Longbourn by Jo Baker

July 14, 2014 Classics, Historical Fiction 33

Hello Bookworms!

I am SO EXCITED today! I’m going to my very first author event tonight to meet Jo Baker at my local library. I’d had Longbourn on my shelves for a while when I saw the announcement for her visit and bumped it up my reading list. I have to send a big thanks out to Kelly from Read Lately for sending me her ARC of Longbourn just because I commented that I was excited to read it. Book bloggers can be super nice, in case you didn’t already know that.

longbournLongbourn follows the events of Jane Austen’s fabulous and much loved Pride and Prejudice, but this time it’s from the perspective of the servants. The only reason the five lovely Bennet sisters were able to spend their days playing piano, working on needlepoint, and worrying about attracting husbands is because they had people doing their cooking, cleaning, and laundry for them.

Sarah is the main protagonist and a servant at Longbourn, the Bennet homestead. Sarah was orphaned as a child and eventually landed a place in service at Longbourn. While it’s a good deal better than a workhouse, it’s not a glamorous position. I mean, it’s the early 1800s. There are chamber pots to empty, fires to light, and (GAG) menstrual rags to launder.

You guys, I LOVED this book. One of my favorite things about reading historical fiction is the dirty gritty stuff. I like to know what MY life would have been like if I lived back in the day. It de-romanticizes things for me and makes me super grateful for indoor plumbing and electricity. I certainly wasn’t raised a destitute orphan, but I wasn’t born into an outrageously wealthy family either. I don’t know that I’d be in service, but I probably would have to get my hands dirty from time to time.

If you enjoy historical fiction, Jane Austen, or classic story re-tellings, Longbourn is fabulous. Oh, and never fear, Bookworms, I’ll be sure to inform you of all the different ways I manage to embarrass myself in front of Jo Baker.

Tell me something, Bookworms. Does historical fiction ever make you grateful for living in the here and now? 

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33 Responses to “Longbourn by Jo Baker”

  1. Tanya

    Exciting to be going to your first author event. I always love going to them. I’m lucky that I’ve lived in quite a few cities that regularly have author events. Keeps my social calendar busy!

  2. Megan M.

    It always makes me grateful that I live in modern times! The thing I always think about (besides how awful it must have been to get your period anytime before, say, the 1970s) is what it was like for people with bad eyesight. I need a very strong corrective prescription, so if I lived way back when I would be like, blind. Which terrifies me.

    • Words For Worms

      YES!!! Not only would the lady bits be horrendous, but I’ve often thought about if I were to be whisked back in time I’d be really handicapped by my eyesight. I don’t even have a super strong prescription, but I’d be USELESS at so many things without spectacles.

  3. Annabel Smith

    OOh lucky you. I saw Jo Baker speak about longbourn at Perth Writers festival this year. She was super interesting and also lovely – me and my mum met her afterwards and had a chat and she was so down to earth – and I was really fascinated by the grotty details of life back then.

  4. Jennifer @ The Relentless Reader

    I was so curious about this when it came out. I wanted to read it but…oh my word, I’m SUCH a snob about Austen. I have this thing about reading anything that uses her work. The thing is… that I won’t. 😉 What is that all about anyway? I’ve heard nothing but great things about this. I need to knock it off and just read it already!

    Have a great time at the event! Take pics!

    • Words For Worms

      You know, it really does Austen justice. I get a bit cranky when I see romances spinning off about Darcy and Elizabeth’s happily ever after, but this was fabulous. You could put the two books side by side and follow characters from one room into another. Extremely well researched, perfect for Austen pedants.

  5. Melissa Beck

    I really enjoyed this book as well! I love Jane Austen and I think this book was done so well. Have fun at the event. Which library is Jo Baker appearing at?

  6. Jennine G.

    The good thing is it’s been awhile since I’ve read P&P, so I would miss most discrepancies, if any! Lol. I did read the slave perspective of Gone With The Wind (called The Wind Done Gone) and hadn’t cared for it much, but it was more of a personal taste thing. Sending this to a friend who is reading P&P right now! Take pics and have fun!

    • Words For Worms

      Ha! One of my favorite parts in the Outlander series is when Bree tells Roger that she dreams of toilet paper all the time. I KNOW that is what would happen to me!

  7. Jenny @ Reading the End

    Have fun at the author event! I hope it is awesome! And YES: I feel grateful EVERY DAY for living in a world with running water and flushing toilets and women voting and not having to haul coal up and down the stairs if you want to be warm. Or even much more recent amenities: I am super psyched and feel very lucky to have the internet.

Talk to me, Bookworms!

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