I love the Australian magazine Frankie. Gorgeous drawings, hilarious articles and anecdotes and pages of funky accessories that I’m not hipster enough to buy but alternative enough to enjoy staring at. It’s on beautiful paper (I get weird looks when I say that, but it’s completely true and any other bibliophile will understand) and satisfies my print magazine craving in a way that only a few magazines can.
Imagine my surprise today when, in Issue 64, I flicked open to a gorgeous picture of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet (based on the BBC Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle drama), both reading and facing in different directions. Love love love it.
“She slid a finger over the mantel, laid a hand on the snowy freshness of the linen… She sniffed: beeswax, the tang of vinegar, soft woodsmoke from the crackling fire. ‘Well done. Good girls. You should be proud of that.’”– Longbourn, Jo Baker, page 131
Jo Baker’s Longbourn is everything that a Pride and Prejudice retelling should be – true to Austen, romantic, sensitive, thoughtful and, importantly, original. Bringing a new spin to our beloved Jane Austen’s creation, Baker has spun a story that is so separate and new from the Darcy/Lizzy love story, but that provides you glimpses of the original from a removed viewpoint. Think about this: Who has to wash Elizabeth’s petticoats after she has trudged through the mud?
Many of the places in this novel are real, and yet many are fictitious. These facts aren’t pointed out until you look into it and start matching up the locations on a map. The anonymity of some areas is further suggested when Austen blanks out the names of towns with a “-“. But where does the boundary between reality and fiction lie? Most Pride and Prejudice readers will tell you that Longbourn is a completely fictional town in Hertforshire. But is this really so? Continue reading