Longbourn

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Longbourn

by Jo Baker
Read by Emma Fielding

Random House Audio Publishing Group | October 8, 2013 | Audio Book (CD)

3.0714 out of 5 rating. 14 Reviews

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. 

Format: Audio Book (CD)

Dimensions: 4.72 × 5.51 × 0.79 in

Published: October 8, 2013

Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0804149402

ISBN - 13: 9780804149402

For millions of book lovers, Pride and Prejudice holds a place in the heart usually reserved for first loves and best friends. It was the first book that completely transported so many of us into a story, made fiction feel truly real. Jane Austen opened the door to a family that even now, two hundred years later, seems so alive and so familiar - she made us feel the joys and the pains of Elizabeth, Jane, and all the residents of Longbourn House and Netherfield Park as if we were Bennets ourselves. Which is why reading Jo Baker’s new novel Longbourn feel so much like going home. Baker has taken the lives in Pride and Prejudice and brilliantly reimagined them through the eyes of the Bennets’ servants, but this is not merely some literary piggybacking. The staff “below stairs” are living, richly drawn characters who have their own tales to tell, and their stories are just as compelling, romantic, and full of twists as Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy’s, and Baker tells them with compassion and a wit that does Jane Austen proud. Your heart will ache and leap for them as much as it did for the girls who live upstairs. After being immersed in the lives of Sarah (the maid), Mrs. Hill (the housekeeper), and James (the footman), I know it will be impossible to read Pride and Prejudice the same way ever again. Baker’s writing is simply that good. She has a vocabulary that echoes Austen, but she never tries to steal her voice. She uses Austen’s characters, but never abuses them – every word rings true, every phrase is a familiar song. Jo Baker, thank you for letting us go home to Longbourn.

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– More About This Product –

Longbourn

Longbourn

by Jo Baker
Read by Emma Fielding

Format: Audio Book (CD)

Dimensions: 4.72 × 5.51 × 0.79 in

Published: October 8, 2013

Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0804149402

ISBN - 13: 9780804149402

Read from the Book

Chapter II   ‘Whatever bears affinity to cunning is despicable.’   They were lucky to get him. That was what Mr B. said, as he folded his newspaper and set it aside. What with the War in Spain, and the press of so many able fellows into the Navy; there was, simply put, a dearth of men.   A dearth of men? Lydia repeated the phrase, anxiously searching her sisters’ faces: was this indeed the case? Was England running out of men?   Her father raised his eyes to heaven; Sarah, meanwhile, made big astonished eyes at Mrs Hill: a new servant joining the household! A man servant! Why hadn’t she mentioned it before? Mrs Hill, clutching the coffee pot to her bosom, made big eyes back, and shook her head: shhh! I don’t know, and don’t you dare ask! So Sarah just gave half a nod, clamped her lips shut, and returned her attention to the table, proffering the platter of cold ham: all would come clear in good time, but it did not do to ask. It did not do to speak at all, unless directly addressed. It was best to be deaf as a stone to these conversations, and seem as incapable of forming an opinion on them.   Miss Mary lifted the serving fork and skewered a slice of ham. ‘Papadoesn’t mean your beaux, Lydia – do you, Papa?’   Mr B., leaning out of the way so that Mrs Hill could pour his coffee, said that indeed he did not mean her beaux: Lydia’s beaux always seemed to be in more than plentiful supp
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From the Publisher

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. 

About the Author

JO BAKER was born in Lancashire and educated at Oxford University and Queen''s University Belfast. She is the author of The Undertow, and of 3 earlier novels published in the United Kingdom: Offcomer, The Mermaid''s Child and The Telling. She lives in Lancaster.

Editorial Reviews

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 Brontë 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 poi
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