May 022016
 

The Trouble to Check HerLydia Bennet Improves Upon Acquaintance

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

(Note: Potential readers should be made aware that this is the second book in Maria Grace’s The Queen of Rosings Park series. And while it is a stand alone novel, it is better to read this series in order because as fans of Maria Grace may already know, she has a penchant for altering situations and personalities!) 😉

So yeah…I was so eager to read this book that I didn’t realize it was the second book of a series! oops! 😉 (Oh well, wouldn’t be the first time this has happened!)  While I had some questions about what happened in book 1, what I did know and understand quickly was that Lydia’s attempted elopement with Wickham was unsuccessful, Mr. Bennet has disowned Lydia (and apparently has a harsh and hurtful nature!), and the newly married Darcys thought it was in Lydia’s best interest for her to attend a boarding school for young women who have lost their virtue.

As you can imagine, Lydia is not at all thrilled with this decision. She feels hurt, alone, and unloved. Mrs. Drummond’s school horrifies her – all lessons and charitable work, no fun, frivolity, or flirting. However, when Lydia stops dwelling on her own complaints of ill-use and learns more about those around her, a new awareness and understanding develops within her. She learns that her options for her future are severely limited – most girls at the school hope for an arranged marriage or position as a governess, companion, or maid. Even though the stain on her reputation has cost her better opportunities and prospects, Lydia is determined to improve, despite her uncertain and bleak future.

One area Lydia has found great solace is her art – both with drawing and playing the piano. Lydia learns a lot about herself at Mrs. Drummond’s school. She learns that she isn’t stupid and empty-headed, that she has natural artistic abilities, and that when she can’t find the correct words she can express her more complex emotions with a pencil or piano keys. Mr. Amberson, the new music master, recognizes Lydia’s talents and helps her develop them. Which leads to something of a different nature developing within Lydia’s heart…

Oh la! Do you find Lydia infuriating, immature, and overly indulged? Don’t worry, she doesn’t remain this way for long. Maria Grace’s Lydia has some depth and hidden qualities to her. I really liked how Ms. Grace illustrated a gradual and plausible improvement of Lydia’s character. Even with her changed perceptions there would be a moment or two where her selfishness or desire to complain would flair up, and I found that to be very believable. In addition, I also enjoyed how Ms. Grace portrayed Lydia as having some insecurities and a lack of confidence in her abilities. Knowing how she was treated by her sisters and parents, this is also very believable.

Aside from seeing Lydia improve upon acquaintance, the other aspect of the story I loved was this new world and set of characters introduced my Maria Grace. Mrs. Drummond, the teachers of her school, the other students – all were interesting, memorable, and well-drawn. I especially loved Miss Fitzgilbert and Mr. Ambrose and was so happy to see both these characters featured prominently. Moreover, my heart swelled to see Lydia learn to appreciate and value people that she didn’t before. The relationships she developed with friends, teachers, and family members were heartwarming and gratifying.

Even if you are not a fan of Lydia and believe she has no good qualities to speak of, I entreat you to give this story a try. Maria Grace takes one of the least favorable characters in Pride and Prejudice and creates a sympathetic and delightful tale filled with heart, friendship, and music.

Now to get my hands on Book 1 – Mistaking Her Character!

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  24 Responses to “The Trouble to Check Her (The Queen of Rosings Park #2) – Maria Grace”

  1.  

    I read the first book in the series and look forward to finding out how MG has improved our dear Lydia. Thanks for another review and recommendation. Jen Red

  2.  

    I followed and enjoyed both books in the series so far when they were posted as WIPs on Austen Variations. The published versions were even better. In The Trouble to Check Her, Maria Grace did an almost impossible job in gradually turning Lydia into a sympathetic character. As you say, she’s still silly and annoying to start with but the change is written in a very believable way.

    Meredith, you definitely need to read Mistaking Her Character. A word of warning, you WON’T like this Mr. Bennet, although I should call him Dr. Bennet as he’s Lady C.’s personal physician in that. No more spoilers though!

    •  

      I picked up on the unkind nature of Dr. Bennet with this story. That’s okay – he has been portrayed in this light by other daughters. It is believable too, since he was a neglectful kind of father. I loved the sampled chapter of Mistaking Her Character that was included in The Trouble to Check Her! So tempting!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts, Anji!

  3.  

    I read part of this as it was posted and put it on my wish list, however I didn’t realise it was a sequel so I will have to add the first book. Maybe if I am lucky enough to win this I can buy the first one! Thank you.

    •  

      Good plan! Maria Grace has a tour going on right now, so be sure to check the link above for the opportunities to win a copy if you haven’t done so already! 🙂

  4.  

    I have read both books and loved them. Yes, there is a darker Mr(Dr.) Bennet but this new twist certainly adds emotional depth to the stories. I loved the believable inner growth of Lydia and Ms. Grace’s portrayal of an insecure and selfish child become a true young lady was brilliant! So looking forward to her next book in the series…

    •  

      I agree with you, Carole! The transformation and unknown personality qualities given to Lydia were very well done! 🙂 I’m curious to learn what is the next book in the series too!

  5.  

    read the first in the series and enjoyed so looking forward to reading this

  6.  

    I have read both of the books released so far in this series and they are AMAZING! I want more!! I highly recommend this series to everyone!

  7.  

    I’m happy to know this story portrays Lydia becoming a dear character by improving her virtues! . It’s a great idea sending her to a school! Thanks for the review 🙂

  8.  

    nice review!

  9.  

    Seeing a gradual and plausible change is the part that has me most interested in this one. Nice review, Meredith!

  10.  

    I adored this story when it was Mrs Drummond’s school for girls. Kinda awkward to read on the desktop, tho’, so am pleased to see the story made it to book form. Brava!

    •  

      I know what you mean, Opisica! I can only make it a chapter or so and then I’m craving to curl up on the couch! 😉 I’m so glad authors like Maria Grace make their stories available in book forms!

  11.  

    I am, most definitely, not a fan of Lydia, but Maria made me love her by the end of the book.

    •  

      I’m glad she did! I don’t have strong feelings against Lydia, she isn’t entirely loathsome to me. But she does get irritating with her immaturity and selfishness sometimes! Glad you found her more “tolerable” in this story!

  12.  

    I really enjoyed this book. Lydia always gets on my nerves in canon. I just want to shake her a bit. This Lydia really grows on you. It’s definitely a positive to have read the first book so that some of the statements make sense. I think one of my very favorites lines is at the very end of the book after Darcy gives Mr. Amberson some advice.

    •  

      I think I know what you are referring to. I really loved Mr. Darcy’s relationship and interactions with both Lydia and Mr. Amberson. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this story!

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