Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Review round-up for Lydia Bennet's Story
Two reviews for Lydia Bennet's Story from Book Zombie Blogspot and The Reviewer Blogspot
Readers of Austen will know that Lydia Bennet is the younger sister of Elizabeth and Jane, while never a major character she always left a major impact with her appearances. Crazy, wilful and out of control, she is much more like a wood nymph than a true lady. But that spark of wildness is exactly what made her character so enthralling. And now author Jane Odiwe has given Lydia a chance to shine in her very own book.
Lydia Bennet’s Story is a sequel to Pride And Prejudice, but in order to fully understand Lydia the book begins by going back to Pride And Prejudice and revisiting the events from Lydia’s point of view. From there it continues on as a sequel focusing on Lydia’s story.
It would be easy to dismiss Lydia as a stereo-typical teenager and little sister, acting out as either a way to gain attention or out of plain simple-mindedness. However, Jane Odiwe uses Lydia’s own journal writing throughout this novel to add a certain depth to Lydia’s character, allowing the reader to connect with her rather than pass her off as an annoyance.
The best part of Lydia Bennet’s Story, for me, was seeing that Lydia does realize that her actions and attitude are not proper. She might act righteous and seem to not care how people view her as a person, but the jottings from her personal diary show that she is thinking of these things. She knows when she could have handled things differently and that shows maturity and growth on her part.
Lydia Bennet’s Story is not only a terrific story but also a wonderful example of Jane Odiwe’s talent at character development. With just a bit of background she has transformed Lydia into a character worthy of her own novel. I believe this is a fantastic Austen sequel, because it changes nothing of the original Austen creations, instead it digs deeper and adds more personality to a secondary character creating a story line that veers in another direction.
I must admit that I have been getting pretty sick of the Austen books. I have read all the ones that cross my hand and very rarely, VERY RARELY, do I find one that I enjoy. It seems that some of these authors get so caught up in continuing the story of the Jane and Darcy and Lizzy and Bingley that they don’t take the time to create a thoughtful and entertaining story. At least to me.
On that note, I loved this book.
I fully expected to hate this book. I expected to finish it and thank my lucky stars that I only had one Austen related book on my desk. I was sad when this book ended.
Of all the Bennet sisters I always liked Lydia. She seemed like she would be fun to be around. What young girl doesn’t like to party every once in a while? However, we never really learned much about her. She was given to the reader as a silly, thoughtless and self-concerned girl who didn't warrant much consideration by the original Austen. What Odiwe has given us, in this go round, is a girl like any other. She is young, naïve, trusting and foolish. She doesn’t understand consequence at all. At the end of the book the reader is left with a woman, a woman who knows her own heart and goals.
This book started slow. The first thirty pages were torture but once past the introductory pages it picked up pace. The reader travels all over England with Lydia as she straightens out her life and tries to free herself from Wickham. Wickham is everything he is in Pride and Prejudice and a really delicious character to hate.
It is with great reluctance that I pass this book on to a friend. Lydia Bennet’s Story is a book that I would love to be able to revisit whenever I needed a fun book on a rainy afternoon.