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.
©2013 Jo Baker (P)2013 Random House Audio
"A triumph: a splendid tribute to Austen’s original but, more importantly, a joy in its own right, a novel that contrives both to provoke the intellect and, ultimately, to stop the heart.... Like Austen, Baker has written an intoxicating love story but, also like Austen, the pleasure of her novel lies in its wit and fierce intelligence.... Baker not only creates a richly imagined story of her own but recasts Austen’s novel in a startlingly fresh light.... Inspired." (The Guardian)
Look upward and see the wonders I've seen
This may become one of my favorite books. I loved hearing about the other side of Pride & Prejudice.
I loved seeing the life at Longbourn from downstairs. I didn't think it would be so enjoyable and it was almost like it had been written by Jane Austen herself, with a few minor tweaks. Those tweaks could be easily overlooked as the story and the characters were so compelling. I loved Sarah the protagonist. In many ways she reminded me of another Austen character Anne Elliot of Persuasion.
Definitely Sarah. The story is primarily Sarah's story and she does a wonderful job.
When Sarah and Mrs. Hill told each other their secrets.
I would happily recommend this to any lover of Jane Austen's books.
I have listened to it twice and intend to keep it for a good long time. It is written in the manner that feel as though you are looking out through the eyes of the main character. There are points that refer back to Pride and Prejudice, but only as references that enhance to the story.
Well written, believable situations and characters, can only leave you with wanting more of the same. Unfortunately, many of them have the consistency of wet toilet paper.
The scenes described, the feelings of the characters are what you would imagine if you were in that situation, very easy to insert yourself, watching it all unfold as you were invisible.
Nothing, very easy evperience
I look forward to more of the same from Ms Baker
NYC editor 25 years.
Author does a nice job of bringing Jane down to the kithchen; good story telling in the tradition of you know who.
No real plot or intrigue. I listened to 10 chapters, yet wasn't hooked in to the story.
She was fine.
As a fan of Jane Austen I found this book offensive. While I believe the author's desire is partly to show the 'other side' of the story or the point of view of the servant. I read JA precisely because I do not like to be assaulted with the ugly, seedy and immoral stories of characters, the likes of whom I would never choose to associate with I my daily life let alone for reading entertainment.
An author's desire to examine the disgusting under-belly of humanity to seek out motive and reason is not my idea of relaxing and entertaining reading. This was a sadly disappointing 'read'.
Freelance Book Reviewer at Midnight Book Girl
There was some slow pacing, but overall I really enjoyed this book about the Bennett household servants. The book had me from the first, when the servants were complaining about how filthy Elizabeth Bennet's dresses got from all that walking around in the dirt she's prone to. :) So grateful not to be a servant back then! The narration stretches over a long period of time, and it gave another view into certain characters (Wickham and just how wicked he really could be) and Mr. Bennet- creating a whole back story for him that while not necessarily cannon, was still within keeping of the times and expectations.
Mostly the story focuses on Sarah the maid, and her quest for something different than the day to day toil of being a servant in a small household. As a character, I found Sarah frustrating at times, she could be impulsive and unkind, but those are the very traits that make her more human and realistic. I was intrigued by the Bingley's back story, and their servants, but the book only gives glimpses of them.
The first half of the book worked better for me than the last half, because what I think I really wanted out of this book was Pride and Prejudice... okay, mostly more Mr. Darcy, not wars and blackmail. It got a little... depressing. However, if you're looking for a book that mixes a little of Pride and Prejudice with a focus on servants in that time period and the struggle they had to endure, then this book is for you.
Emma Fielding narrates and she was wonderful. I'm not sure if I would have found this book quite so readable had I not listened to the audiobook. I would definitely recommend Fielding's narration over reading the book in print!
Slow reading with not much happening a Story told from point of view of servant housemaid who had lots of drudgery which was passed over quickly Some serials of tools or customs might have lifted story out of monotony Good ideas needed more events
I did not like this book and struggles to finish it. the story line was predictable and dull.
See my review on good reads. The performance was good, if a bit slow at times. The story was ok, but I the protagonist doesn't have any sense and I think she deserves what she gets so far, or worse. (I stopped reading about halfway through.)
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