As mentioned in my 2014 Reading Goals post, I'm trying to add more adult fiction into my diet. And, as I like to chronicle this stuff, here I am, chronicling it.
Right now, I'm (obviously) reading Jo Baker's Longbourn, which is Pride and Prejudice from the servants' perspective.
Feel free to read along! (If you end up posting about it, let me know in the comments and I'll link up.)
Mrs. Hill gives James Smith her patented Orphan Treatment, telling him at Longbourn, he'll always have food, and that "you eat, and then you work" (rather than the other way around) and I rather think that he's hers for life after that. He wins her over as well, as well as Mr. Hill, Polly, and Mrs. B.
Not Sarah, though. Despite him doing all of her most dreaded morning tasks—re-filling the wood and getting the fires going, lugging the water inside, etc.—which gives her an hour reprieve from work and gives Polly the chance for an always-needed catnap, he still makes her bristle.
Also, she realizes that James and the Mysterious Scotchman from the first chapter are one and the same, and that he's lying about where he came from.
- I'm really enjoying the push-pull of Sarah's feelings about James: she wants attention from him, and when she doesn't get it, she wants to kick him. But when he does something thoughtful, like opens a door for her or does all of those chores, she is thrown... which makes her want to kick him some more. I like that she finds him attractive, and that that ALSO makes her want to kick him.
- Basically, I like how prickly she is.
- He's wicked squirrelly about where he's been before, what he's done, who he's worked for, etc. WHAT IS HIS DEAL? IS HE A RUNAWAY OF SOME SORT WHO SECRETLY HAS BUCKETS OF MONEY AND WILL EVENTUALLY SWOOP SARAH AWAY FROM A DULL LIFE FULL OF TOIL?
- Even if none of that happens, all things considered, the servants at Longbourn have it pretty good (so far). I mean, comparatively. Despite the Bennets' apparent inability to see them as human beings (which makes sense given the era and culture), they aren't MEAN employers, in terms of personality or generosity.
- Oh! And there's a great Pride and Prejudice parallel moment in this chapter, except James' response is waaaaaaaaay more blunt than Mr. Darcy's:
"I don't know what to make of you at all," she said.
"Please don't trouble yourself to try."
versus the original:
"But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity."
"I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours," he coldly replied.