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Posts Tagged ‘Lydia Bennet’s Story’

I’d like to wish you all a Happy Easter – I’m having a bit of a break from blogging to spend time with my family – I hope you all have a lovely holiday. This is quite a long post but one thing seemed to lead to another! I’m very busy writing another book at the moment and drawing on lots of research which is always lots of fun. A lot of the action takes place in Bath so I’m hoping to spend some time there over the holiday period.
This week, one of the lovely things that happened was ‘meeting’ Jennifer Duke and discovering her blog. She was born in England and even attended the the Abbey school as Jane Austen did. Her time there sparked an interest in all things Regency and a love of Jane Austen. Jennifer lives in Australia now and told me that although she loves Sydney, she still gets homesick for England. She wrote to ask me if I would do a question and answer for her blog, which I was thrilled to do. Here’s the link: The Bennet Sisters Thank you very much Jennifer, I really enjoyed your interview.

This time last year I had Easter with Mr Darcy – click on the Derbyshire, Chatsworth and Haddon Hall links on the left of my blog if you’d like to see what a lovely time I had. When we were there most of Chatsworth House was covered in scaffolding as it is undergoing major restoration – Chatsworth Masterplan. My sister phoned me yesterday to tell me how she’d seen a little about how the work is progressing on a programme we have here called Countryfile. You can watch it here on the BBC iplayer Countryfile. Apart from gorgeous walks around Dovedale, there is some footage from Chatsworth showing how the house is being restored and the stone cleaned. It looks very beautiful. I particularly loved the gilded window frames which are original to the house. I’ve been there when the sun is at a certain height and the effect upon the house is stunning. I would love to see it again when the work is finished. I should imagine it is spectacular.

This next little piece of writing was inspired by the walk I took along the River Derwent when I was writing Mr Darcy’s Secret.

Elizabeth was more worried about the impending visit from Mr Darcy’s aunt than she was prepared to let on, but was determined not to dwell on any misgivings she might have. There was quite enough to deal with simply in organizing such details as food and menus, and which bedchamber Lady Catherine was to occupy, without being anxious about any conversation they might share. At least Miss de Burgh, Lady Catherine’s daughter would not be accompanying her. Apparently, Anne was staying behind with her companion Mrs Jenkinson in the hope that the change of air and spa water would do her some good. Sickly, pale and cross, the spoiled cousin of Mr Darcy had never enjoyed good health, and Elizabeth knew that no expense would be spared in the efforts to revive the spirits of this despondent creature, though she considered it unlikely that any amount of money or treatments would make a jot of difference. Privately, Elizabeth felt quite sorry for the girl who had never been allowed to live a normal life. In her opinion Anne had not only been spoiled, but had also been fussed over and mollycoddled to the point of suffocation. No wonder the girl was awkward in company and socially inept – she was never allowed to speak and would not dare oppose her mother’s beliefs or statements on any topic. Besides all this, Lady Catherine’s hopes for an alliance between her daughter and Mr Darcy had been thwarted, and as such, Lizzy was sure that Anne would avoid coming to Pemberley altogether if she possibly could. At least Lady Catherine was not due for another week; Lizzy would have time to fully prepare.

Elizabeth’s own spirits were subdued. The Christmas celebrations and Georgiana’s engagement, not to mention the awkwardness that subsisted between Lizzy and Darcy as a result, had all taken its toll. Mrs Darcy was feeling tired, and lacking in energy, which was so extraordinary that she felt some concern. Determined to find a solution she decided she was in need of some fresh air and exercise; being cooped up inside because of the bad weather was never good. She formed a plan to walk to Lambton in the afternoon, but made a decision not to inform anyone else. Eliza had a feeling that Mr Darcy might not approve of his wife going about the Pemberley estates unaccompanied and without a carriage, whatever he might once have thought about her eyes being brightened by the exercise of walking. He need never know; his time was taken up with estate matters on Wednesdays.

