Wild and Impetuous Lydia Won My Heart!
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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…
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?