A brilliantly imagined, irresistible below-stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice: a story of the romance, intrigue, and drama among the servants of the Bennet household, a triumphant tale of defying society's expectations, and an illuminating glimpse of working-class lives in Regency England.
The servants at Longbourn estate--only glancingly mentioned in Jane Austen's classic--take center stage in Jo Baker's lively, cunning new novel. Here are the Bennets as we have never known them: seen through the eyes of those scrubbing the floors, cooking the meals, emptying the chamber pots. Our heroine is Sarah, an orphaned housemaid beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When the militia marches into town, a new footman arrives under mysterious circumstances, and Sarah finds herself the object of the attentions of an ambitious young former slave working at neighboring Netherfield Hall, the carefully choreographed world downstairs at Longbourn threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, up-ended. From the stern but soft-hearted housekeeper to the starry-eyed kitchen maid, these new characters come vividly to life in this already beloved world. Jo Baker shows us what Jane Austen wouldn't in a captivating, wonderfully evocative, moving work of fiction.
A Best Book of the Year Selection: "New York Times "100 Notable, "Seattle Times, The Guardian, The Daily Mail, Kirkus Reviews" "Masterful . . . From the same stream that fed Austen's literary imagination, Baker has drawn forth something entirely new and fresh." --"Miami Herald" "Happily, "Longbourn "is no mere riff but a fully imagined rejoinder to "Price and Prejudice " . . . Austen would have appreciated Baker's bracing rewrite from the underdog's point of view." --"Newsday" "If you are a Jane Austen fan with a pronounced predilection for "Pride and Prejudice, "you will devour Jo Baker's ingenious "Longbourn "as the ambrosia from the Austen gods it is . . . It's an idea that could have felt derivative or sycophantic in its execution, and yet the novel is rich, engrossing, and filled with fascinating observation . . . Dive in and you might even forget to watch "Downton Abbey."" --"O "magazine "Intelligent and elegantly written . . . "Longbourn "reveals these messy backdrops [of "Pride and Prejudice"]""while still, in fitting tribute, inventing a touching love story of its own." --"Wall Street Journal""An absorbing and moving story about the servants at Longbourn . . . Both original and charming, even gripping . . . If Charlotte Bronte had taken up the challenge of a sequel to "Pride and Prejudice, "she might very well have hit upon the sort of broader, more sympathetic point of view Jo Baker has derived from the servants' quarters." --Diane Johnson, "New York Times Book Review" ""Longbourn "is a bold novel, subversive in ways that prove surprising, and brilliant on every level. This is a masterful twist on a classic . . . Much more than a frothy, "Downton Abbey"-like twist on Austen. This novel is moving, filled with suspense, and impressive for the sympathy with which it explores the drudgery of the servants' lives, as well as their heartaches. That said, there's plenty of Austen-worthy wit too." --"USA Today" "D
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: 8th October 2013
Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Dimensions (cm): 23.9 x 16.8 x 4.3
Weight (kg): 0.62