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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.)