Jul 262012
 

Wild and Impetuous Lydia Won My Heart!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Paperbackswap

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Retelling AND Sequel

TIME FRAME: Just before Lydia’s departure to Brighton

MAIN CHARACTERS: Lydia Bennet, George Wickham, Harriet Forster, Mr. Darcy, and Isabella Fitzalan (new), Alexander Fitzalan (new)

WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS: La! It’s a novel ALL about Lydia – who wouldn’t want to read it? No…seriously, Lydia is not one of my favorite characters, I quite agree with Elizabeth’s assessment of her as “the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous.” She is selfish, empty-headed, and vain – and as far as I’ve seen, she has nothing to redeem or recommend herself. But… since I LOVED everything I previously read by Jane Odiwe, I pretty much had to give this novel a try.

WHAT I LOVED:

  • Retelling + Sequel: It’s basically a 2-for-1deal here! Readers witness the events of the latter half of Pride and Prejudice from Lydia’s perspective AND are able to observe what happens after Lydia relocates to Newcastle with Wickham.
  • The Intimate Understanding: Because this novel is half narration/half entries from Lydia’s diary, readers are able to witness Lydia’s private ruminations and reflections. It was interesting to see events take place in the narration and then her Lydia recount the same events with a slightly skewed perception in her diary entries.
  • The Redeeming Qualities: Boy, it must have been challenging for Jane Odiwe to give readers something to like and admire in imprudent and exuberant Lydia! But for my part, she definitely succeeded! Ms. Odiwe’s Lydia isn’t just a flippant flirt who wants beat her sisters to the altar, she is a romantic who desires nothing more than her own happily ever after. And when she runs away with Wickham, it isn’t just “a good joke,” but a fairy tale ending/adventure with the man she is desperately in love with. Kind of reminds one of Marianne Dashwood, doesn’t it?
  • The Transformation: The scales soon fall from Lydia’s eyes and she becomes well aware of what her recklessness and vanity cost her. I very much enjoyed Lydia’s moments of introspection, realization, and resignation. It illustrates that, at least on the inside, she has matured, even though it may not appear that way to others.
  • The Ending: I don’t want to give anything away, but I simply must proclaim how much I LOVED the ending to this story! DEEPLY satisfying and superbly executed!

WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:

  • That The Story Ended: I was so sad to reach the last page of this novel! As surprising as this may sound, I didn’t want my time with Lydia to end! She found her way into my heart and I wanted to see what the next chapter of her life brought! I wonder if Ms. Odiwe would ever consider writing a sequel to her sequel…
CONCLUSION:
Just like Laura Hile (Elizabeth Elliot) and Jennifer Becton (Caroline Bingley), Jane Odiwe takes a character readers have little patience with and love for and, miracle of miracles, transforms her into a likable heroine! If you are like me and have always listed Lydia Bennet as one of your least favorite characters in Pride and Prejudice, then you NEED to give Jane Odiwe’s Lydia Bennet’s Story a try! What a lark!

 

Lydia Bennet, Elizabeth Elliot, Caroline Bingley – is there any of Jane Austen’s characters that CANNOT be redeemed or rendered likable?

Which character do you think should be redeemed next?

 
 
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21 Comments on "Lydia Bennet’s Story – Jane Odiwe"

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Lúthien84

Lucy Steele is a character which I don’t think is redeemable unless some clever author spun a likeable tale out of it. However Mary Crawford, Isabelle Thorpe and Louisa Musgrove should have their own story told.

Meredith

I agree! Although there is a book in German about Lucy Steele – go figure! It’s called Miss Lucy Steele by Ruth Berger. Since I don’t read German I’m not sure if it redeems her or not.

Kelli H.

I’m not sure anyone can redeem Fanny Dashwood. She is one of my least favorite Austen characters!
This book has been sitting on my Nook for quite some time and your lovely review has made me want to move it to the top of my TBR pile!!=)

Meredith

Oh, you should definitely read it Kelli! I’m anxious to know if Lydia will work her way into your heart as she did mine!

Shannon

This sounds really good! I loved the books by Laura Hile and Jennifer Becton and if Jane Odiwe accomplished the same thing with Lydia then this is a must read for me. Thanks for the review Meredith!

Meredith

All three authors did a marvelous job of making these characters likable and giving them plausible transformations.

Sophia - Elizabeth
I completely agree with Lúthien84 they should have their own stories and I can think of four characters who could do well with their own stories and who could be rendered likable; Mr. Collins (whom I detest!), Willoughby (who is just after money), Kitty (who nobody knows anything about except that she is like Lydia) and then there is the ever ambitious/idiotic Mr. Wickham whom I hate and think is a completely and utter asshole! (no offense to Jane Austen or other authors who write about these characters!) One book I just might have to get my hands on soon!… Read more »
Meredith

Excellent suggestions, Sophia-Elizabeth. I, for one, would love to read a story about Henry Crawford. To me, he isn’t as villainous as Willoughby and Wickham.

Candy M

This sounds wonderful! Thanks for pointing it out, Meredith! I look forward to reading it!

Sophia-Elizabeth, Haha, you made me laugh with your Wickham description, but I couldn’t agree more! 🙂

Meredith

I know it came out several years ago, I’ve had it on my wishlist for ages! I’m glad I finally added it to my shopping cart! Definitely worth it!

MonicaP

It’s been a long time since I read this but I did enjoy it. I love when an author gives you a (believable) new perspective on a character you dislike. I believe just about everyone is redeemable but it’s so fun to love to hate them! Lol I don’t know that I could ever like Fanny Dashwood or Mary Musgrove, but I’m willing to be proved wrong!

Meredith

LOL! If anyone can make me like Fanny Dashwood, or Mrs. Norris for that matter, they are a true miracle worker! What a challenge those two would be!

I think Mary Musgrove would be easier, though…

Jakki Leatherberry

I read this a few years ago, but loved it then, and after reading this, I want to pick it back up! I just love it when authors take characters readers love to hate and change my opinion of them, make me empathize with them, and even…like them by the end!
I agree with Monica not sure Fanny Dashwood can be redeemed, but I too am willing to be proved wrong! (Maybe that’s why one hasn’t been written yet, Monica…she can’t be liked)! 😉

Meredith

Oh boy, Fanny Dashwood seems to be popular in this thread! Alert Laura Hile, Jane Odiwe, and Jennifer Becton – see which one of them wants to take on the lovely and generous Mrs. John Dashwood!

Thanks for stopping by, Jakki! It gives me a little pleasure that my review makes you want to reread something you’ve already read! You’ve been doing that to me constantly throughout the last month! 😉

AngieK

I’d love to see someone take on Lady Catherine to see what happened to turn her into such a ball buster.

Meredith

I love that idea! Maybe she wasn’t always so cantankerous…

MonicaP

Yeah, Mary Musgrove isn’t malicious, she’s just annoying as hell.

Meredith

LOL! But maybe there is some redeeming quality about her? Maybe she felt neglect with her dad favoring Elizabeth and her mother favoring Anne?

Valerie

Definitely would be Lucy Steele!!! UGH!!! She is so despicable!! LOL I despise her even MORE than Lydia Bennet! LOL

This sounds like a wonderful book – adding to my list 😉

Meredith

As you can tell, Valerie, I definitely thought it was wonderful! I hope you find it the same!

Agree with you completely about Lucy. I think even Isabella Thorpe is more likable than Lucy!

PirateHatter

I would love it if there was a story telling from Mr. Crawford’s point of view. He is my favorite of the “rakes” because he seems the most honest to me. I truly believe that if Fanny had married him that quite possibly they could have lived happily ever after because I think that she would have made him grow up.

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