Wednesday, February 3, 2016
'Longbourn' Audiobook Review
Author: Jo Baker
Read by: Emma Fielding
Genre: Historical Fiction, Austen Homage
If you know Pride and Prejudice and have read it a few times (like me), this book starts out a lot of fun. You can follow the timeline of P&P in the background as the servants play out their own stories -- which tie slightly to the original text. Sarah immediately hates the new coachman James because he doesn't give her the time of day. Sound familiar?!
The narrator did an excellent job, too. Her accent and dramatic reading were perfect (especially for Jane). And the descriptions of the countryside and the house drew me further into the world of Austen. Elizabeth probably wouldn't have been such a walker if she had to wash her own petticoats, too true! It's far too easy for me to romanticize the life of the servants in a country estate and long to be in that kitchen while they are baking the bread or tarts.
However, I did not like the last (third) volume of this audiobook at all. The servant's lives diverged far from the Bennett's storyline, the author dropped a character completely and the James backstory was long and boring. Yes, the ending was cute but, UGH!, why did the author choose to go past Austen's P&P timeline by several years? It went from a charmingly coexisting homage to Austen to incohesive storytelling.
If you're an Austen fan, it might be worth it. Just skim the third volume to get to the happy ending.