When I first heard about Longbourn by Jo Baker, I was pretty excited. I interpreted it as Pride and Prejudice from the servants perspectives. Really it’s more about the servants in the Bennet home.
Sarah had a family until she was six. When she was left on her own, she ended up in the poorhouse. From there she was brought to Longbourn as a maid.
James was brought up in the local vicarage. He’s had many travels and is now in need of some work. He is able to find employment at Longbourn as a footman as well as assorted other jobs.
Sarah and James very much start out on the wrong foot. Nothing seems to go well between them. Then there’s the exotic Bingley footman to catch Sarah’s eye. It takes forever for any kind of romance to spark for Sarah.
The hardest part of the story for me was the deadly dull details of this book. Baker goes into detail about laundry day and that time of the month and mentions Elizabeth’s stinky, hairy arm pits when Sarah is changing her clothes. Yes it’s historically accurate but is it pertinent to the story? Does it add to the enjoyment? Not for me.
The secondary characters were enjoyable but there wasn’t much mentioned about the family. The Bennet’s were there but only mentioned when a servant interacted with them. This book was more about the maid discovering herself and what she wanted out of life.
This wasn’t the book that I was expecting so I know that disappointment tinges my rating. The writing was dry and the story was slow paced. Longbourn was not my favorite read of 2015 but it wasn’t horrible either.
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