Katie Allen 7 February 2013 - 4:15pm
Jane Austen's classic love story to be retold
They are usually glimpsed lacing corsets, raking fireplaces or carrying tea trays, but the servants of one of the 19th-century's most-loved novels are to get their side of the story told in a new novel.
Publisher Doubleday is to release a below-stairs retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in August this year, titled Longbourn.
Author Jo Baker said: "Jane Austen was my first experience of grown-up literature. But as I read and re-read her books, I began to become aware that if I'd been living at the time, I wouldn't have gone to the ball; I would have been stuck at home with the sewing.
"Just a few generations back, my family were in service. Aware of that English class thing, Pride and Prejudice begins to read a little differently."
As with Austen's own novels, the book looks set for cinema screens, with film rights already sold, and publishers in Spain, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Brazil, France and Sweden also buying rights to publish.
Publisher Marianne Velmans described Longbourn as "a beautiful, stylish, moving and totally compelling novel which, while following Austen’s timeline, presents a completely original love story against the harsh backdrop of working people’s lives in Regency England".