Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Longbourn by Jo Baker

Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 352
Received: Received a copy from Random House of Canada in exchange for an honest review

Release Date: October 8, 2013
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Goodreads Synopsis:

Pride and Prejudice was only half the story 

If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’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 servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.

Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.

My Review:

I really ended up enjoying this book, it has been awhile since I read Pride and Prejudice, but I loved it, and it's interesting to see a different take on the story. I think Baker took a great approach to this book, and I think it was very well done.

Following the overlooked characters of Pride and Prejudice and seeing how much they could add to the story and that they are important people too. It was interesting to see how these people were treated at that time and how their lives were so different from the ones they took care of. Sarah came to Longbourn as a young girl and has not known much else than what she has learned there, but she is someone who wishes for more and to really be able to see the world outside of this one house, this story is really about her life and how quickly everything can change.

I really enjoyed Jo Baker's writing style throughout this book, she captured the feeling of a Jane Austen novel perfectly (in my opinion). This is a different side of a classic book and still in the same way, the characters act similar. There is still the view of jumping to conclusions about someone before really getting to know them and how things change when you really find out the truth.

I loved this new story behind the doors of the servants and seeing how their lives still have a large effect on the lives of the Bennett family. The great things about this book is that you don't have to read Pride and Prejudice before reading it, but it is definitely an enhanced experience, and they really add to one another. Jo really has you see the other side of things, it's a beautiful story that will make you fall in love with Jane Austen's world all over again.


  1. I have never heard of this book! I love re-imagining classics from a different perspective. I am definitely putting this on my list!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  2. I'm really excited to get to this book. I'm not a huge P&P fan but I do love shows lie Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs which show the servants side of things

  3. I was REALLY looking forward to this one...and I think that was a problem. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but I didn't love it as I had hoped too. It's hard to put my finger on what it was, too! Ah well. I'm really glad you liked this one!

  4. Ahhh so glad that you liked this one Andrea!! I'm picking it up for my Grandma for Christmas :) But I like to make sure that the gift I'm giving is a good one before I purchase it, and if you liked it enough then I'll make sure this one goes on my shopping list for Christmas!

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After



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