Donning her sturdiest boots and a beloved cloak from her Longbourn days, which was warm and comfortable if not considered as smart as others in her new wardrobe, she set off. Out of doors, Elizabeth instantly felt better in the fresh air with a light rain misting her features, the smell of Derbyshire limestone and the scent of moss sprinkled like green jewels upon stone walls assailing her senses. Following the river on the shortcut to Lambton bridge, she took pleasure in observing the riverbank twisting and curving with the rushing water moving swiftly in between, glinting like steel knives when the afternoon sun decided to make a brief appearance. Ancient trees dipped their gnarled fingers into the rushing torrent as their branches arched over her head dripping raindrops onto her hood. Walking was sublime exercise when the outlook was so beautiful and Lizzy made rapid progress becoming almost disappointed as the sight of a few scattered cottages and the medieval bridge with its five arches and triangular cutwaters came into view. Crossing the bridge she paused to watch the waterbirds for a moment. There were few people about and of those who walked none seemed to take much notice of her for which she was grateful. She knew if she had arrived in a carriage or dressed in her best pelisse it might have been a different matter. It was lovely to be anonymous for a change and the sense of freedom that she felt such as she had enjoyed in the old days almost overwhelmed her. Chiding herself for being silly and sentimental she continued over the bridge and turned into the lane leading to the High Street. It had been her intention to turn round and walk straight back to Pemberley, but now she was here she was struck by the idea of calling on Mrs Butler. That she could send news to her Aunt Gardiner about her friend seemed a wonderful idea.

The bridge I had in my head was the one at Bakewell which dates from the thirteenth century. Here’s a link to some lovely photographs of Bakewell and its famous bridge. My own photos of Bakewell can be found by clicking on the sidebar.

Finally – what was Lydia Bennet up to in April? Here’s an extract from Lydia Bennet’s Story – I hope you enjoy it!

Harriet paused, her chestnut curls trembling with animation and her eyes sparkling with amusement. “Just as we thought a certain couple on the point of announcing their betrothal, Mary King has left to stay with her uncle in Liverpool! It is reported that she had so many bandboxes, it looked as if she was going for good!

“George Wickham is said to be suffering her absence greatly,” added Isabella, “as he has been seen going around the town with an air of despondency the like of which has never been seen in him before. I daresay you may have seen it for yourself if you chanced to pass him in the High Street this morning.”

“We have not had that misfortune thankfully, though I have a mind to say that I would not expect him to be mourning the loss of Miss King’s affection,” Lydia immediately answered, unbuttoning her pelisse. “It is far more likely that he is feeling the deprivation to his pocketbook. No wonder you say he looks as though he’s lost a shilling and found a groat!”

“So, Lizzy may get him after all,” said Kitty, voicing her thoughts out loud.

“They will be able to marry in Longbourn church before the summer is out; how delightful!” Harriet exclaimed, pouring tea into china bowls. “I do love a happy ending.”

Lydia could not think why the idea of her sister marrying Mr Wickham did not fill her mind with the same enrapt effusions, but she admitted to herself that it did not. Perhaps it was the idea that her sister might be the first to marry and, therefore, enjoy all the attention that would bring. Try as she might, Lydia felt most jealous of the notice and affection that was bestowed upon Elizabeth, particularly by her father. Except to tell her how silly she was, Lydia could not recall a single comment that her papa had ever made, let alone one in her favour. Despite the appearance Lydia gave of caring little for his remarks, she longed for him to say a kind word. By every unlucky turn of fate, her attempts to please him always ended in disaster, which had the effect of vexing him all the more. And on top of Mr Bennet’s adoration of Lydia’s eldest sisters, every young man in Hertfordshire seemed smitten with Jane and Lizzy. Not only were her sisters considered to be great beauties, but they also enjoyed countless opportunities to exhibit their loveliness to its greatest potential. If a new gown or a new bonnet were to be had, Jane and Elizabeth were treated first. It was very hard sometimes, Lydia thought, not to be envious when the best compliment she ever received was that she was tall and “handsome” and her best dress was a hand-me-down that even Mary, who had no interest in fashion, had turned down.

Well, apart from her own feelings, she felt she knew her sister Lizzy well enough, and Lydia was not convinced that the latter still held a torch for Mr Wickham. “I would not be surprised if Elizabeth has fallen in love with someone in Hunsford,” she said out loud.

“Has Mr Collins a brother?” asked Harriet, who had them all falling about with laughter at the very idea.

“Lord, no!” Lydia cried. “Thank goodness that there is only one such odious gentleman as Mr Collins in this world, though I daresay if he had a brother, he would have proposed to my sister Lizzy also. No, there is another gentleman, I believe, who is courting my sister. She has been in the company of Mr Darcy and his cousin, Colonel Fitzwilliam, very much of late, and I am inclined to think that the Colonel may be the man. After all, it could not very well be Mr Darcy!”

They all laughed again at the idea of Mr Darcy being Elizabeth’s suitor. The gentleman had lately been staying in Hertfordshire with his friend, Mr Bingley, and though the neighbourhood (and Lydia’s sister Jane in particular) had warmed to the latter, Mr Darcy had been found to be very proud and disagreeable, fancying himself above all the company.

