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)
The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.
Not earth shattering but enjoyable and well done. If you like P&P and if you like Downton Abby, you'll probably like this. It is like the servants are doing their own dance, which causes them to occasionally run into the P&P story on the dance floor, but otherwise they have their own steps, their own cares and concerns.
One of the best
I can't give away spoilers, but Baker brillantly weaves the plot of Pride and Prejudice with the intense character development of the servants, and it is a joy to see all of the layers unfold. I never expected Mr. and Mrs. Hill to be such nuanced, complicated characters.
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'.
The historical context of the era in which these characters and Jane Austen lived
Not better than the text version but complements the novel beautifully.
I really liked the character of Mrs Hill. Without using spoilers, Baker's representation of Hill (one of the characters present in Austen's Pride and Prejudice) is wonderful. Hill is portrayed as a woman of courage, intelligence and honour. She deeply cares for all around her and her marriage is shown as one of convenience but one where both partners gain from the association. I think that Jo Baker's portrayal of Hill would have made a 21st century Austen proud but may have shocked the original.
Emma Fielding's narration was a joy to listen to. It was understated and not intrusive to the story. Her diction was excellent and her voices were perfect and not exaggerated.
James. James's life as described by Baker, is fascinating. He could contribute so much to a dinner time conversation as his life spanned war service, domestic service, a secret which he needs to protect, the secret of his origins which he is not aware of and true love which he would die for. He is a fascinating 3-D character who adds much to the storyline.
I have read a few Pride and Prejudice modernizations and this is by far the best. It is well written and the characterisations and plot developments are well constructed and not contrived. For all those who love Austen's novel, read this one. You will not be sorry.
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