My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'm very hesitant to read any books that claim to continue stories by Jane Austen, but were not written by dear Jane herself. I like reading her original works without alteration, continuation, or even being finished at all because I like the work of Jane Austen.
It was with some reluctance that I took the recommendation of a friend and decided to read Longbourn. One reason I was willing to read it is because it's different. It's not continuing a story but rather supporting the story of Pride and Prejudice with another story. The story of the servantry "downstairs". Events in this book parallel events in Austen's original work.
The main character is Sarah, a young housemaid who desires to experience the world rather than stay trapped in hard work at Longbourn for the rest of her life. The other main characters are the rest of the servants of the Bennet household with supporting characters from servants of the Bingley and Darcy households. Characters readers will recognize from Pride and Prejudice show up in various forms, from brief appearances to having life-changing interactions with the servants.
The author, Jo Baker, seems to have a very realistic perspective of what servants (and soldiers)may have experienced at that time. In comparison to the writing of Austen, Baker uses very graphic language and explicit images at various points throughout the book.
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