longbourne

Oh dear!!!

So I am reading a book called Longbourne by Jo Baker. Basically P and P from the servants’ point of view.

And I have to take it back to the library tomorrow! I can’t renew it! I have about two hours to read the whole god damn thing because there are so many reservations. HELP

If I manage to do this, I don’t know what will happen. 

Wish me luck, I’ll need it. 

“Charlotte’s kindness extended farther than Elizabeth had any conception of; its object was nothing else than to secure her from any return of Mr. Collins’s addresses, by engaging them towards herself. ….it led him to escape out of Longbourn House the next morning with admirable slyness, and hasten to Lucas Lodge to throw himself at her feet.” Pride and Prejudice, Ch 22 

Review of Longbourn by Jo Baker

A telling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the servants Hall, Jo Baker’s Longbourn is an intriguing new take on a well known classic.

Longbourn is the home of the Bennett family and the setting of this novel. Mr and Mrs Hill, the housekeeper and butler, have helped to raise Sarah the maid who they took from the workhouse as a child. Another young servant comes to work at Longbourne and after a fraught beginning the two fall in love but it is only a matter of time before James’s dark past means he is forced to leave again.

Longbourn can be easily divided into two sections, first where the lives of those above stairs rule the plot and the second, longer section which becomes a story in it’s own right. Baker deals well with keeping the upstairs characters as readers of Pride and Prejudice would expect them to be. There are also new and interesting character developments occurring such as Wickham who appears to wish to ruin James and the other maid Polly simply for the pleasure of it.

However, other characters such as Mr Bennett and Mr Hill change beyond all recognition for what seems to be only to produce a twist or a shock in the reader.

Jo’s prose style feels natural and she easily takes you with her to the house and grounds. She quickly establishes a warm friendliness between characters, particularly Sarah, Mrs Hill and Polly which pulls the reader in as well. These women have formed their own family downstairs and are protectively fond of each other.

The relationship between Sarah and James is touching and beautifully mirrors the fraught relations between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy upstairs. Baker frequently illustrates that the temptations are just the same upstairs as down and that they are all as equally likely to succumb to them.

Longbourn is full of twists and turns, some of them fairly obvious and some more inventive but it does not disappoint. It is just as good a read whether you already know the characters or not. It compliments Austen’s work and it is also a well written novel in it’s own right.

On a personal note I am thrilled to see Jo getting such recognition and praise for her writing as she has been for Longbourne because she was one of my creative writing tutors at Lancaster University and a thoroughly nice and talented lady.

my favorite thing about rereading pride and prejudice is seeing how many ways mr. fitzwilliam “my nerd son” darcy tries to show lizzy he’s hot to trot and she has no fuckin clue

“But why Mr. Darcy came so often to the Parsonage, it was more difficult to understand.”

“Mr. Darcy drew his chair a little towards her, and said ‘You cannot have a right to such a strong local attachment. You cannot have always been at Longbourn.’”

“He smiled, and assured her that whatever she wished him to say should be said.”

“Mr. Darcy corroborated it with a bow, and was beginning to determine not to fix his eyes on Elizabeth”

“More than once did Elizabeth in her ramble within the Park, unexpectedly meet Mr. Darcy. – She felt all the perverseness of the mischance that should bring him where no one else was brought; and to prevent its ever happening again, took care to inform him at first, that it was a favorite haunt of hers.– How it could occur a second time therefore was very odd!–Yet it did, and even a third.”

in conclusion: LOOK AT THIS NERD

Book Review - Pride and Prejudice

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” 

As one of the most famous opening statements in English literary history, Austen opens our eyes to an English country society born on constraints and expectations.  Women in refined upper classes are expected to marry and they have to do so whilst thinking of their families. Marrying well provides security and the chance to move within important social circles. 

With a family of five daughters and an estate that is entailed against them, the Bennets of Longbourn have no choice but to conform to the restrictions society places on them. Elizabeth Bennet, our protagonist and the second of the five sisters, has deep beliefs on romance and what she wants from a prospective partner though she much prefers to witness the connection of others over herself. Very similar to her father in personality she prides herself on being sensible and removed from the flightiness and silliness that afflicts her mother and her younger siblings Mary, Kitty and Lydia. Her confidante is Jane, the oldest Bennet sister and arguably the daughter who is completely bound by society. Born of beauty, intelligence and grace it is she who must protect the family from financial ruin and eventually homelessness. Drawn from the relationship between Austen and her older sister Cassandra, they are the pillars that hold the family together. 

After the arrival of new wealthy inhabitants to Netherfield House, all expectations of Jane and Elizabeth are heightened and it is this event that becomes the catalyst for the entire novel. Thrown into the culture of meeting future partners in assembly rooms and ballrooms, Elizabeth becomes acquainted with Mr Darcy, a very wealthy and handsome gentleman of whom in society, possesses pride and rank. They couldn’t be any more different, but thrown together under many unforeseen circumstances Elizabeth and Darcy learn that society cannot refrain the true depths of love and companionship

Entwined by wit, sarcasm, and intelligence, Pride and Prejudice is most importantly a story that teaches us about the danger of first impressions. 

I first read this novel when I was about thirteen or fourteen and to date I have never read another classic - maybe apart from Persuasion - that contains so much strength and power. My love for this book and its 1995 BBC adaptation holds no bounds and there is always something new to learn with every re-read. The plethora of different characters make it such an entertaining read and although I might find myself more infuriated with Lydia, Mr Collins and Caroline Bingley with every page, there is no denying that Austen has created a true classic that will continue to be loved by every generation across the globe.   

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at the end of this story (which has been and will be my FAVORITE BOOK) I the Bennet sister I Feel sorriest for isn’t Lydia though he made the decision to marry Wickam which she won’t go long before regretting… No I feel sorriest for Mary Bennet for being left in Longbourn with Mrs. Bennet and Kitty.

I feel like a lot of the time Mary’s the forgotten Bennet sister but with Jane and Lizzie both married she’s stuck in the house with her one sister left and her scattered mother who she clearly doesn’t connect with for being so introverted… she appears the cleverest of the sister apart from Lizzie just think of how bloody BORED she’d be.

the one ray of hope for her I suppose is that with Elizabeth married and settled with Darcy she takes the spot of Mr. Bennet’s Favorite daughter 

I admit, I made all of The Decent One’s named first years in The Sims 4 to interact with each other.

I had the Hufflepuff boys go over to the house of the Ravenclaw girls because I wanted to get a friendship started between Reagan and Elsa.

And I see, isolated in a corner, Connor Bailey and Felicity Longbourne having a pleasant conversation.

AND IT’S TOO CUTE AND NOW I WANT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN EVENTUALLY.