Lydia Bennet’s Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Jane Odiwe (new Sourcebook cover on left, and UK cover below) is a fun and spirited romance. In it, the narrator follows Lydia to Brighton, where she meets up with Wickham and runs off with him. She thinks he is taking her to Gretna Green, but when he announces that they have only enough funds to get them to London, this foolish young girl naively goes along with his plan, still thinking her “Georgie” intends to marry her.
We already know the story as written in Pride & Prejudice from Elizabeth Bennet’s perspective. In her narrative, Jane Odiwe gets into Lydia’s mind. She contrasts Wickham’s general disinterest in Lydia (except to get her into his bed) with Lydia’s youthful ardor. Through Lydia’s journal, we come to understand the process that brought her to forget her strict and genteel upbringing, and throw everything to the wind to follow a worldly man, one who has merely toyed with her in order to escape his creditors. She brushes aside indications of his bad temper and profligate ways, always looking at the sunny side and making excuses for him.
But something happens to our Lydia. As she gets to know her husband intimately, her eyes are opened, and though she will never possess the wit and wisdom of her elder sister, Elizabeth, she does mature with the passage of time. Be it far from me to spoil the plot of this novel, or its plausible ending. Simply know that when you purchase this novel, you will be transported to Brighton and London and all their Regency charms, and revisit some of your favorite Pride & Prejudice characters.
Jane Odiwe has a knack for describing the settings in her narrative, and writing in Lydia’s breathless tone in the journals. I enjoyed the book, much to my surprise. I only say this because I generally don’t read sequels. This one was entertaining, and had me turning the page to find out how the story ends. You can order the book at Amazon.com.
Photo: Lydia and Wickham, 1995 A&E Pride & Prejudice.
My rating for this novel: Three regency fans.