Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant
|Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant|
|Reviewer: Louise Jones|
|Summary: Pride and Prejudice fans will love this tale in which Lydia Bennet finally gets to tell her side of the story. Just what did happen in Brighton when Lydia went away, and how did she end up married to that rogue Wickham?|
|Buy? yes||Borrow? yes|
|Pages: 352||Date: September 2016|
|Publisher: Chicken House|
|External links: Author's website|
Shortlisted: The Young Adult Romantic Novel 2017
Lydia Bennet has just turned fifteen and has received, amongst other gifts, a diary from her bookish older sister Mary. She'd rather have received some ribbon or some lace; after all, writing in a diary every day seems such a tedious pastime. But when a handsome regiment of scarlet-coats arrives in Meryton, Lydia decides that there just might be something exciting to write about after all...
Most of us are familiar with the story of Pride and Prejudice and how the spirited youngest Bennet sister almost causes a family scandal by running away with the scoundrel Wickham, but isn't it about time that we heard Lydia's side of the story? After all, people are inclined to presume the worst of her, but her diary paints a very different picture of the events leading up to her marriage to Wickham. Is she an innocent victim of circumstance or someone who will do whatever it takes to get what she wants? Perhaps a little bit of both?
In the original Austen novel, Lydia does not come across as the most likeable character. She is silly, shallow and selfish. Natasha Farrant was clearly taking a risk writing a whole book about her. But amazingly, she has succeeded in making us fall in love with Lydia, despite her faults. She has kept true to the original character, but by giving Lydia her own voice, we realise what an exciting character she is, as well as a sparkling storyteller. We see Lydia's moods sway one way and another in her diary entries; one minute she is ecstatic and the next, heartbroken. We can't help but echo her sentiments and get swept along with her story.
I like the fact that the author has not tried to copy Jane Austen's writing style. Lydia has her own distinct voice, courtesy of her diary and it reflects her character well. At the beginning of the book, the story runs parallel to Pride and Prejudice, but we see events through Lydia's eyes. Later on, the book forges its own path when Lydia heads off to Brighton with her friend and has a new set of adventures of her own. She becomes obsessed with mysterious French siblings Alaric and Theo and desperately wants to be part of their world. Her friend Wickham is a bit of a puzzle to her; she knows that he is a gambler and a cheat, desperate to marry into money; but something keeps drawing the two of them together. Maybe they are more alike than she cares to think.
I absolutely adored this book and I think it will appeal to younger readers too, as the wording, style and book length are more accessible than the original. Hopefully, the story will inspire a new generation to be inspired by Jane Austen and seek out the classic book on which the story was based. Many thanks to the publishers for my review copy, which I devoured in a single day.
If you are interested in the other Bennet sisters, why not try The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel by Pamela Mingle, a sequel to the original story which follows Lydia's socially-awkward older sister in her search for romance.
You can read more book reviews or buy Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice by Natasha Farrant at Amazon.com.
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