Thursday, 9 January 2014

Longbourn by Jo Baker

There could be no wearing of clothes without their laundering, just as surely as there could be no going without clothes, not in Hertfordshire anyway, and not in September.

This opening sentence is trying to be unusual but falls short. The only problem that follows is someone has to do the dirty laundry old style, by hand on a cold morning. A problem but not one that hooks. I was thinking to add the weather opening cliché label to this one but the cold weather is part of the boring problem and not obtrusively described, so I'll let it go.

The third paragraph interrupts the forward narrative as it tries to paint a picture of a setting with flowery language like:

Sheep huddled in drifts...
Birds...fluffed like thistledown...
...cows huffed clouds of sweet breath... [Ugh, I can't get my mind to buy and sell that one.]

And that's just a taste; it goes on and on. Definitely on the overwritten side of purple. The paragraphs are long, thick and crowded.

First thing said:

"You don't know how lucky you are, Hill."

Obviously there is a fan base and market for this kind of book or it wouldn't exist. So hats off to that world.

Verdict: Fail

Theodore Moracht

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