Friday - - Great Reads -

by Jo Baker

While Jane, El­iz­a­beth and the rest of the Ben­net girls were busy hus­band­hunt­ing and skip­ping in and out of balls in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prej­u­dice, the ser­vants down­stairs at Long­bourn House had a lot of chores to do to keep the idyl­lic house­hold run­ning. Per­fectly timed for the Down­ton Abbey gen­er­a­tion, Darcy and El­iz­a­beth’s mat­ri­mo­nial con­cerns are swept aside as we meet Sarah – the Ben­nets’ gutsy, book­ish house­maid – and James, their mys­te­ri­ous new foot­man. Baker strips the Re­gency novel of its veil of pro­pri­ety and opens read­ers up to the other end of the so­cial spec­trum in Austen land. Like the orig­i­nal novel, Long­bourn is a riv­et­ing, witty and ro­man­tic read – per­haps all the more so be­cause of the dirty linen.

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