If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah often thought, she’d most likely be a sight more careful with them.
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.
I really enjoyed the story of the lives of the servants as it occurred with the story of Pride and Prejudice. The characters were all a bit flawed and relatable. It felt very much like it was a story all of its own. Though I liked the parallel plot lines of the stories, I can’t say that I was too fond of my beloved Bennet characters being ever so slightly tarnished. Sure they are human but after all these years there are certain characters that I hold up to on a pedestal. By the end of the book it felt like I met my childhood hero and they didn’t live up to my expectations.
However, the story of Sarah and her time as a servant in the Bennet household was very charming. It’s a nice change of pace to read more stories about the common people over the gentry.
Would I recommend this:
Yes, especially if you are a Downton Abbey fan or fans of Victorian era literature.