Longbourn by Jo BakerLongbourn by Jo Bakersticker-burst


byJo Baker

Paperback | June 17, 2014

see the collection Heather's Picks

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 100 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


The servants take center stage in this irresistibly imagined below-stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice.
     While Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters fuss over balls and husbands, Sarah, their orphaned housemaid, is beginning to chafe against her situation in life. And when a mysterious footman arrives at Longbourn, the orderly realm of the servants' hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.
     Jo Baker reveals lives mentioned only fleetingly in Jane Austen's classic novel that has captivated the hearts of readers around the world for generations, daring to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Regency England into a vivid, fascinating, fully realized new world.

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.
Title:LongbournFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:352 pages, 7.94 × 5.18 × 0.78 inShipping dimensions:7.94 × 5.18 × 0.78 inPublished:June 17, 2014Publisher:Random House of CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0345813618

ISBN - 13:9780345813619


Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not for me This is so badly written that if I hadn't needed to read it for school, I wouldn't have bothered to finish it. The style and the narrative just don't quite fit with what she is trying to do here.
Date published: 2018-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful Summer Read - I couldn't put it down! I just fell into these pages and felt so many emotions while I read it. Looking forward to discovering more from this Author. I would LOVE to see this adapted to the big screen.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved the Servant's Story A fantastic perspective on Jane Austens masterpiece. If you are a fan of Pride and Prejudice I recommend that you read this book.
Date published: 2018-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A New Perspective 4.5 stars out of 5 If you want to read this book, READ IT! I enjoyed it and recommend it! Don't let negative reviews discourage you. I saw many negative reviews for this book saying it wasn't like Jane Austen ... Well of course not! Jo Baker isn't Jane Austen and she never pretended to be. Baker makes it very clear that this book is a separate story to Pride and Prejudiced. Baker artfully gives voices to the characters that were mere footnotes and nameless servants in Austen's classic. Baker portray's a real look at the historical time period, the class distinctions, the troubles of war, illness, poverty, power, and the more gritty historical events at the time of Pride and Prejudiced. At times, Baker was very detailed in her descriptions of the maid Sarah's work and chores. I could see how this might get tiresome to some readers, but I did not find it lagging at all, in fact, I began to empathize with Sarah and understand her way of life. This is an interesting accomplishment because it is so much easier for a reader, or dreamer, to sympathize with, say Elizabeth Bennet's love life and worries, then the day to day exhaustion her maid might face. My only criticism for the book is volume three. I disliked how it jumped to the past. I understand that it was important to reveal James, the footman's, backstory, but I found it drew on to long. In addition, volume one and two follow Sarah, and the mystery that James was to her, I wish we could have continued to follow Sarah and learn about Jame's backstory through her. Changing the perspective made me feel alienated to the plot that was already being conceived and it seemed like the novel was just on pause until I could get back to following Sarah's story. I also don't know how I feel about the plot twist with Mr. Bennet.... I enjoyed this novel very much, and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Pride and Prejudiced and would like a new perspective. Keep in mind, it's fiction, and it's not claiming to be anything else. I really enjoyed following Sarah's journey, and giving faces, names, and stories, to ALL those at Longbourn.
Date published: 2018-03-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A lovely addition to the Jane Austen collection Jo Baker has delightfully explored the hidden world of servants with a Jane Austen-like wit. It was a joy to re-visit Pemberley in this book.
Date published: 2018-03-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun addition to Austen (and related to ... ) collections Great read for a snowy day! Lots of little twists and connections to the characters of Pride and Prejudice that we know and love (and sometimes don't love). The characters downstairs are as endearing as those upstairs.
Date published: 2018-01-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from surprise! I'm an avid Jane Austen fan and somehow missed how this book relates to her work. It wasn't until I had started reading that I realized and then was so pleasantly surprised. What a fun perspective.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good look behind the scenes I bought this book after a friend pointed it out. We're both Jane Austen junkies and after reading all her books pick up any fan fiction or spin offs. This wasn't the best I have read, but it was a really thorough and thoughtful account of what was going on behind the scenes in the Longbourn household. I would still recommend this to other Jane Austen readers.
Date published: 2018-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Jane Austen Fan An excellent book edition for any Jane Austen fan. A great addition to your library collection.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must for fans of Jane Austen If you've breezed through Jane Austen's works and find yourself wanting more, definitely try Longbourn. What a marvellous peek into the downstairs world of Pride & Prejudice! The author stays true to Austen's writing style too, so it never feels jarring or weird. This has become a permanent addition to my bookshelf, and I'll happily read it again!
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from What a story! An excellent addition to your library.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent read I had been struggling to find something with history and detail and this book provided both. I was delighted.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok Good book, not as entertaining as Pride and Prejudice
Date published: 2017-02-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not as expected After reading reviews and the book jacket, I expected this novel to have more of a Downton Abbey upstairs/downstairs vibe. However, I was disappointed with the dynamic and found parts dragged on and on. The ending is what made me stick around...but it took a while to get there!
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Nice Read I really enjoyed reading this book! The characters are well developed, and I liked learning about the lives of the servants in the Bennett household. It's an interesting take on the characters and settings from Pride and Prejudice, so you should check out Longbourn if you're a fan of British historical fiction.
Date published: 2017-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I enjoyed this book The reverse perspective was very interesting. So much toil and pain from the servants just to provide the gentry with the basics of "civilized" living. Also reveals Wickham to be really wicked.
