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Longbourn - Jo Baker

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Jo Baker
Random House Canada
UK Publication Date

A brilliantly imagined, irresistible below-stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice: a story of the romance, intrigue and drama among the servants of the Bennet household, a triumphant tale of defying society's expectations, and an illuminating glimpse of working-class lives in Regency England.

The servants at Longbourn estate--only glancingly mentioned in Jane Austen's classic--take centre stage in Jo Baker's lively, cunning new novel. Here are the Bennets as we have never known them: seen through the eyes of those scrubbing the floors, cooking the meals, emptying the chamber pots. Our heroine is Sarah, an orphaned housemaid beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When the militia marches into town, a new footman arrives under mysterious circumstances, and Sarah finds herself the object of the attentions of an ambitious young former slave working at neighboring Netherfield Hall, the carefully choreographed world downstairs at Longbourn threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, up-ended. From the stern but soft-hearted housekeeper to the starry-eyed kitchen maid, these new characters come vividly to life in this already beloved world. Jo Baker shows us what Jane Austen wouldn't in a captivating, wonderfully evocative, moving work of fiction.

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JO BAKER was born in Lancashire and educated at Oxford University and Queen's University Belfast. She is the author of The Undertow, and of 3 earlier novels published in the United Kingdom: Offcomer, The Mermaid's Child and The Telling. She lives in Lancaster.

A New York Times Notable Book

"An elegantly executed twist on the celebrated story…. It has as much suspense, drama and romance as any Austen fan could hope for, coupled with a smart social commentary on the injustices of poverty and class in 19th-century England."

"Longbourn is delightfully audacious; after all, Jane Austen is a very tough act to follow…. An absorbing and moving story about the servants at Longbourn…. A work that's both original and charming, even gripping, in its own right."
-The New York Times Book Review

"Engrossing Austen homage…. Austen's novel serves as a backdrop for the compelling stories of the characters who keep the Bennet household running."
-Booklist (starred review)

"A must-read for fans of Austen, this literary tribute also stands on its own as a captivating love story."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Densely plotted and achingly romantic. This exquisitely reimagined Pride and Prejudice will appeal to Austen devotees and to anyone who finds the goings-on below the stairs to be at least as compelling as the ones above. Highly recommended."
-Library Journal (starred review)

"Captivating and delicious. A brilliantly imagined and lovingly told story about the wide world beyond the margins and outside the parlors of Pride and Prejudice."
Maggie Shipstead, author of Seating Arrangements

"Sure to be welcomed as a delicious concoction ofPride and PrejudicemeetsDownton Abbey.. . .YetLongbournstands on its own as an engrossing, intelligent historical novel whose resonances withPride and Prejudicego much further than its brilliantly plausible presentation of downstairs life. . . .Baker is a real and very fine writer."
-James Collins, author of the bestselling novel Beginner's Greek

"An irresistible retake onPride and Prejudicealters the familiar perspective by foregrounding a different version of events-the servants'.... Sequels and prequels rarely add to the original, but Baker's simple yet inspired reimagining does. It has bestseller stamped all over it."
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Inspired … a richly imagined story [that] recasts Austen's novel in a startlingly fresh light... an intoxicating love story but, also like Austen, the pleasure of her novel liesinits wit and fierce intelligence. The result is a triumph: asplendid tribute to Austen's original but, more importantly, a joy in its own right, a novel that contrives both to provoke the intellect and, ultimately, tostop the heart."
-The Guardian (UK)

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