This is not a book review. I just wanted to say that I really, really, really loved Longbourn by Jo Baker. A re-telling of Jane Austen’s classic Pride & Prejudice from the points of view of the servants at the Bennett home, Longbourn, Longbourn seamlessly entwines a new plot and cast of earthy characters – maids, cooks and footmen- into the familiar strands of Pride & Prejudice we all know and love so well.
I am a sucker for derivative fiction in any form, but Longbourn really shone for me because it is so beautifully written. Every page was a joy to read. The Daily Mail review said that Baker writes ‘like an angel’ – I agree.
I also loved the historical detail, and the perfect balance between showing us how household staff worked each day, how they got things done – fascinating in itself- and the story. Scenes involving the most mundane of household tasks- servant Sarah sweeping the floors with used tea leaves, for example, or footman James hanging out a basket of laundered nappies for her to save her over-worked hands, are often the most poignant.
This gorgeous book was my favourite read of 2013. Have you read it? What did you think?