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Lydia Bennet's Story - Review from Indiana Jane's Bookshelf

Monday, February 9, 2009
A review from India Jane's Bookshelf

Book Review: Lydia Bennet's Story
I'm kind of picky about Pride and Prejudice sequels or knock-offs. I loved Pamela Aidan's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series. Other than that, most of them haven't passed muster.

I'm not a huge Austen fan, but I am an Austen fan. I won't likely notice if small details in the story don't jibe, but there is a certain feeling that needs to be present in a successful Austen sequel. And, as a historically-educated book freak, I hate anachronisms and the endowing of regency-era characters with modern sentiments.

So I always pick these books up with a dubious spirit. In fact, one of the two I brought home this time probably won't even be read after my daughter told me what she, Austen fan extraordinaire, had heard about it. But this book, Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe is delightful.

It lets us into the head of Lydia, who is every bit as silly and naughty as we thought, and we see the events from her point of view. Maybe it is just because I was a very silly teen, but I found the depiction of Lydia's thoughts to be very realistic. I like the way the author didn't try to infuse Lydia with some modern sentiments that led her to behave in an unconventional way. She let her be what she was written as: a rather willful, silly, romantic twit.

The story that is added--the what came after--also fits the events of P&P and is true to the characters. It gave me a satisfying sense that yes, this could be how Lydia's story turns out. A most enjoyable read.


I love your Jane Austen Sequels blog, Jane, and not only because you wrote a kindly post about my Pemberley Manor. As much as I admire and have learned from the sites devoted to “serious” Jane Austen literature, that is to say, literature that Jane wrote herself or scholarly works on the same, sometimes I just need a laugh. Lydia, you see, is the girl to make us laugh. I expect it had something to do with your experience in raising a teenage daughter, the way you escorted us through those trying years of Lydia Bennet’s early life.

I have to confess that I liked young Lydia very ill until I met her on your pages and realized how very young she was when she created such an uproar. Lord, if I think back to my own teenage years (and some years after that) I have to admit that I gave my parents a little bit of grief. Still do, I expect.
Jane Odiwe said…
I have to say I've been very lucky - my teenage daughter has been a delight. But I spent twelve years in teaching in Secondary schools and I've met many Lydia's along the way. I always had a soft spot for them, they were just youngsters struggling with their hormones and crying out for a bit of love and attention!