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With Downton Abbey becoming a pop culture phenomenon on both British and American television, it’s no surprise that British author Jo Baker had class divide on her mind when she first began contemplating her newest novel. Baker began thinking about the fact that her family roots are in English service, which inspired her to write about the Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, but from a very different angle.
Thus emerged Longbourn, a title about the Bennet household found in Austen’s famous novel but told through the perspectives of the faithful crew working there. In Baker’s vision, a housemaid will fall in love with the new footman and a romance will ensue. This is pretty parallel to the story of Ms. Bennet and Mr. Darcy, but from a different class perspective.
Though Longbourn has not yet been published and won’t hit shelves for a long while, it’s already a success story. In fact, the whole process has been a little more like a fairytale. According to BBC News, the book was sent out a week ago and within days U.S. publisher Knopf had picked the title up, as did U.K. publisher Doubleday. Additionally, translations across multiple countries have been put into the works and the film rights have already been bought by Random House Studio and Focus Features. Longbourn is actually Baker’s fifth novel, but it may be the one that makes her a household name.
Buyers will be able to catch the title in hardback and e-book format, beginning in 2014, with paperback copies following later.