“Well, now I have a tale to cheer us all up,” Penelope started. “I will tell you all about my friend Caroline and her brother Edward, twins and alike as two peas in a pod. They were invited to a fancy costume ball and, having no particular apparel, decided to dress as one another. Edward was squeezed into his sister’s gown!”

“And what did Caroline wear?” begged Lydia. “Did she don her brother’s breeches?”

“Yes she did! Can you think of anything more shocking?” cried Penelope. “And not only did she completely look the part of a man, but Edward fooled the entire party.”

“Did they really think he was his sister?” asked Kitty.

“Well, I’m told none doubted him for a moment,” Penelope replied. “He was applied to for ever so many dances!”

Penelope’s description of Edward’s dress and toilette diverted them so excessively, that when one of the officers, Mr Chamberlayne, called half an hour later, he was not only kidnapped for the rest of the day but forced into allowing them to dress him likewise. Kitty ran to her Aunt Phillips’ house just around the corner to procure a gown and a wig, whilst the rest of them prepared to get him ready.

Lydia and Harriet trapped young Chamberlayne in Harriet’s dressing room as soon as he could be persuaded to accompany them upstairs.

“We promise we won’t come in until you are ready to have your corset laced,” Lydia called through the door, to the amusement of the other girls who hovered outside, “but do not take too long. We would not wish to take you by surprise. In any case, there is no need to be so shy, Mr Chamberlayne. Harriet has seen it all before. Just say the word if you need any help; we’re awfully good at undoing buttons, you know!”

Harriet, Penelope, and Isabella did all they could to smother their giggles. Lydia was in her element. “I’ll lace his corset so long as you all help to pull,” she commanded as the door opened to admit them. Penelope and Isabella stood on the threshold with their mouths gaping wide open, unsure whether they should join in. “Don’t just stand there, Pen, give me a hand,” Lydia cried, as the young officer was set on before he knew what was happening. “Isabella, help me pull harder. Quick, before he changes his mind! It will all be over in a minute, Mr Chamberlayne; stand still, I beg you.”

By the time they had done with him, they were all feeling rather jealous of his pretty looks and even he admitted he was a beauty. He was laced and frocked in a muslin gown with a scarlet cloak and a bonnet topped with feathers and flowers. He had eyelashes that any young miss would be proud to possess and they all agreed (even he) that a little rouge and powder went a very long way to improve the complexion! Colonel Forster came in just ten minutes later, after being disturbed by all the noise, and was almost fooled until Lydia could not resist telling him the truth.

A while later some of the other officers arrived, all looking quite as splendid in their regimentals as ever. Lydia thought Mr Wickham looked particularly dashing this morning, his brown curls waving over his head to fall on his stiff, braided collar. His eyes met hers as he entered the room. So brazen was his expression that she caught her breath and felt obliged to turn immediately to Kitty as if she had remembered something of great importance.

“Have you heard any interesting or diverting snippets of gossip lately, Mr Wickham?” quipped Mr Denny as he walked through the door.

“Why, now you come to mention it, dear fellow,” Wickham replied, taking up his stance for all to see him, “I did hear two handsome young ladies in earnest conversation on my way here.”

“How splendid! Pray, Wickham, were these delightful creatures known to you?”

“Why yes, two of the fairest girls in Meryton struck up a most enchanting discourse.” Mr Wickham laughed at his own comic efforts and pitching his voice several octaves higher, with his lips pursed, he played his joke, impersonating Kitty and Lydia by turns.

“Kitty, that fellow over there is vexing me greatly,” he smirked and simpered, looking straight into Lydia’s eyes, with a pat of his curls, before he leapt around on the other side to take up Kitty’s corner. “How can that be, Lydia, when he is not even looking at you?” he trilled next, with one hand on his hip. He paused, as they all started to shout, before delivering his final assault. “That, my dear Kitty, is precisely what’s vexing me!”

The entire company could not, or would not, scold him they were laughing so much. Lydia thought him shameless and had soon told him so, as she did her best to disguise her embarrassment. She felt him watching her, but when she dared to look again, she was disappointed to see that she no longer held his attention. Suddenly, every eye was turned upon the young lady whom the officers had not seen before. Lydia was highly amused to see every soldier smooth his hair and adjust his cuffs, before vying for a position where they could admire her more closely.

Colonel Forster performed the introductions so seriously that it was near impossible for Lydia and the others to keep their countenances. “I am particularly pleased to be able to present our own dear Chamberlayne’s sister, Miss Lucy, who has come to enjoy Meryton’s society for a few days.”

