Longbourn by Jo Baker
Longbourn is the story of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the Bennet’s servants. While Elizabeth runs carefree through a muddy field, it is the servant, Sara, who has to wash her petticoats and remove the stains. When the girls are invited to parties it is the mysterious footman, James who takes them there and waits outside in the cold to bring them home and who takes care of the horses. Mrs Hill, the housekeeper, makes all the extra meals and keeps everything in order when there are visitors, while Sara and a young orphan girl, Polly, clean and refresh the bedrooms and empty chamber pots.
After a hard day’s work, these servants gather in the warmth of the downstairs kitchen and build strong family connections and experience romance and heartbreak just as the Bennets do upstairs, but their closeness could be threatened when the Militia come to town.
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel of the downstairs life at Longbourn with its details of life in the early 19th century. This is a heartwarming story which can be enjoyed in its own right, but Jane Austen fans will have fun comparing the story.