Friday, January 17, 2014


Title: Longbourn
Author:  Jo Baker
Publication Information:  Knopf. 2013. 352 pages.

Book Source:  I read this book because I love Pride and Prejudice, and this book is described as Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey.

Favorite Quote:  "Things could change so entirely, in a heartbeat; the world could be made entirely anew, because someone was kind.”

Longbourn is the home of the Bennett family from Pride and Prejudice. This is the story of the home help in that household - the housekeeper, the maids, and the footman.

I have several reasons why I did not enjoy the book. First, even though this is a book about the housemaids, I did not expect as much description of laundry and cleaning as this book contains. It becomes unpleasant reading especially as some descriptions speak of the hygiene and other habits that renders the cleaning necessary. Again, it may be central to the "downstairs" view, but I find the detailed descriptions unnecessary to the story of this book.

Second, a significant section of the book is devoted to a flashback providing one character's back story. This story becomes a story of war and of the horrific aspects of war. Again, the back story may be central to that character, but it is unexpected and jarring in what is otherwise a tale of home and family life.

Third, Mrs. Hill is the Longbourn housekeeper with secrets of her own. One she keeps to maintain her husband's position. The second she keeps for the sake of societal propriety. Again, both "secrets" and story lines seem not to flow with the book.

Fourth, the story of Sarah the maid and her lover is resolved rather quickly. The are separated, and he is on the run. Then, she finds him, and all is well. It seems a little far fetched.

The fourth relates to Pride and Prejudice. This book portrays most of the characters from Pride and Prejudice as relatively unlikable. That may well be the "downstairs" view of them, but to me, it becomes a deterrent to enjoying the book.

Overall, I am able to set aside the fact it is based on Pride and Prejudice and its treatment of those characters. Even otherwise, I am unable to enjoy the book.


  1. I agree 100% with your opinions on Longbourn. My review was pretty much the same, except I'm not very forgiving about the liberties taken with the characters from Pride and Prejudice. =) I just did not enjoy it all around. Hope you're on to reading something you like now!

    1. Thank you for stopping by Mia. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorites as it seems it is for you. This book unfortunately even without the comparison, did not appeal to me. I tried Death Comes to Pemberly ( and did not care for that either. A while ago (pre-blog), I did read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. That one stayed true to the original plot lines, and I did find really amusing. Have you read any of those?