Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Longbourn (Jo Baker)

baker, jo - longbourn

★★★★★★☆

Title: Longbourn
Author: Jo Baker
Genre: Historical Fiction    Pages: 443
First published: 2013
Edition: Paperback, published by Transworld Books in 2014

It is wash-day for the housemaids at Longbourn House, and Sarah’s hands are chapped and raw. Domestic life below stairs, ruled with a tender heart and an iron will by Mrs Hill the housekeeper, is about to be disturbed by the arrival of a new footman, bearing secrets and the scent of the sea.

When I started this novel based on Pride and Prejudice I realised I had read it before, probably around the time it came out. Since I did not remember much about it I was happy to read it again. I worried it would not be very good since I had completely forgotten I had already read it!

I was pleasantly surprised. The story, centered around the Bennets’ servants, is very well told. I loved all the details about their chores and their daily lives compared to the Bennets. Our main character Sarah is a sweet hard-working girl, and it is easy to like her.

The ‘cast’ from Pride and Prejudice appear here and there and you recognise the events, but it never feels like it leans too heavily on the classic we all know and love. In fact I thought it was quite interesting to see those characters ‘behind-the-scenes;, as it were. All in all, it does manage to very much feels like its own book. It would have worked even if it had not used Jane Austen’s novel as its skeleton.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it is a thoughtfully written historical novel in which you learn a lot more about the time period in which the Austen novels are set and written, and not just the pretty things.

A bit of a gem in my opinion.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

December 2018 Reading Wrap-Up

2018 is over and so is December! The last third of December is always a bit tricky as there is almost so much going on!

In the end I am pretty happy that I managed to read 9 books.

These are the books and the order I am read them in:

1. The Christmas Forest (Rebecca Boxall) ★★★★★☆☆
2. The Light in the Dark (Horatio Clare) ★★★★★★☆
3. Christmas at Conwenna Cove (Darcie Boleyn) ★★★★★☆☆
4. The Muse (Jessie Burton) ★★★★☆☆☆
5. Wives and Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell) ★★★★★★☆
6. Hunting Annabelle (Wendy Heard) ★★★★★☆☆
7. Winterdance (Gary Paulson) ★★★★★★☆
8. Midwinter (Fiona Melrose) ★★★★★★★
9. A Winter Flame (Milly Johnson) ★★★☆☆☆☆

December was a pretty mixed bag. I read three chick lit novels, which is unusual for me. Two were really good, one not so much. Four books were part of my Winter Project.  I was disappointed with A Winter Flame and The Muse, but pleased I finished Wives and Daughters, which I loved in the end. I re-read Winterdance, which was wonderful and managed to find a new non-fiction favourite in The Light in the Dark. On top of that, I read my favourite book of the year, Midwinter.

 

BOOK OF THE MONTH:

Midwinter by Fiona Melrose was my first 7-star fiction read since starting my blog. The writing and slow story blew me away. I just thought it was beautiful and I am so so glad I read it. A treasure for sure!