Longbourn by Jo Baker

If Longbourn sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the name of the house of one of our most beloved heroines from literature- Elizabeth Bennet. And while the Bennet girls flirt with officers, walk through mud to visit their sick sister or visit the Lucas family, someone has to sew the pretty dresses, wash the muddy petticoats or clean the house. In Longbourn  we get a glimpse into the lives of the servants, kind of like in Downton Abbey. 

The Bennet family has four servants: the butler and the housekeeper Mr. and Mrs. Hill, and two maids, Sarah and Polly. But when the Bennets get a new servant, the footman James, many changes happen in Longbourn. The housekeeper is behaving strangely, Sarah becomes rebellious, while James doesn’t say much about his past. Prepare for some unexpected plot twists.

I didn’t enjoy Longbourn. The first third of the book was promising. I wasn’t sure where the story was heading, but it was interesting enough to see what was happening behind the scenes during those iconic Pride and Prejudice moments. But then the whole romance thing happened and it didn’t seem plausible at all and all of the romantic scenes seemed poorly written and full of cliches. The chapters that were centered on James were nice, but the tragic tone didn’t match the rest of the book. And I hated the fact that Ptolemy Bingley was dismissed as a good suitor for Sarah, when the only thing that could be held against him was his race. I understand that racism was an issue then, but this is a book written today. The author could have at least turned more attention to this issue, since they decided to include a mixed race character.

I gave Longbourn 3 stars on Goodreads, but that was only because of the good beginning. But it went on a downhill from then and in the end turned into a melodramatic, boring, bad book.


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