Date published: 2017-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jane Austen's world with very accessible characters I REALLY enjoyed this book. I read it on vacation and almost never put it down. When I finished, I was satisfied with the conclusion; but like with any book you love, I felt disappointed that I didn't have more to read. Storyline marches along with the timeline from P&P but it doesn't borrow a lot of plot from it. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved! Similar to other reviews, I loved reading the story through the perspective of the servant's. Got this as a gift and would have bought it for myself if I didn't!
Date published: 2016-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love the different perspective Great read! Love reading about the story from a different perspective.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the other side It was a great read! Really shows the servant's side of the story and the lifestyle that they lead. I enjoyed the love stories that circled the help almost as much as I enjoyed Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy.
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Longbourn Clever. Nice to see an old favourite through new eyes. Well written.
Date published: 2016-12-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best Loved the story. If you are a fan of period pieces. This is for you.
Date published: 2016-12-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Slow to Start This book was slow to start, unsure of how all the characters were relevant but the story came together nicely. I was expecting a sort of "Downton Abbey" under the stairs feel - which this book wasn't. However it was still a good read.
Date published: 2016-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read I enjoyed reading this book. When I started to read it, I wasn't sure if I would like it, but found that at the half way point it picked up.
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read! If you like Downton Abbey, you will enjoy this book! Easy and fast to read. Great characters and great story. Heather does it again with her book picks!
Date published: 2016-11-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this story ... I really enjoyed this book - characters and their relationships really come to life. Definitely a good read. :)
Date published: 2016-11-09
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not Austen but still good This was a good read, and I would recommend it to others on one condition: Don't expect it to be written in the Austen style. Baker did a wonderful job bringing Longbourn to life and showing the more realistic and grim aspects of life in Austen's world. But I couldn't help but feel she missed the heart of the characters(excepting mr. collins whom she captured perfectly) as they all, including Elizabeth come off as vapid and spoiled. I honestly feel like she could have given the characters different names, and and I would not have recognized it. But that's the risk of taking a story that's so beloved and adding to it. It's a risk however that paid off, after all I likely would not have picked it up if not for the connection, and still I enjoyed it. The characters that Baker created (or in other words brought out of obscurity) were written wonderfully. Sarah is exactly what I imagined a girl in her situation would be, and the others are vibrant if not tragic. So if you plan to pick this book up just be ready to see the time period as it really was, rather than the dream Austen makes it out to be.
Date published: 2015-11-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful! Absolutely love this book! Would recommend to fans of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice!
Date published: 2015-09-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A very pleasant surprise! Another reviewer acknowledged what we all know: this concept was an accident waiting to happen. BUT, Longbourn turned out to be a lovely way to revisit Austen's world without tainting it in any way. Moving focus just to the side of the original action, Baker has constructed a world that is rich, interesting, and completely respectful of the cherished classic. This new(ish) story is an enhancement to its inspiration. A really enjoyable read!
Date published: 2015-06-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from This is a great add-on to Pride & Prejudice! 3.5 stars Let's just be honest and say that this book could have been really bad. I always find that whenever a new book comes out and tries to capture the magic atmosphere of a classic, it usually always ends up failing. I've read a fair few of the sequels to Jane Austen's original works and I didn't like any of them, but LONGBOURN totally captivated me! It starts off as quite a slow read and at first I didn't think I was going to like it. Thankfully, though, the book seemed to have picked up at the half-way point and from there, I just couldn't put it down. LONGBOURN focuses on the Bennets' servants and their trials and tribulations, which prove to be very engrossing. I really connected to each main character below-stairs and ended up hating a few of the wealthy characters that Austen made so popular with her release of Pride & Prejudice. The backstories of the servants were amazingly fleshed-out and the pace of the book was just right. If you're a lover of Austen's original work, then you should definitely pick LONGBOURN up! Chances are, you'll really enjoy reading it!
Date published: 2015-04-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If you are craving more Austen... As a Jane Austen fan, I was worried I would be disappointed by this book somehow, but thankfully just the opposite was true. It is a great read and a story all it's own. Even if you aren't familiar with Pride and Prejudice (shame on you... ;) ) but maybe are a fan of someone like Kate Morton or the show Downton Abbey - you will definitely enjoy this book!
Date published: 2014-08-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great compliment to a classic I loved the book pride and prejudice and I loved reading this complimentary book. You do not need to have read the Jane Austen classic but it was fun to essentially reread a condensed version of it all over again while reading Longbourn. I wanted to know the end and enjoyed the classic story that was put together, reminding us of all the behind the scenes work that so many did for the well off in that time. A pleasant read that I would highly recommend
Date published: 2014-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A surprising perspective As I am drawn to all things Austen related, I bought Longbourn wanting to immerse myself in that world once again. This book is a wonderful addition to the Austen world, but it works wonderfully as a stand alone story with vivid characters and a compelling plot. Longbourn offers such a different perspective on the well known characters; it brings the reader into the demanding and hardworking lives of those who live downstairs as they face their own crises and choices. A great read!
Date published: 2014-07-08

Editorial Reviews

NATIONAL BESTSELLERINTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER"[A]n elegantly executed twist on the celebrated story. Carefully crafted. It has as much suspense, drama and romance as any Austen fan could hope for, coupled with a smart social commentary on the injustice of poverty and class in 19th century England." —Chatelaine "The lives of the 99 percent are described in all of its skin-chafing glory. Baker gives [Sarah and the people like her] their chance to live on the page that should engross both neophyte and veteran Austen readers alike." —Maclean's