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Truly original Austen take
The list of homages and continuations of Austen novels seems endless, but Baker's new novel centered around the servants of the Bennet household (Pride & Prejudice) is truly new and original. Even more, it's audacious in its interpretation of a couple of the main characters of Austen's novel while wholly realistic in its depiction of life "downstairs." The author has carefully matched scenes in P&P where servants were in view to her own story, fleshing out the lives of these shadowy characters. It's earthy in parts--and needs to be--to show the way life was like, which is in counterpoint to Austen's ironic look at the social strictures of the gentry and upper classes. Great for discussion especially paired with Pride and Prejudice. I don't know what readers who had not read (or seen) P&P would make of it, however an engrossing plot and interesting characters move readers along. Small quibble--a couple word choices seemed anachronistic.