This charming re-telling of Pride and Prejudice through the eyes of the Bennet’s servants also gives readers an insight into the tough conditions many people faced in Regency England.
Jo Baker’s novel is filled with detail and picks up and uses the small details from Pride and Prejudice to create an entirely new and refreshing story involving the servants. But it never forgets the original story,making constant references to the story evolving upstairs.
This new story follows Sarah and the life of the other servants living at Longbourn, going into great detail of the duties that they and other servants in houses during that period would have had to carry out – adding a new perspective that perhaps fans of the original story will not have considered.
Readers are given a fresh opportunity to re-evaluate the characters from Pride and Prejudice – in particular Mr Collins who comes across as more lonely than patronising and Mr Bennet who is more self-involved than originally thought. Baker has expanded the characters and developed them to change the reader’s perspective of Austen’s original story.
If there is one section that distracts from the story it is the background section of footman James, who when he first appears is very withdrawn and enclosed – but as his story unfolds and his relationship with the Longbourn house goes deeper than that of a servant and we learn of his time in the army, the reader can get a real sense of his personality. But the section that talks about his time in the army goes on for quite a while and is perhaps overly detailed and distracts slightly from the main story.
But this aside, it is is a clever and imaginative version of Pride and Prejudice with plenty of character development and a strong plot that makes it a strong stand alone novel that deserves more merit than just being known as retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel.
Longbourn is available to buy from Amazon now.