“Lucy” bobbed a curtsey and fluttered her eyelashes, paying particular attention to Denny, and said, “I have heard so much about you all and much of you, Mr Denny, sir, but indeed no one prepared me for such handsome soldiers nor for such gallantry. I declare I love a redcoat more than I ever knew.”

“She is rather shy,” whispered the Colonel in Denny’s ear, “but I am sure you will put Chamberlayne’s little sister at her ease. Unfortunately, the man himself has had to pop out to see the saddler on business in the town, leaving her to our tender charge. I do not think he will be long, but she has been fretting for him ever since he left.”

Of course “Lucy” was not upset or in the least bit reserved and immediately took to flirting and teasing and making such a play for Mr Denny that his complexion took on the same hue as his scarlet coat. They were all excessively amused to observe how he became increasingly attentive as the morning wore on. How they did not immediately laugh out loud Lydia was unable to account.

“Do tell me all about yourself, Mr Denny,” begged “Lucy,” seating herself next to him in very close proximity on the sofa. “I have heard there is not another soldier so brave as you.”

“I am sure we are all as courageous as one another here, Miss Lucy,” Denny answered, twisting his hat nervously. “May I say what a pleasure it is to be introduced? It is always felicitous to meet with such handsome relations of one’s fellow officers, and indeed, the word handsome does you no credit. I had no idea Chamberlayne had such a beautiful sister. Where has he been hiding you?”

“It is too true, kind sir,” answered “Miss Lucy,” “I have, until recently, been much hidden away at home, but now I have come to Meryton I hope I shall be able to enjoy every society…and your company would be truly beneficial to me I believe, Mr Denny.”
“Do you care to dance?” Denny simpered. “It would be my pleasure to partner you at our party this evening if you would be so kind as to consider a humble soldier’s wishes.”

“Mr Denny!” “Lucy” cried, jumping up excitedly. “I could not wish for anything better; you may engage me for all of my dances,” she declared, forcing all observers to snigger behind hands and into handkerchiefs. They were in stitches Mr Chamberlayne was so convincing, such a talented mimic whose voice was pitched just like a young girl’s.

Mr Wickham, who had not been enjoying the fact that his efforts to attract “Miss Lucy” had been impeded, took over Denny’s part, and it was only when he remarked on the likeness between “Lucy” and her brother that Harriet and Lydia could bear it no longer. They laughed till they thought they should each suffer a seizure, which of course, made the men very suspicious.
“Lucy” broke down and declared that he could not endure such a falsetto modulation any longer but begged he might be allowed to keep the dress on for dancing later, to which there was a vast deal of laughter and jeers of derision. Mr Chamberlayne was made to part with his gown and wash his face before the evening party began. Lydia danced with all the officers, three times with Mr Denny and four with Mr Wickham. Considering the absence of his sweetheart, Mary, Mr Wickham appeared to be in reasonable good humour. Lydia wondered if he had heard that her sister Lizzy was leaving for London at the end of the week and would be back in Longbourn by the middle of next month. Perhaps it was this very fact that had raised his spirits.

Admitting to herself how much she had enjoyed having all of Mr Wickham’s attention to herself for a while, Lydia was forced to confess that the prospect of sharing his company once more with her elder sister was not entirely welcome. Elizabeth had been his favourite once before and could become so again, she was sure.

Although she did not look forward to this unwelcome likelihood, Lydia felt there could not be a happier or more contented creature. Life was good and with friends such as hers, she was certain of constant amusement!

Happy Easter!

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I love using pictures and prints for inspiration. When I was writing Lydia Bennet’s Story, I drew on many that I was able to find in museums and books. These prints of contemporary scenes in Brighton by the seaside helped me to write a scene where Lydia and her friend, Harriet Forster, are interrupted by the attentions of a certain gentleman.

The following afternoon found Harriet and Lydia taking a turn along the seafront. They were standing watching some ladies riding on donkeys when Lydia was startled by a voice in her ear which seemed to come from nowhere. “Mr Wickham,” she cried as she turned to face him, “whatever do you mean by pouncing on young women in such a manner?! You quite frightened the life out of me.”

“Forgive me, Mrs Forster, Miss Bennet, but you were so engrossed, I could not resist making you jump. I declare, Miss Bennet, that I never saw you in such studied contemplation since I saw you outside the milliner’s in Meryton!”

Lydia could not help herself; she struck him on the arm for his insolence. “As it happens, we are whiling away a pleasant afternoon by watching the fashionables on horseback. It is vastly entertaining. Look over there; that poor creature can hardly stand for the two comely dames he has on his back.”

