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Review

Longbourn

31 August 2021
Written by: Jo Baker
Review by: Hilary Newton
Genre: Historical Fiction

This book tells the servant’s side of events to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It has some scandal and twists that I really enjoyed.

The story centres around Sarah, a house maid that was taken in from the workhouse as a child by Mrs Hill (cook and housekeeper of the Bennet Family). Her days are spent in hard slog washing, cleaning, heavy lifting and all around drudgery a very stark contrast to the Bennet sisters who practiced their needlework or as in Mary’s case reading Fordyce's sermons.

The book looks at some of the underlying darker themes of the era, the Bingley Family amassing their fortune from Sugar Plantations/Slavery in the West Indies, the Napoleonic Wars and fight for control of the Iberian Peninsula and how men without any other prospects took the King’s shilling and joined the Army, and how those without work could find themselves roaming the roads or in the workhouses.  

If I was to born in those times I would pray I was from a rich family that’s for sure. I think all in all, pandemic aside we are living in a better time.