Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Review for Lydia Bennet's Story from Booklist

I must admit I was really thrilled when I read this review of the Sourcebooks edition of Lydia Bennet's Story.

Lydia Bennet’s one goal in life is to be the first of her sisters to marry. That dream seems to come true when dashing regimental soldier George Wickham asks her to elope with him. It takes a bit of time—and some active involvement from one of her sisters’ suitors, a certain Mr. Darcy—before Lydia and George are actually married. Soon after the wedding, though, Lydia discovers married life is not quite the round of social events, nonstop shopping, and the attention of a devoted husband that she imagined. Snippets from Lydia’s “diary” are interspersed in each chapter as Odiwe re-creates her version of what happened to the “wild” Bennet sister from Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice. While Lydia’s story might be sexier than what Austen would have written, Odiwe emulates Austen’s famous wit, and manages to give Lydia a happily-ever-after ending worthy of any Regency romance heroine.

— John Charles

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, Winifred Watson and Captain Wentworth

There is no real connection between Winifred Watson, the author of Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day and Jane Austen, except for the fact that they both wrote six novels in their lifetime. Our beloved Jane's life was cut short, and so, to our immense sorrow was her output of her works of genius. Winifred Watson, on the other hand, chose to give up her writing when her son was born. She felt she would not be able to devote herself properly to the task of looking after her child and had no inclination to write once she became a mother.
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a lovely book, made even more so if you can get hold of a copy with the original 1930's illustrations. It's what I call a real comfort read and I defy anyone not to enjoy it.
Yesterday, a friend and I treated ourselves to an afternoon at the cinema, something, I must admit, that feels rather decadent in the afternoon, especially as we also treated ourselves to lunch. I knew little about this new film version and I did wonder if it would do justice to this delightful tale. Both Jenny and I thought it was wonderful, we laughed and cried, and came out of the cinema feeling happier than when we went in. Purists will notice the odd change, but there is nothing that jars and the spirit of the book remains true. We enjoyed it so much I had to write and tell you all, because I think you would too!
All the actors and actresses were marvellous, but none more so than the man I can never think of as anyone but Captain Wentworth, Ciaran Hinds. He makes a truly romantic hero!

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Review for Lydia Bennet's Story from Random Jottings of a Book and Opera Lover

When I received Lydia Bennet's Story from Source Books (and oh how I love receiving fed-ex book parcels at work - makes my day!), I was a little doubtful about it. I was pleasantly surprised. Jane Odiwe has caught Lydia's gushing, breathless manner beautifully in those parts of the book which are purporting to be her diary. Too many explanation marks for my liking, but I daresay Lydia would have written like this, all dash and full of enthusiasm.

Lydia is thought of as the villain of the piece along with Wickham, the thoughtless, conceited younger daughter who was only interested in officers and flirting and getting married before her sisters and we forget that when this happened she was only sixteen years old. Precocious yes, but still young. The interesting thread in this book is the constant striving by Lydia to win her father's approval and affection. She thinks of Jane and Lizzy as boring and proper and destined to be old maids, but it is clear that these are the thoughts of a childish and jealous younger sister who is aware that her father thinks she is one of 'the silliest girls in the country' and that he is wrapped up in his close relationship with Elizabeth. Lydia adopts the attitude 'ok he expects very little of me so I will prove him right' and continues to behave in a silly and outrageous manner hoping to gain his attention and is disappointed when she hopes, optimistically, that when she comes home with her husband, Mr Bennet will greet her and congratulate her on her marriage.

Lydia's behaviour is classic look at me, attention seeking and outrageous, to obtain a reaction which never comes and I found myself rather warming to her as I read her Story. She is honest enough to realise that she has made a terrible mistake in marrying Wickham and to admit that she has nobody to blame but herself and to feel sadness at the obvious affection and happiness in her sister's marriages which is sadly lacking in her own.

So, a story that turned out to be better than I thought, rather sweet and made me feel sorry for Lydia. A silly feckless mother and a father who ignored her, two elder sisters regarded as the beauties and best of the Bennett girls, no wonder she behaved as she did. I found it quite a coincidence that I finished reading this book the day before the papers were full of the hasty marriage of Peaches Geldof and the ensuing publicity. I found it rather sad that she left her new husband behind and rushed straight to see her father. One assumes to seek his approval. She certainly gained his attention.

A book that gave me more food for thought than I was expecting and, as will all those I have received from Sourcebooks so far, beautifully presented, lovely smooth paper and clear print which make it a pleasure to hold and look at as well as read.

There are lots of reviews and news on this interesting blog - click here to see more 'Random Jottings' at

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Review for Lydia Bennet's Story from Publisher's Weekly

On the news stands this week!

Lydia Bennet’s Story: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice Jane Odiwe. Sourcebooks, $12.95 paper (356p) ISBN 978-1-4022-1475-2

In this pleasant addition to the growing microgenre of Austen knockoffs, Odiwe pays nice homage to Austen’s stylings and endears the reader to the formerly secondary character, spoiled and impulsive Lydia Bennet. Odiwe begins partway through the original tale, with Lydia heading to Brighton. Shifting between a third-person narrative and Lydia’s first-person journal entries, Odiwe grants readers unfettered access to Lydia as she flirts with her many beaus and falls hard for George Wickham, with whom she elopes. After the pair is married and settled in Newcastle, Lydia has a hard time keeping her jealousy in check as George, a notorious flirt, does not change his ways. Her marital discontent leads to frequent visits to her sisters, and it’s during one of these visits that a massive scandal befalls the Wickham household. In a pleasantly foreshadowed if too abrupt conclusion, a slightly matured Lydia finds true happiness in the most unlikely of places. It won’t convert anybody who doesn’t already worship at the church of Jane, but devotees will enjoy. (Oct.)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You Are Cordially Invited to Participate in a Live Chat With Author Laurie Viera Rigler on August 12th

News from Ms Place at Jane Austen Today follows below:

Oh, what wonderful news! Laurie Viera Rigler, author of Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict has graciously agreed to chat with us on August 12th! I will place the link to my chat room on this site just before our scheduled two-hour coast-to-coast talk at 10 PM - 12 AM EST, and 7 - 9 PM Pacific time.

Win a Book!
In honor of this new feature on Jane Austen Today, Laurie will be giving away five autographed copies of the paperback version of her novel!

If you have questions to ask of Laurie about her best seller or the writing process please leave your comment on Jane Austen Today. On August 12th, we will draw a commentor's name and award a book to that person! Even better, Laurie will answer all the comment questions.

The first two people to sign in the chatroom and begin talking will also receive books. The last two people in the chatroom will receive books as well. How much fun is that? So, mark your calendars, Janeites, and join us for a two-hour gab fest in August.