“Ah, yes, that is most amusing, though for myself, there is nothing so delightful as a horseback ride for two in my opinion, especially if you can share a saddle. Now wouldn’t that be a prospect, Miss Bennet? I am sure you would enjoy a ride with me above all else!” Mr Wickham twirled his cane with a flick of his wrist. “However,” he went on, “press me not, I am unable to oblige today. I have important matters to attend, and in any case, I have promised Miss Westlake a turn in a donkey cart first.”

Lydia regarded Mr Wickham’s countenance, so smug and self-satisfied. He presumed too much if he thought that she would instantly say yes to his suggestion. She was most vexed to be considered only as an afterthought to Miss Westlake. He was full of his own importance, she decided, and determined right there and then that, if he ever should suggest they go out on horseback or in a donkey cart for two, she would refuse immediately. She was on the point of answering with a cutting retort when he started again, leaving her to gape with her mouth wide open.

“No, I must go,” he announced, clicking his heels. “I can spend no longer standing here in idle chatter; our Colonel awaits me! I look forward to tomorrow evening, and Miss Bennet, if you stop scowling and smile pleasantly at me, I shall engage you for the first two dances. Good day, Mrs Forster.” With a short bow he set off at a march along the promenade before Lydia had a chance to answer him. She left her friend in no doubt of what she thought of his behaviour.

“Well, of all the conceited, arrogant…good Lord! That man is the end! He thinks he has only to say the word and I shall jump. Well, I will not! I shall endeavour to dance all night with Denny and Chamberlayne or indeed anyone who might wish to partner me but Mr Wickham!”

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Book Review from the Jane Austen Society of North America – Kelly M. McDonald

Lydia Bennet’s Story was reviewed alongside Carrie Bebris’ novel, The Matters at Mansfield so I’ve extracted the relevant parts of the review which concern my book.

A good opening line can instantly vitalize a novel…Jane Odiwe sets her scene exceedingly well: “The true misfortune, which besets any young lady destined for fortune and favour, is to find that she has been born into an unsuitable family.” The two books share many characteristics: they grab the reader from the beginning; sustain momentum; and present work of talented authors. They likewise extract from Austen two bad boys everyone loves to hate,…and pivot their denouements upon ill-advised marriages, for ultimately these men stray from the fold.

Blending narrative with diary extracts, Jane Odiwe presents Lydia in all her giddy, officer-hungry glory. Odiwe’s subtle and pointed conveyance of a character’s manners or foibles in a few words is a delight – an example, Lydia’s asides concerning her mother. While burning an unwanted gift from a potential lover, Lydia comments, “It caught the attention of my mother who is generally not so observant but she has a suspicious nature.” Mrs Bennet is seen only through Lydia’s eyes, and this manner of characterization is Odiwe’s asset, especially when dealing with the popular Darcys and Bingleys. She paints the two couples very lightly, and thereby avoids upsetting the reverence they generate in many Austen fans. Lydia Bennet’s Story stands on its own, though the action and characters from P&P are utilized as needed, usually via a few deft references.

Lydia’s time in Brighton, among the uniforms she so adores, comprises the early section of the novel; by mid-point she and Wickham have been discovered by Darcy and are wed, though happiness is definitely not on the horizon. Wickham is already on the outlook for his next conquest, and the diary device allows revelations of Lydia’s more secret traits. Concerning her move to Newcastle, the new Mrs. Wickham discloses, “What I would really like is a house on the higher slopes of town whre the wealthy are settling, not timbered lodgings in the old part of town.” One spouse with a roving eye, the other with illusions of grandeur, spells trouble.

Readers who wish for a little sensuality in their Austen might welcome Lydia’s gentle trysts, though one might expect a bit more effort on Mr. Wickham’s part for this overt cad to have won his Lydia. His real competition comes from the Rev. Alexander Fitzalan, brother of Lydia’s friend Isabella. This pair undeniably forms the romantic center of the novel. Readers will stay up late in order to finish Lydia Bennet’s Story quickly and leave well pleased with a nice narrative.

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News of a new blog – Austen Endeavours
– I am enjoying this blog from Aimee Fry and thought you might too! Aimee indulges her love of all things Austen and Regency along with her quest to become a writer!

Thanks to Jenny for a mention of Lydia Bennet’s Story from Wondrous Reads which is a really interesting and entertaining teen book blog. There’ll be a review from Jenny coming soon!

Finally from ABC news in Australia:

The National Gallery of Victoria is preparing to open an exhibition charting the fashion changes during Jane Austen’s lifetime (1775-1817).

