Anyone read Longbourn and want to discuss the ending?

(7 Posts)
TheCountessofFitzdotterel Thu 28-Jan-16 09:51:08

Spoilers (obviously).

I really loved the earlier parts of this book - beautifully written, so evocative and detailed.
But the ending felt contrived (oh yes, Ptolemy just happened to have seen James) and pointless but also predictable because the different quality of her kisses with both men signalled quite clearly who the writer thought she should end up with.
Basically I think I just wanted her to go off with Ptolemy...
Anyone else have a view?

lemonymelanie Thu 28-Jan-16 21:26:10

I was so disappointed with the ending. It was almost as though the original writer was removed from her book and replaced with a new one. The book just changed direction and suddenly there was a happy ever after ending- which I felt shouldn't have been possible- it was all so unbelievable in the end- too neat and tidy, and it didn't feel right!

Had enjoyed the beginning, the chilblains, the drudgery, the daily life- infact loved it up to about two thirds- and then it just lost its own plot and turned into a Mills and Boon!

However, I was then inspired to read Thornfield Hall ( Mrs Fairfax from Jane Eyre) and Nelly Dean ( Wuthering Heights) , all by different writers- it's like a kind of fan fiction genre- and enjoyed them too until the similarly neat and tidy happy endings.

But I've got the bug for these books - easy to read and familiar characters! I'm going to read Val McDermids Northanger Abbey next.

I've read it. I thought the whole thing was dreadful, and by the end I was so bored and furious that I didn't care what happened. I thought the ending was ridiculously contrived and incredible.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Sat 30-Jan-16 22:06:15

That's interesting Remus, what did you not like about it?
Lemonymelanie - couldn't agree more about it feeling like a change of author. It even left me wondering if it wasn't her original ending but the publisher said 'It needs a happy ending, the readers will all be Jane Austen fans so they'll have to have a happily-ever-after, you need to change it and make her get together with James.'

Just done a search on here, to remind myself:

"Have just read 130 pages of, 'Longbourn' and not liking it much. I'll probably carry on with it, because I need something to read in the bath and it's the only physical, rather than Kindle, book I have at the moment, but I'm finding it both dull and laboured, like she's followed some sort of ticklist to cram in all of the things that Austen ignored, or only just touched on -war: tick / the slave trade: tick / racism: tick / sex: tick. And the writing style is so slow and so dull. I like Mrs Hill and Lydia - everything else is boring me."

I then go on to say that reading it feels like being hit repeatedly over the head with a blunt shovel. It seems that I really, really didn't like it!

lemonymelanie Sun 31-Jan-16 15:54:51

Remus - the ticklist (of things Austen doesn't feature) didn't really jump out at me- but now you mention it, I do see it .

It appeared so rushed towards the end and Countess, I agree, I thought it seemed like the editor/publisher had said - ok, hurry it up now and finish off with a happy ending.

Did she need a happy ending? Personally I don't think so - it would have contrasted the world of difference between the oblivious Austen middle classes (who get their happy endings) and the servants' daily drudgery below stairs (who don't).

The book gives a mixed message - is it the lives of the servants from P&P, or is it a servants' romance in parallel with P&P? It started out as one and ended up as the other.

As I said earlier - Thornfield Hall and Nelly Dean do similar things - even to changing crucial events/characters - to create "happy endings".

Maybe I just don't like happy endings!?

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 09-Feb-16 09:58:33

I agree, I didn't really notice the P&P parallel till I read a review and I think she really didn't need to do it - it would have been more powerful otherwise. I think that's why I wanted her to end up with Ptolemy, not in a 'OMG he's the love of my life!' way but more 'Hmm, yes, this could give me an interesting life - not crazy about kissing him but I would like to go to London and have my own house.'

Remus IKWYM re the ticklist. I thought she got away with it re racism - I found Ptolemy plausible. But it was the gratuitous, anachronistically-accepted-by-the-nice-characters homosexuality that really put the cherry on top of the cake.
I was interested to read she was a creative writing teacher because there are some books that read like they were written very self-consciously and this is one.

(I'm slagging it off now! And I really did love the re-creation of servants' lives.)

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now