Friday, March 14, 2014

Book Review: Longbourn

Longbourn, as any Pride and Prejudice fan will tell you, is the name of the estate where the Bennett family lives in Jane Austen's classic tale. This book, written by Jo Baker, tells the story about what was happening below stairs at the Bennett's house as their dinners are cooked and their soap is made. It is not a mystery. 

Most of the Jane Austen obvious derivatives that I have read we're sadly disappointing, but not Longbourn. The events carefully mapped to the events of Austen's book while covering new ground below stairs - while the Bennett's are trying to catch themselves husbands because none of them can inherit the estate, the servants are figuring out how to get themselves in the good graces of anyone who might wind up as master or mistress of Longborne. 

The book provided fresh details about servants lives - the arduous process of how clothes were washed and cared for, food was made, etc. in a way I haven't seen in Downton Abbey or other works of this type. While the Upstairs, Downstairs perspective isn't brand new, this take felt fresh to me. The characters were intriguing and the plot line interesting. 

If you loved Pride and Prejudice, or like the servant's perspective from Downton Abbey, you will like Longbourn. It's well worth the read. 

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