Another dose of Jane
I'm reading Longbourn by Jo Baker and I'm absolutely loving it. It's a take on Pride and Prejudice, a retelling from the underbelly of the servants quarters - familiar and decidedly different.
I love Jane Austen. Through the years I've consumed almost any and all movie that comes out related to Jane Austen, including the most recent Austenland (which I really liked, btw), and I've reread Jane's original novels numerous times.
In my attempt to stretch out the Jane experience, I've sampled many of the Jane Austen spin off books, some serious, some a bit ridiculous - Pride and Prejudice from Darcy's perspective, a sequel to Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen as an amateur sleuth, and Jane Austen as a vampire - as well as numerous modern heroines who end up in some Janeish twist by going to a convention of Jane Austen fans or travelling back in time or going to a Jane Austen themepark (Austenland, if you haven't seen it). And I hate to say, they almost all disappoint me, although I don't want to paint them with a broad brush, because I haven't tried them all.
But Longbourne, I am thoroughly enjoying. The story unveils new characters and the well known plot of Pride and Prejudice only shows up in glints here and there, just enough to keep you anchored and give you a wink from time to time. The narrative style does not copy Jane Austen, so I'm not comparing it in my mind and it is well-written, literary and rich without being too slow. She writes very descriptively, really taking you into the time and place and all five senses, what it would be like to be a servant in this time, including chillblains, hog rendering, dirty linens and chamberpots. This is Jane Austen's world from the servants' eyes, who are not going to the balls but sewing and laundering and pressing and fixing hair and waiting up late with tea and refreshments for the partygoers to come home. I've found myself thinking of all my modern conveniences and comforts with fresh gratitude as I read.
Reading is still such a delicious pleasure. I come home from the library sometimes with many more books than I have time to finish, having my hands full taking care of my little boy, but in the hour before sleep, I love the quiet time when I get lost between the pages of something new.
Anything new you're reading and adoring these days?
p.s. You can follow me on Goodreads here.