Baker, Jo. Longbourn
Amidst all the Jane Austen and Downton Abbey mania, this artfully crafted novel about the servants living behind the scenes of the Pride and Prejudice Bennett household stands out. Passed over in the original telling, servants Mr. and Mrs. Hill, Sarah, Polly and mysterious newcomer James are given the spotlight and their seemingly simple lives unfold into a compelling emotional complexity.
While watching the Bennett sisters navigate their own love lives, Sarah tries to interpret her own feelings about James, the first man that has ever made her think about life beyond service. His unexplained past, however, weighs heavily on Sarah and the rest of the servants. With the well-known plot of Pride and Prejudice functioning only as a subtle backdrop, this novel and the great love story it weaves rivals that of Lizzie and Mr. Darcy.