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Longbourn Does Not Disappoint

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Bibliophiles, I just saw the trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and it got me thinking about Jane Austen's work and the cottage industry that has erupted around it.

In that spirit, here is one of my favorite Austen offshoots, Longbourn by Jo Baker.


Longbourn
By Jo Baker
Vintage Books, 2013
332 pages








Jane Austen’s world is filled with carriages, ball gowns, manor homes, and elaborate dinner parties. Part of the fun for me has been dreaming of these glorious occasions, of someone lacing me into my gown or cooking every meal.

But who cleaned Elizabeth Bennet’s muddy dress after she trudged to Netherfield Park?

Jo Baker provides a possible answer in her excellent novel, Longbourn. Although described as Pride and Prejudice meets Downton Abbey, it really is so much more.

For all my years of reading Austen, I never once thought about the Herculean task of laundry day at the Bennet home, where the book opens, or the monumental effort it took cooks of the period to serve three me…