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Longbourn Audiobook
Longbourn
Written by: 
Jo Baker
Narrated by: 
Emma Fielding
 >   > 
Longbourn Audiobook

Longbourn

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Audible Editor Reviews

"Captivating... A brilliantly imagined and lovingly told story about the wide world beyond the margins and outside the parlors of Pride and Prejudice." (Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements)

Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (736 )
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4.4 (678 )
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Performance
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  •  
    SydSavvy PARIS, TX, United States 10-20-14
    SydSavvy PARIS, TX, United States 10-20-14 Member Since 2008

    The Book Snob for Paris Life Magazine.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Quiet Treat"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Maura Falls Church, VA, United States 09-25-14
    Maura Falls Church, VA, United States 09-25-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Delicious for a huge Austen fan"
    Where does Longbourn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Longbourn?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Unchartered Territories 07-27-14
    Amazon Customer Unchartered Territories 07-27-14 Member Since 2009

    Look upward and see the wonders I've seen

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pleasantly surprised"
    Where does Longbourn rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This may become one of my favorite books. I loved hearing about the other side of Pride & Prejudice.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by Emma Fielding – was your favorite?

    Definitely Sarah. The story is primarily Sarah's story and she does a wonderful job.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When Sarah and Mrs. Hill told each other their secrets.


    Any additional comments?

    I would happily recommend this to any lover of Jane Austen's books.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KA 06-18-14
    KA 06-18-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well done, excellent read or listen, bravo"
    Would you listen to Longbourn again? Why?

    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.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What about Emma Fielding’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Who was the most memorable character of Longbourn and why?

    Nothing, very easy evperience


    Any additional comments?

    I look forward to more of the same from Ms Baker

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L. Brown Emeryville, CA 05-15-14
    L. Brown Emeryville, CA 05-15-14 Member Since 2015

    NYC editor 25 years.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "So Clever"

    Author does a nice job of bringing Jane down to the kithchen; good story telling in the tradition of you know who.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alison GRANADA HILLS, CA, United States 12-01-13
    Alison GRANADA HILLS, CA, United States 12-01-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I couldn't finish"
    What disappointed you about Longbourn?

    No real plot or intrigue. I listened to 10 chapters, yet wasn't hooked in to the story.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jo Baker again?

    No.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Emma Fielding?

    She was fine.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 11-02-14
    Kim 11-02-14 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "NOT For Jane Austen Readers"

    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'.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Taylor 06-25-16
    Taylor 06-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Please for the love of god make this a movie"

    I love this story I was completely addicted till the end then I read it again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LHB in MN 06-14-16
    LHB in MN 06-14-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Better than expected"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    NO


    What did you like best about this story?

    Relationships


    What does Emma Fielding bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The historical context of the era in which these characters and Jane Austen lived


    Did Longbourn inspire you to do anything?

    NO


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Librarian 04-13-16
    Librarian 04-13-16
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pride and Prejudice"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Longbourn to be better than the print version?

    Not better than the text version but complements the novel beautifully.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    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.


    What about Emma Fielding’s performance did you like?

    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.


    If you could take any character from Longbourn out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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