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Longbournby Jo Baker
Reading Group Guide
The questions, discussion topics, and reading list that follow are intended to enhance your reading group’s discussion of Longbourn, the captivating new novel by Jo Baker that proves that Pride and Prejudice was only half the story.
1. What did you think of Jo Baker’s stylistic choice to include multiple characters’ perspectives in a single chapter? Do you think it enhanced the book?
2. What were your thoughts on the beginning of Volume Three, which was dedicated entirely to James Smith?
3. How would you compare and contrast the love stories between Sarah and James, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy?
4. Longbourn provides an alternative angle to Pride and Prejudice. Can you think of a classic novel that you would like to see rewritten in another character’s voice?
5. What did you make of each chapter’s introductory quote? Were there any that you were particularly drawn to? Why?
6. Lizzie Bennet is a much-loved heroine. Has Longbourn changed your view of her at all? Do you think she acts selfishly in relation to Sarah?
7. For those who have read Pride and Prejudice recently, do you know the significance in Pride and Prejudice of the whipping that Sarah witnesses in Longbourn?
8. Longbourn is a book that stands alone as having its own story, characters and themes–how far has the author ensured her novel is not pastiche, that it is a novel with a separate identity?
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