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Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice

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  • Posted September 10, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Worthy Sequel

    Jane Austen has become quite a valuable commodity within the last decade or so, both in the literary and movie worlds, and reading about a new (or relatively new) Austen sequel has become par for the course.

    I found Lydia Bennet's Story interesting and original precisely because Jane Odiwe took a secondary character from Pride and Prejudice and elaborated on her own very twisted and dramatic plot. If you are familiar with Pride and Prejudice, you know that Lydia is Lizzy's youngest sister, and a very spoiled one at that. Due to her recklessness in running away with Wickham, she seriously jeopardizes the potential future marriages of her sisters and very nearly sullies her family's good name.

    As she was a secondary character in Pride and Prejudice, we heard briefly about her exploits but not from her point of view; nor did we know what Wickham said to her to cause her to throw caution to the wind with a foolhardy elopement or exactly what happened with the couple during those weeks in London before their hastily arranged marriage or, outside of their return to Longbourne, of their lives as a newlywed couple.

    Lydia Bennet's Story alternates between Lydia's diary and a third person accounting, showing Lydia as flirty, flighty, immature and petulent. Ms. Odiwe stays faithful to Jane Austen, both in her portrayal of Lydia as well as Wickham, who naturally reveals himself to be as spoiled and flighty as Lydia.

    I enjoyed hearing a portion of Pride and Prejudice from Lydia's viewpoint, as well as having the gaps filled in for portions of the story we were not privy to in Ms. Austen's rendition. Ms. Odiwe's descriptions of the period, the dress, the language, is spot on and a true compliment to both Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. The introduction of new characters move the story along fluidly and seem as natural as Lydia ogling a new bonnet.

    In a market saturated with Austen sequels (not that I'm complaining, mind you, because the more the merrier, in this Austen-obsessed reader's opinion), Lydia Bennet's Story stands out and makes an excellent reading choice.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2008

    Naughty Lydia has an adventure!

    'The true misfortune , which besets any young lady who believes herself destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family. Lydia Bennet of Longbourn, Hertfordshire, not only believed that her mama and papa had most likely stolen her from noble parents, but also considered it a small miracle that they could have produced between them her own fair self and four comely girls - Jane, Elizabeth, Mary and Kitty - though to tell the truth, she felt herself most blessed in looks.' Chapter 1 It was no surprise to me when I discovered that Elizabeth Bennet¿s impetuous little sister Lydia had been honored with her own book, Lydia Bennet¿s Story, only amazed that it had taken so long for it to arrive on the Janeite bookshelf in the first place. Of all of Jane Austen¿s characters in Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet was one of the most intriguing creatures to recklessly flirt and scandalize a family and for readers who enjoy a good adventure well worth her own treatment. In a bus accident sort of way, I have always longed to know more about her, and now we have been given our chance in this new edition available October 1st from Sourcebooks. The novel can be categorized as a retelling and a sequel since the story begins about one third of the way into Jane Austen¿s Pride and Prejudice as Lydia¿s older sisters Elizabeth and Jane are away from the family home of Longbourn respectively visiting the Collins¿ at Hunsford and the Gardiner¿s in London. The second half of the novel picks up after the conclusion of Pride and Prejudice when Lydia and her new husband George Wickham have moved to Newcastle. Interestingly, author Odiwe has chosen to tell the story by excerpts from Lydia¿s journal supplemented by a third person narrative which Austen also employed allowing us the benefit of Lydia¿s unbridled inner thoughts and a narrative of other characters dialogue and action to support it. A nice touch since both Austen¿s and Odiwe¿s Lydia are a bit over the top in reaction and interpretation of events, and the narrative gives readers some grounding for her breathless emotions. And, reactions and emotions are what Lydia Bennet is all about and why I believe many may be intrigued by her. Just based on the fact that she is the youngest of five daughters raised by an indolent father and imprudent mother, one could be inspired to write psychological thesis on all the mitigating factors in her environment that contributed to her personality! However, what Jane Austen introduced Jane Odiwe has cleverly expanded upon picking up the plot and style without a missing a beat. Not only are we reminded that thoughtless, wild and outspoken Lydia is ¿the most determined flirt that ever made herself and her family ridiculous¿ , we begin to understand (but not always agree) with her reasoning¿s and are swept up in the story like a new bonnet bought on impulse. Oh, to be but sixteen again without a care in the world except the latest fashions, local gossip, and which officer to dance with at the next Assembly are a delightful foundation for this excursion into Austenland that is both an amusement and a gentle morality story. Even though author Odiwe succeeded in delivering a lively rendering of an impertinent young Miss bent on fashion, flirting and marriage, she missed her opportunity of a more expressive title which should have read something like `Lydia Bennet¿s Romantic and Sometimes Naughty Adventures¿! Not only is Miss Lydia a professional flirt approaching Beck Sharpe of Vanity Fair¿s territory, she gets to travel to Brighton, London, Newcastle and Bath and have a few escapades along the way. Her determination to follow her latest flirtation George Wickham to Brighton and then infamously elope with him is renowned. Her unchecked impulses continue as the novel progresses through their patched up marriage and her new life in Newcastle where her husband has sadly grown tired of her and moved on to the nex

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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