Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Book Review: Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe

Description (from Goodreads):
In Lydia Bennet's Story we are taken back to Jane Austen's most beloved novel, Pride and Prejudice, to a Regency world seen through Lydia's eyes where pleasure and marriage are the only pursuits. Lydia's dream of following the regiment to the fashionable resort of Brighton comes true, she is soon the darling of all the officers and tempted not only by a handsome royal dragoon, but drawn to the irresistible charms of one already well known to her. But the road to matrimony is fraught with difficulties and even when she is convinced that she has met the man of her dreams, she quickly discovers that her hero is not the man she believes him to be. Before long his reputation has her running back to Hertfordshire to be reunited with Bennets, Bingleys and Darcys, meeting once again for a grand ball at Netherfield Park. Will she resolve her problems to find happiness or will the shocking truth about her husband cause the greatest scandal of all?

My thoughts: 
First I have to mentio that I've never really liked Lydia. In Pride and Prejudice she is annoying, stupid and reckless character who just cares about having fun and spending time with the officers. After reading this book by Jane Odiwe I have to admit that I started to see Lydia in a different light. Odiwe portrays one of the most annoying characters of Austen's Pride and Prejudice in a light that makes her likeable, even lovable. 


Odiwe's story is divided into two parts; part 1 is concentrated on the happenings in Meryton and Brigton. The actions portrayed in Austen's Pride and Prejudice are told through Lydia and what happened to her. Part 2 continues the story of Pride and Prejudice and tells what happened after the point Austen ended her story. So, 'Lydia Bennet's Story' is partly retelling of Austen's Pride and Prejudice, partly a sequel to it. 


In the first part of the book, we get to know how Lydia fell in love with Mr. Wickham and how their relationship developed. Lydia is still that silly young girl who only cares about getting married before her older sisters. She runs away with Mr. Wickham and gets married with him because she honestly believes that he is in love with her. 


The second part of the book opens the relationship of Lydia and Wickham more widely to the reader. Lydia learns that Wickham has a relationship outside the marriage. She, of course, gets really upset, because she has really believed that Wickham loves her. While reading the second part of the book I really started to feel bad for Lydia. She grows as a person and understands that his love is not directed to her and that he married her only because he was forced to do so. 


During a ball at Netherfield, Wickham appears to the place looking like a begger. A great scandal from Wickham's past is revealed and Lydia notices that Wickham is totally different man that she thought him to be. Lydia is not sure will she ever be able to love again after a disappointment she has experienced with Wickham. Luckily a brother of Lydia's friend helps her to recover from the bangs of disappointment and offers her a new change to love again.


Almost every chapter of the book includes a diary entry from Lydia. From these diary entries it is evitable to Lydia grows as a person. I personally liked the second part of the book better because it introduced new characters and because from it, it is evident how Lydia grows as a person and learns from her past mistakes.


Jane Odiwe has also written a novel called 'Willoughby's Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistible Temptation' which is a sequel to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility and 'Effusions of Fancy' which is a nice little book consisting beautiful pictures from the life of Jane Austen. Odiwe is currently working on a novel called "Mr. Darcy's Secret" which will be published during the Spring 2011. 


Check out Jane's beautiful website from here and her blog from here.

3 comments:

  1. Hm, in my eyees he can't be redeemed, so I don't think I would want a HEA for them...and then there is the part that makes me really wanna read this one ;)

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  2. Great review! I am very interested in reading this one. I never liked Lydia either, but it seems that it can be really interesting to see the world through her eyes.

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  3. This is truly an amazing book. I read it probably a year ago for the first time and now I read it again in order to celebrate Jane in June.

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