BookBrowse Reviews Longbourn by Jo Baker

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Longbourn

by Jo Baker

Longbourn
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2013, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2014, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Sarah Sacha Dollacker

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Jo Baker's delightful novel gives us a look at Jane Austen's society from the point of view of the servants.

If Jane Austen had written Longbourn, she might have begun with a variation of Pride and Prejudice's famous first sentence: "It is a truth universally acknowledged that a gentlewoman in need of a husband is also in need of a good servant." Pride and Prejudice has been turned into movies, adapted for the stage, and inspired many volumes of fan fiction and spin-off stories. In my humble opinion, none of these complement and expand on Jane Austen's most famous novel, quite like Jo Baker's Longbourn.

Longbourn is the childhood home of Elizabeth Bennet, Pride and Prejudice's main character. The Bennets are not wealthy enough to afford full-time maids for the women of the house, so the house servants often have to do double duty. In Longbourn, we hear from Sarah, the young housemaid, who washes the clothes, assists in the kitchen, and sets Elizabeth's curls if she's in need of a lady's maid...

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