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 Longbourn an 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.
Praise for Longbourn:
“Irresistible…Sequels and prequels rarely add to the original, but Baker’s simple yet inspired reimagining does. It has best-seller stamped all over it.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A must-read for fans of Austen, this literary tribute also stands on its own as a captivating love story…Baker takes many surprising risks in developing the relationships between the servants and the Bennets, but the end result steers clear of gimmick and flourishes as a respectful and moving retelling.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“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
Watch Jo Baker’s presentation to librarians at BEA.[youtube oI51tP1sOxE]