Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication date: October 2013
For: Book Club
If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.Things I Liked:
In this irresistibly imagined belowstairs answer to Pride and Prejudice, the servants take center stage. Sarah, the orphaned housemaid, spends her days scrubbing the laundry, polishing the floors, and emptying the chamber pots for the Bennet household. But there is just as much romance, heartbreak, and intrigue downstairs at Longbourn as there is upstairs. When a mysterious new footman arrives, the orderly realm of the servants’ hall threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, upended.
Jo Baker dares to take us beyond the drawing rooms of Jane Austen’s classic—into the often overlooked domain of the stern housekeeper and the starry-eyed kitchen maid, into the gritty daily particulars faced by the lower classes in Regency England during the Napoleonic Wars—and, in doing so, creates a vivid, fascinating, fully realized world that is wholly her own.
This was one of the most interesting and best spin-offs of a Jane Austen book I've read. Probably because it had nothing really to do with the story. Makes you think of the Bennet family much differently - maybe not love them as much. It definitely opened my eyes to the working classes at the time and the struggles they dealt with (ugh the description of diapers just about did me in - and I used cloth diapers! :).
Things I Didn't Like:
I really was annoyed with James and what he did near the end of the book - it seemed pretty stupid. Also, the ever switching of points of view got rather annoying sometimes. I didn't notice just how often it happened until someone pointed it out. It happened mid-paragraph sometimes!
Tons of Pride and Prejudice retellings and spin-offs out there :)
BOOK CONTENT RATINGS:
probably a few
some implied and not so implied stuff
Overall rating: ****
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