Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Longbourn by Jo Baker

In the novel Longbourn, Jo Baker takes the setting and plot of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and re-imagines the story by focusing in on the lives of the servantry.  Downstairs at Longbourn, the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill, lives with her husband who acts as both butler and chauffeur.   Longbourn also employs Sarah, ladies' maid to Elizabeth and her sisters, and Polly, who helps with many different chores around the estate.  The servants spend their days washing clothes, scrubbing floors, preparing meals, and attending to the Bennett family.  Things are pretty mundane until a new, mysterious footman arrives.  Sarah is quite curious about James and his past and is determined to find out more about him.  

My Thoughts:
It is apparent that much research went into the creation of this story.  Jo Baker does an amazing job of retelling Pride and Prejudice through the eyes of its servants.  She closely follows Austen's original plot, but gives readers an entirely different perspective.  While I am often skeptical of classical retellings,  I quickly became entranced with the characters in Longbourn and found myself plowing through the novel.  Fans of Downton Abbey are sure to devour this one! 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando

As soon as she receives her roommate assignment from UC Berkeley, high school senior Elizabeth shoots off an email to introduce herself to her roommate and figure out all the logistics of rooming together.  While Elizabeth is super excited to converse with her new roommate during the summer months leading up to their freshman year, Lauren does not initially show the same enthusiasm.  Alternating perspectives from both Lauren and Elizabeth give readers a glimpse into the lives of their families. Growing up with a single mom and an estranged father, Elizabeth's home life is very different from Lauren's.  While Elizabeth is a bit envious of Lauren's big family and parents who are not divorced, Lauren is jealous of the time that Elizabeth has to herself without siblings running around.  As the novel progresses and their first face-to-face meeting approaches, both Lauren and Elizabeth realize that having a roommate may not be as easy as they once thought.  

My Thoughts:  
While I am obviously not in the same stage of life as Lauren and Elizabeth, I remember the summer before my freshman year of college and all of the unknowns that went along with those summer months.  This easy to read, face-paced novel is one of those books that you just won't want to put down. I highly recommend it to female teens about to embark into the new world of college and to female adults wanting to reminisce a little. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Flavia de Luce Giveaway!

The new Flavia de Luce novel by Alan Bradley has just been released!  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches is the 6th Flavia novel. If you haven't read any of the previously released Flavia novels, be sure to check out our review of the first book: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie.  While the Flavia novels are part of a series, each one is a story on its own and you could easily jump in with book 6.  If you enjoy mystery mixed with laugher, you will love this series.  Use the widget below to enter. Good luck!