Large Print - 2013
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A reimagining of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice from the perspectives of its below-stairs servants captures the romance, intrigue and drama of the Bennet household from the sideline perspective of Sara, an orphaned housemaid who becomes subject to the arrival of the militia and the attentions of an ambitious former slave.
Publisher: New York : Random House Large Print, ©2013.
Edition: First large print edition.
ISBN: 9780804121149
Characteristics: 543 pages ;,24 cm
Additional Contributors: Austen, Jane 1775-1817.


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AL_ANNAL Feb 14, 2018

Fascinating and deeply engaging story of a housemaid in Jane Austen's Bennet household. Austen is a tough act to follow. That this book has been chosen as a best of the year says something!

Jan 23, 2018

Perfect in every way. I still find myself wondering what the characters would be doing if the author had continued writing. These people were so important to the operation of Longbourn. It was delightful to discover the intimate details of their lives.

Nov 20, 2017

Either you "dig" Jane Austen and her Georgian times or you don't, as the other comments clearly show, but I truly love this book. It's "Pride and Prejudice" turned inside out and upside down. The entailed Bennets, not as rich as they'd like to be and try to appear to be, are shown as silly, shallow and insensitive to the lifetime plight of their servants. The heroine's story is heart-breaking as she manages to find happiness through a lot of pain. Darcy and Bingley, so romantic in Austen's novel, are dumb-show giants, who appear in doorways and tramp through the house, creating more work for the beleaguered servants. The story of the relationship of Mrs. Hill and Mr. Bennet is sensitively told. And, like all Austen books, it has a satisfactory ending!

Sep 21, 2017

This is one of very few perfect novels I have read. It answers the question I always had about those Jane Austen novels where women need to marry for money--what about the actual flesh and blood women who worked for a living?--but the truth is that the characters, especially Sarah, became so fully realized in my head I forgot about the point being made and was entirely sucked into their world. (I listened to the audiobook while driving, and after a while I couldn't wait to get back to the car and be immersed in another world.) I suppose it might not be for those who only want the pretty parts of Jane Austen, but I come from people who did manual labor, and I loved seeing a woman with all the limitations of that life get to be the center of the story. This book stands on its own, but for those who care, the way Baker meshes her plot with Pride and Prejudice (and builds entire plot arcs on Austen's few throwaway lines about the servants) is brilliant.

Sep 21, 2017

Just could not get into this novel. I found the first few chapters boring and did not inspire me at all. Returned Sept 2017

Uninspired writing. Poorly crafted story line with the 'James' war story' interrupting the flow of the downstairs drama and unrealistic, overly simplified characters. Did she need to waste so much space on Sarah's chilblains. I appreciated the barrier author created between those well known upstairs Austen characters and the invisible downstairs. But she took a good idea and turned it into a tedious story.

Mar 09, 2017

A quite charming imagining of downstairs, the real people inhabiting "Pride and Prejudice".

Jan 11, 2017

If you are like me, and when reading Jane Austen often roll your eyes at the fact that her ostensibly financially strapped characters still have a house full of servants, this book is for you. It was fascinating to read the events of Pride & Prejudice from the servants' point of view, and it really illuminated the fact that being "poor" by the standard of members of the gentry, like the Bennets, still looks pretty luxurious to someone who spends sixteen hours a day ensuring that those people get to live a life of leisure. Baker's attention to detail is astonishing -- this book was clearly excellently researched -- and the romantic subplot between two of the servants keeps readers turning pages to find out whether, like Lizzy and Jane, Sarah the housemaid will also get her happy ending.

AL_STEFFEN Nov 23, 2016

Enjoyed this somewhat sleepy story of the downstairs humans of Longbourn the estate of the Bennet Family, from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. One of those books where modern values are applied to characters of the past; housemaid falls for a black manservant for example, and a housekeeper enters a marriage of convenience with a gay butler, neither bat an eye. Applying modern values to historical characters is so interesting! You know there were empathetic and open-minded, accepting humans in the past, but you also know issues of social justice were often nonexistent and people's belief systems were rigid. Should all writing on this topic be extremely literary? Or is a causal tone ok? This book employs the latter, and I'm not mad at it for doing so.
Mr. Collins is treated with sympathy, and middle sister Mary isn't despised for her plain-ness and practicing the piano, and I enjoyed that. Lizzie and Jane are also regarded by their servants with moderate rather than fanatic admiration, as lovely but fairly useless, mainly ornamental virgins, which I didn't hate.
Some good descriptions of truly nasty laundering and other household tasks (did you know they used to drop wet tea leaves onto dusty floors before sweeping them??) and a pleasant scandal (spoiler alert) involving Mr. Bennet's natural son.
Pretty good!

Jun 01, 2016

I was very disappointed in this novel, and truly have difficulty understanding all the "hype" praising this "international bestseller". The first 200 pages dragged, the writing was simplistic and repetitive, and the plot was thin and predictable. After that, the plot picked up describing the war, and then the story limped to its unsurprising ending.

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LibrarySquare Feb 03, 2016

Did you love Pride and Prejudice? Well, you will enjoy the flip side of the story from the viewpoint of the scullery maids, the coachman, and other servants at Longbourn. You`ll get to view of what the servants think about the main characters and events in Pride and Prejudice. There is intrigue, romance and laughter between the pages of this 19th century title set in a Great Britain`s upper class country estate. Readers will learn about the customs and social life of all classes even though the focus is on "below stairs help" life. With a handsome new coachman's arrival, all the help is atwitter about where he's from. A few scandals with the infantry and a persons mysterious disappearance add suspense to this romantic story.

Jul 07, 2015

A well-written and thoroughly enjoyable book about the "downstairs" lives of servants living in Regency England.

siammarino Aug 05, 2014

This is another historical novel set in the English countryside in the late 1700's. I liked it because it is told from the servant's point of view. Author Jo Baker gives a very candid account of their daily toil, and the idiocy of war. The protagonist, Sarah, falls in love with a manservant who inexplicably leaves one day. Their story propels the novel on. Fans of Downtown Abbey and Charlotte Bronte will like this one.


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Jul 07, 2015

"It does not matter what I think of you, it does not matter in the least."

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