I’ve always been interested in having a list of books I have read, I imagine it to be impressively long and gratifyingly diverse. I’m a little worried that it will be short and full of junk, but we’ll find out together as I’ve decided to list and review 2015 ‘s books here. I read a bunch of Christmas themed novels during the holidays (I’m a sucker for all things Christmas) but I’m going with novels finished in this calendar year so only have the one to include so far.
Longbourn by Jo Baker is the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice but from the point of view of the servants. It’s not a retelling of P & P but the story of the servants with the dramas of the Bennett and the Bingleys and Mr Darcy as the background.
Every time there’s a dinner or ball in P & P it is prepared in Longbourn or the carriage and the footman waits outside. It is amazing the hard life of those not born to prove legs. The sheer amount of work that a few people are expected to do in order to allow the gentry the luxury of a ratified existence. I felt the novel took a little while to warm up, although that may have been partly because I was camping and distracted when I started it.
But as I came to know the characters and recognize the familiar touchstones from the original novel, I really began to enjoy it and to look forward to the story development. The restrictions on their personal choices, the absolute reliance on their employers for their ability to live, it smudges the romanticism of the traditional fictional focus on the lords and ladies, then upstairs.
I would recommend Longbourn to others, providing you enjoy period novels and particularly if you enjoyed P & P
This post was written on my phone, I find it a bit difficult to convey much personality, I hope my next post will be a little more sparkling 🙂