THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER
A RICHARD AND JUDY BOOKCLUB PICK
'Utterly engrossing' Guardian
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…
Why read it?
2 authors picked Longbourn as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
Why do I think Sarah, the orphaned housemaid to the Bennet family (of Pride and Prejudice fame) is a kick-ass heroine? Because despite never being given a surname, she’s smart and observant, she’s not afraid of having a mixed-race relationship (unusual in 1813), and she leaves the safety (I won’t say comfort) of her job at Longbourn to find and help a man in trouble. I loved re-reading Pride and Prejudice from a maid’s point of view. Lots of dress washing and chamberpot emptying, and snarky remarks about class differences.
This book turns Pride and Prejudice on its head, but in a good way. Of course, we all love reading about the trials and triumphs of Elizabeth Bennett and her sisters, but there’s a lot more going on inside their home than what the gentleman’s daughters are aware of. Servants are the cogs in the well-oiled machine of Longbourn and they experience just as much joy and heartache as any pampered miss. To be clear, this isn’t a lighthearted story, but it is a very good one.
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