Monday, March 10, 2014

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Every time I read some author's take on Pride and Prejudice, I always get frustrated and say that I will never read another one.  Then, after a few years a new book will come along and I'll get sucked in again.  And I get frustrated again.

I thought this was going to be the book that broke the pattern. I was wrong. This is my book club's selection for March.  Sadly, that was on my recommendation.

Hailed as "Pride and Prejudice" meeting "Downton Abbey" I thought I couldn't go wrong.  I love P & P.  I love Downton.  What a perfect combination.  It just didn't deliver for me.

This book takes the events of P & P and retells them through the eyes of the servants of Longbourn, specifically Sarah, the housemaid.  I think they did an OK job, for the most part, of using the familiar storylines as the backdrop for the new story.  I just didn't find the characters or their storylines to be very interesting.  It took me a couple of weeks to get through the book, because I was never interested enough to read more than a few pages at a time.  If it wasn't for my two long train rides over the weekend, I don't know when I'd ever have finished it.

As always, I don't want to give away major plot points, so it will be a bit hard for me to explain exactly what I didn't like about the book.  Let me say this: if you are going to use a very familiar and very loved story, DON'T CHANGE IT!!!!  There is a major storyline in this book that is very different from P & P.  That bothers me.  If you've read it, or you do read it, let me know and we can talk about it.

One final rant.  I feel I know the original story pretty well.  It's no secret that I love it.  My daughter is named Darcy, after all.  I also feel I have a pretty good understanding of the characters.  I guess the biggest problem for me in reading another author's take on these characters is that their understanding of the characters is often different from mine. There is a section at the end of this book that takes place after P & P finished and it shows Elizabeth living at Pemberley as Mrs. Darcy.  She comes across as insecure at times and at others she is rude to the servant who has been with her since her youth.  I can't be alone in thinking that that is not how Elizabeth would have been.

So, if I ever tell you that I'm going to read a new take on P & P, please stop me.

1 comment:

  1. I think that adding Zombies would have helped this book. ;)