Persuasion: Fashion in the Age of Jane Austen features over 70 works and will include fashion, prints and drawings, decorative arts and paintings, with a focus on English women’s dress from the early 19th century.

Curator Roger Leong says fashion played an important role in Jane Austen’s novels.

“Austen’s witty and perceptive comments about fashion mirrored the complex relationships within English society during her lifetime, especially between different classes and men and women,” he said in a statement.

“The era witnessed radical changes in the way people dressed.

“The variations of the waistline, upwards from the natural waist and then back again, were a distinctive characteristic of the time, one of the most dynamic periods in fashion.”

The exhibition is open at the NGV International from 22 May to 8 November 2009.

You lucky people! I wish I could come and see it – I love a fashion exhibition. If you are in the UK like me you can always visit the Fashion Museum which always has wonderful displays includng a current one on historical dress, or another favourite of mine is the dress collection at the V&A. The illustration is of a little character – Dizzie Lizzie – that I drew for a book made for my children some years ago.

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I’ve just received the cover from my editor at Sourcebooks for my new book Willoughby’s Return. I am absolutely thrilled, I think it’s gorgeous! Thank you to the designers who have worked on it, you’ve done a wonderful job, I don’t know how I shall manage to wait until November to hold a copy in my hands!
There’s more information about this book, Lydia Bennet’s Story and Effusions of Fancy on my website with extracts and some of my paintings.

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Monday, February 9, 2009
A review from India Jane’s Bookshelf

Book Review: Lydia Bennet’s Story
I’m kind of picky about Pride and Prejudice sequels or knock-offs. I loved Pamela Aidan’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series. Other than that, most of them haven’t passed muster.

I’m not a huge Austen fan, but I am an Austen fan. I won’t likely notice if small details in the story don’t jibe, but there is a certain feeling that needs to be present in a successful Austen sequel. And, as a historically-educated book freak, I hate anachronisms and the endowing of regency-era characters with modern sentiments.

So I always pick these books up with a dubious spirit. In fact, one of the two I brought home this time probably won’t even be read after my daughter told me what she, Austen fan extraordinaire, had heard about it. But this book, Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe is delightful.

It lets us into the head of Lydia, who is every bit as silly and naughty as we thought, and we see the events from her point of view. Maybe it is just because I was a very silly teen, but I found the depiction of Lydia’s thoughts to be very realistic. I like the way the author didn’t try to infuse Lydia with some modern sentiments that led her to behave in an unconventional way. She let her be what she was written as: a rather willful, silly, romantic twit.

The story that is added–the what came after–also fits the events of P&P and is true to the characters. It gave me a satisfying sense that yes, this could be how Lydia’s story turns out. A most enjoyable read.

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Booklist

Odiwe emulates Austen’s famous wit, and manages to give Lydia a happily-ever-after ending worthy of any Regency romance heroine.

Foreword Magazine

Odiwe’s Lydia is as wild and reckless as readers of Austen’s novel could imagine. It is satisfying to see a plausible description of their relationship and lifestyle during their marriage, and the few glimpses readers are offered of Elizabeth, Darcy, and other original characters is faithful to the original.
Her new acquaintances are interesting and well developed, and Wickham is just as scandalous as ever. The ending will be a complete surprise.

Publisher’s Weekly

In this pleasant addition to the growing microgenre of Austen knockoffs, Odiwe pays nice homage to Austen’s stylings and endears the reader to the formerly secondary character, spoiled and impulsive Lydia Bennet… devotees will enjoy.

Jane Austen’s Regency World Magazine

Jane Odiwe…gives us a heroine who is remarkably likeable…Lydia’s diary… a catalogue of frivolity – reveals a great sense of fun, an engaging lack of self-pity and an unerring eye for a good-looking chap …(Odiwe’s) technique of interspersing third person narrative with ‘diary extracts’ works particularly well as a way of counterpointing the disastrous events in Lydia’s life with her indomitable optimism and spirit.’

The Bath Chronicle.

A new twist in the tale for Austen’s Lydia. Jane Austen fans are in for a treat with Jane Odiwe’s sequel to Pride and Prejudice detailing Lydia Bennet’s story. Lydia, the thoughtless, conceited younger daughter who was only interested in flirting with officers and getting married before her sisters, has a chance to redeem herself in this novel. Creatively interweaving the narrative with extracts from Lydia’s diary, the reader begins to understand her actions and the motives of others. Throughout the book new friends are introduced and old ones are revisited against a vivid background of Regency England. In Bath, all the familiar haunts from Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are revisited; the Pump Room, the Upper Rooms, Queen Square and even Gravel Walk.
An unexpected twist brings about a happy ending for Lydia.

