Jo will be talking about her latest book Longbourn.
A brilliantly imagined, irresistible below-stairs answer to Pride and Prejudice: a story of the romance, intrigue, and drama among the servants of the Bennet household, a triumphant tale of defying society's expectations, and an illuminating glimpse of working-class lives in Regency England, a world of poverty, love and brutal war.
Our heroine is Sarah, an orphaned housemaid beginning to chafe against the boundaries of her class. When the militia marches into town, a new footman arrives under mysterious circumstances, and Sarah finds herself the object of the attentions of an ambitious young former slave working at neighbouring Netherfield Hall. The carefully choreographed world downstairs at Longbourn threatens to be completely, perhaps irrevocably, up-ended. From the stern but soft-hearted housekeeper to the starry-eyed kitchen maid, these new characters come vividly to life in this already beloved world.
Jo Baker includes enough of the plot of Pride and Prejudice so that an Austen novice will not get lost, and an Austen lover has the satisfaction of matching the novels chapter for chapter.
"A must-read for fans of Jane Austen, this literary tribute stands on its own as a captivating love story." Publishers Weekly
"Brilliantly imaginative spin on Pride and Prejudice, this gripping novel tells the story of the servant... Painstakingly researched, it captures the atmosphere of Austen's England perfectly." Sunday Mirror
Jo Baker was born in Lancashire. She was educated at Oxford and at Queen's University, Belfast, where she completed a PhD on the work of the Anglo-Irish writer Elizabeth Bowen. Her first novel, Offcomer, was published by William Heinemann in 2002. Her second book, The Mermaid's Child, was published in August 2004. The Telling was published in 2010 and The Undertow was published in 2011.
Jo Baker has also written for BBC Radio 4, and her short stories have been included in a number of anthologies. From 2001-2003 she was the Artistic Director of the Belfast Literary Festival.
Jo Baker's website is www.jobakerwriter.com