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We meet both familiar and new characters in the downstairs story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There’s Mrs. Hill, of course, but housemaids Sarah and Polly along with Mr. Hill and the mysterious new footman James Smith. Oh, yes, and there’s Mr. Bingley’s footman with many reasons to come to call at Longbourn. If people fault Jo Baker it will be for her slightly too contemporary sensibilities. But, I liked this alot. She’s stays close to Austen’s narrative, but infuses much more history—the war with the French, the triangle of trade that brought sugar to England, but took enslaved people to the Caribbean. James and Sarah are wonderful protagonists who you so hope have a happy ending, too.
posted Jan 8, 2014 at 10:15AM
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