The Historical Novel Society, A Review for Lydia Bennet’s Story

The flirtatious Lydia Bennet, the youngest sister in Pride and Prejudice, is the heroine of this delightful Jane Austen sequel….The narrative is interspersed with Lydia’s diary entries, which are hilarious. Lydia matures quite a bit through the course of the novel and at the end is no longer the self-centred flirt she was at the beginning. The author makes this transition gradual and quite believable. The new characters are all very much in the spirit of Austen. I highly recommend this book to fans of Jane Austen or Regency romances.

Jane Austen Today

Lydia Bennet’s Story: A Sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice by Jane Odiwe is a fun and spirited romance. 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.

Austenprose

…what Jane Austen introduced Jane Odiwe has cleverly expanded upon picking up the plot and style without 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.

How it all turns out for the young lady from Longbourn in Hertfordshire, I will not say. However, I will only allude that the concluding adventure of the most determined flirt to ever make her family ridiculous, might make Jane Austen smile. Lydia Bennet’s Story Adventure is rollicking good fun with a surpise twist. Now that my hope of a novel about her has come to fruition, it can only be surpassed by Lydia Bennet the movie. Imagine what folly and fun would ensue. La!

The Jane Austen Centre web site

New friends are introduced and old ones are revisited with grace and charm. Romances are concocted, and hearts are won and lost against a vivid background of Regency England. Brighton is brought forth in all its gaudy splendor; a whole camp full of soldiers with balls and parties every night. Newcastle becomes a real place, far more than just a northern banishment; a seaside city full of full of merchants and warehouses, shops and gossips. In Bath, all the familiar haunts from Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are revisited; the Pump Room, the Upper Rooms, Queen’s Square and even the Gravel Walk, so often the trysting place of young couples.

With an unexpected plot twist the story of young Lydia rapidly comes to its satisfying conclusion. Readers will not be disappointed by the creative way the author brings justice to all. Lydia’s story is thoroughly entertaining. Despite the illicit nature of the Wickham’s relationship at first, readers will find the matter delicately handled with no reason to blush. Lydia’s voice is sweet and lively. Hers is not a nature to be weighed down by care or sorrow. A greater understanding of her nature and situation brings the reader a new compassion for her and an admiration for her overcoming spirit.

Lydia Bennet was, indeed, born to an extraordinary fate, and I, for one, am grateful to Ms. Odiwe for sharing her story.

Pemberley

I’ve just finished this book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Lydia was lively and fun, just as she is in Pride and Prejudice, and there were some appearances by the Darcys and the Bingleys as well as the rest of Lydia’s family.
Lydia’s story starts at Longbourn. It’s written as a novel, but every now and again the narrative is interspersed with Lydia’s journal entries, which provide interest and novelty. The tone is very bright and lively, just like Lydia, and her journal entries are very funny. I often laughed out loud, which is not something I do with many books.
It’s a funny book, written with a detailed knowledge of Pride and Prejudice, and I enjoyed it immensely.

Diary of an Eccentric

Odiwe’s writing style made me feel almost as though I were actually reading Austen. I had to remind myself it was a sequel several times.

I know not everyone enjoys Pride & Prejudice sequels; there are a lot of them out there. But if you like Jane Austen and her heroines, I recommend Lydia Bennet’s Story. Lydia Bennet is not a name that comes to mind when thinking about Austen’s heroines, but Odiwe’s story of Lydia’s adventures shows her strength and shows that there’s more to the flighty Bennet sister than meets the eye

Reader’s Respite

The term “sequel,” I am happy to report, has no application whatsoever to Jane Odiwe’s delightful novel, Lydia Bennet’s Story.

By the end of the story, Lydia’s actions were quite forgivable in my eyes. She made mistakes many of us can sympathize with, having made many of them ourselves, albeit in a different century. Over-weening pride – an allusion to the novel from which she springs – only compounds her misjudgments.

… the novel is lighthearted enough for enjoyable read and I was quite pleased to discover that it may be considered a stand-alone story, meaning that one need not be an Austen aficionado nor even to have read Pride and Prejudice in order to enjoy this book. If, however, you are a serious Austen fan and are loath to try reading one of the many “sequels,” you can safely set aside that fear in this instance and sit down with a very enjoyable tale. Happy reading!

