Friday, December 27, 2013

Not Just Another Austen Wannabe

While I wouldn’t call myself a Jane Austen fanatic, I like me some Mr. Darcy action as much as the next gal. I have read Pride and Prejudice twice and watched the fairly recent movie version as well as the classic BBC miniseries. I tried in the past to read P&P spinoffs, the last attempt being P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley. I was not impressed. So it was with considerable trepidation that I picked up Jo Baker’s Longbourn, a version told from the perspective of the Bennets’ overworked maid, Sarah.

My verdict? I finished the book in two sittings, once before bed and again before work the next day, if that’s any indication! Believe it or not, Sarah’s love story rivals (and, depending on your taste, perhaps trumps) Elizabeth and Darcy’s in its simplicity and sacrifice. Jo Baker is a writer to take seriously—her prose is polished, sophisticated, and totally captivating. I will definitely keep an eye out for her future books and will be recommending Longbourn to Janeites (and others) in the meantime.

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