Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice
Chicken House (2016)
Fifteen year old Lydia Bennet thinks a journal is an awfully dull birthday present. She lives in ‘the Depths of the English countryside where nothing EVER happens.’ However, Lydia’s world is soon to become a lot more exciting with the arrival of the militia in Meryton, and a handsome nobleman courting her eldest sister. When she is given the chance to go to Brighton, at last Lydia has the chance to show her family that she isn’t the flighty, stupid creature they think she is. She will show them what Lydia Bennet is made of.
Natasha Farrant brings Lydia Bennet to exuberant, energetic life. She makes her quite a modern young lady – one who resents the limitations put on women of her time. Her love of dancing and dramatics remains, but we also see Lydia as someone who longs to be taken seriously, and not be a mere source of amusement (or embarrassment). With Lydia’s trip to Brighton, Farrant introduces an original subplot with memorable and exotic characters. Of course, I particularly enjoyed her nod to That Scene from the BBC Pride & Prejudice adaptation.
Farrant’s attention to detail in terms of clothing and customs is impressive (her descriptions of the bathing machines were brilliant) and she creates a book that is respectful of Austen while being an entertaining read in its own right. The diary format is very effective, Lydia’s voice is earnest and lively. Lydia brings a welcome feminist slant to Austen’s work and takes a fresh look at one of Pride & Prejudice’s less likeable characters.
Originally reviewed for LoveReading4Kids.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW COMING SOON!