejudice with new eyes, and expect to enjoy it even more. ( )
  Margaret09 | Apr 15, 2024 |
I am passionate about Austen, so I find it difficult to judge this book. Characterization and plot were okay, seemed a bit obsessed with what, to modern readers, would be the ick factor of the age, but it seems unlikely the people of the time would have focused on it so much.

what makes me angry, and do not read further if you've not read the book, is here utter indictemnetof Mr. Bennett's character. A flwed man he was, a man who impregnates a young girl, keeps her as his servant the rest of her life while barely giving enough to his bastard to keep him from utter poverty and degradation, this man would not have raised a Jane or an Elizabeth. Then we are to admire the footman because , having overlooked the pedophilia, he is finally moved to murder due to a common if utterly barbaric act of military procedure- I'm not saying I wouldn't have wanted to kill as well, but...

Anyway, I think she does a dis-service to the original, which may not have bothered me as much had she not claimed, in her afterword, not to have "interfered" with it ( )
  cspiwak | Mar 6, 2024 |
This book is told from the point of view of the servants of the Bennett family from Pride and Prejudice. It is ostensibly a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but the events of that story only barely touch the events of this novel. If you didn't know anything about Pride and Prejudice, you probably wouldn't realize you were missing anything here. If you are a P&P purist, you probably want to avoid this book, because it paints a very different picture of Mr. Bennett. Longbourn focuses primarily on Sarah, a young servant of the household, and her potential romantic entanglements with one of Mr. Bingley's servants and with James, a footman who has recently started working in the Bennett household.

I found this to be a bit slow to get going, but the writing nicely evokes Austen-era prose without feeling stilted. It feels very authentic and well-researched. The characters are generally well-written, although I didn't find Sarah to be particularly compelling. ( )
  Gwendydd | Feb 3, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 188 (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
BĂĽtzow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boringhieri, GiuliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Carson, Carol DevineCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eekelen-Benders, Aleid vansecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fielding, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fielding, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hanna, SophieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kanmert Sjölander, Mollesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Klásková, VěraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martín Giráldez, RubénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Næss, Jan ChristopherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rademacher, AnneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Roig, EstherTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tomlinson, PatienceNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Van Eekelen-Benders, AleidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Versluys, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
What praise is more valuable than the praise of an intelligent servant?
Dedication
With Clare, with thanks for her attention, forbearance, patience.
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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.
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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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Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Fiction. Literature. Romance. Historical Fiction. HTML:

â?˘ Pride and Prejudice was only half the story â?˘
 
If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, sheâ??d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
 
In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servantsâ?? hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austenâ??s classicâ??into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily p

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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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