Austenblog

Jane Odiwe has given Lydia Bennet a plausible backstory that, if it doesn’t redeem her, at least gives her the benefit of the doubt; and a happier ending than one would expect, and happier than the cynical Janeite might think she probably deserves.
…absorbing and well-written, sexy without being explicit, and like the best of such alternative-viewpoint Austen paraliterature, we get a new, thoughtful, and sympathetic perspective on a well-known, well-loved classic.

Savvy, Verse and Wit

Lydia Bennet’s Story does not miss a beat, Odiwe has a strong command of Austen’s language, style, and characters, but she puts her own flare on the wild maven that is Lydia.
Readers of Jane Austen and Austen enthusiasts will enjoy this novel, but even those readers looking for a fast-paced “romance” will enjoy Lydia Bennet’s Story.

The Reviewer

I loved this book. I fully expected to hate this book. I expected to finish it and thank my lucky stars that I only had one Austen related book on my desk. I was sad when this book ended.

ExLibris

A Wonderful Austen Sequel

I enjoyed Lydia Bennet’s Story immensely. It was a fun story with everything I love about good Regency fiction – good writing, plenty of period descriptions and background information that lend authenticity, and romance that is exciting but not over the top. Odiwe did an excellent job of staying true to Austen’s style while creating new characters and plots to make the story fresh and interesting. She also gave me a new appreciation for the character of Lydia. In an age of numerous Austen sequels, this one is definitely worth reading.

Diary of an Eccentric

I recommend Lydia Bennet’s Story. Lydia Bennet is not a name that comes to mind when thinking about Austen’s heroines, but Odiwe’s story of Lydia’s adventures shows her strength and shows that there’s more to the flighty Bennet sister than meets the eye.

Book Zombie

Lydia Bennet’s Story is not only a terrific story but also a wonderful example of Jane Odiwe’s talent at character development. With just a bit of background she has transformed Lydia into a character worthy of her own novel. I believe this is a fantastic Austen sequel, because it changes nothing of the original Austen creations, instead it digs deeper and adds more personality to a secondary character creating a story line that veers in another direction.

Pictures and Conversations

…like Austen’s stories, the plot always takes a backseat to tone and wit. Lydia Bennet’s Story is no different. While some of the comments are more ribald than dear Jane would have penned, Odiwe really captures the playful social commentary that Austen loved to present.

Library Queue

Lydia Bennet’s Story is a fun Regency period read. It was a little naughty for me in some parts, complete with heaving bosoms, but overall I found it enjoyable and true to the Austen spirit.

Once upon a Romance.

Lydia Bennet’s Story gives great insight into Lydia’s character and spins an entertaining tale of Lydia’s life. Lydia Bennet’s Story is an entertaining story, which shows Lydia in a sympathetic light. Ms. Odiwe does something, that I thought nearly impossible–redeem Lydia Bennet.

Reading Romance books

…entertaining to read. Lydia learned from her folly and matured somewhat, though not changing in essentials. I was happy to see that things ended ideally for her.

Book Blogger’s Diary

The author nicely makes use of existing material on Lydia Bennet to incorporate, and later expand on, in her own style to craft a story that’s overall fun and makes for light, entertaining reading.

Random Jottings

Jane Odiwe has caught Lydia’s gushing, breathless manner beautifully in those parts of the book which are purporting to be her diary.

Jane Austen in Vermont

And how rich that Austen’s flighty Lydia becomes Odiwe’s ‘fish out of water’ in the very first sentence of the first narrative chapter: ‘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.’ A stronger opening has seldom been set down on paper. Lydia’s self-contention of being a child snatched from noble parents at birth nicely sets up the story to come, positioning the reader firmly on Lydia’s side.

Amazon

From the first chapter to the very last page, paragraph,even sentence….I was enthralled. The conversations, descriptions of characters, clothes, scenes… all are brought to life so well that I got completely wrapped up in this new world.

I loved this book from its first page – Ms Odiwe’s writing is so descriptive – it sends you back to the Regency World in all its sensuous detail.

I only got this book at Christmas and read it within two days as I could not put it down!

I really enjoyed reading `Lydia Bennet!’ Jane Odiwe has beautifully captured Lydia’s giddiness and zest for life in this sparkling Regency romp. Fans of the period can rest assured Jane has done her research carefully. There are some nice touches of humour, and watch out for the surprise `twist’ – I nearly jumped out of my chair!

What a delightfiul story. Full of Regency detail and Jane Austen style.

The “piece de resistance” is the twist to the plot at the end which readers should keep to themselves!

I’d recommend this book for people who enjoy Jane Austen’s novels and especially for those who like the Masterpiece Theater adaptations of said novels.

Excellent book. Took it on holiday for the duration. Lasted one day. Could not put it down.

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