Oct 30, 2008

Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe

Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe is a different type of sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice; it does not retell the lives of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy, their children, or modernize their story as a 20th century romance. Lydia Bennet's Story transports the reader back to 19th Century England to tell Lydia's woeful and headstrong tail of romance and intrigue, rather than the tales woven by Jane Austen for Lizzy and Jane Bennet.

We join Lydia on her journey from the balls at the Assembly in Hertfordshire, England, through Brighton, and Newcastle. Headstrong and willy-nilly Lydia is just as vivid in these pages as she is in Jane Austen's novel. Although her character plays a minor role in Austen's novel, she takes center stage in Odiwe's, but with journal entries sprinkled amidst the storyline, the reader begins to see what motivates Lydia to act as she does in public and with the soldiers. As the youngest daughter in the Bennet family, she seeks acceptance and love in all the wrong places.

Once in Brighton, Lydia is shameless in her pursuit of a husband and begins lavishing her affections on George Wickham. Despite his declarations that he can love no one, Lydia will have none of it, shunning Captain Trayton-Camfield, who seems to truly care for her. Lydia and Wickham run off to London together, and she expects them to get married, though it only materializes when Wickham is pressured by none-other-than Mr. Darcy. This is where Austen's Pride & Prejudice leaves Lydia.

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. Despite winning her prize--Mr. Wickham--Lydia soon realizes married life to her charming soldier is not all she expected it to be as his gambling and womanizing continue. In a way, Odiwe's Lydia continues to fool herself that Wickham's character is merely misunderstood, but soon his character is undeniable, and she is forced to not only deal with her loveless marriage, but their poor station in life.

Here's one of my favorite quotes from Lydia is on page 290:

"Even in my reckless alliance, I believed I was in love and yes, a state of confusion it might be, but I submitted to it and felt my regard most wholeheartedly. And though I now believe my love was not truly returned, that I was mislead, I still believe in the power of true love."

Here Lydia expresses the evolution of her character and highlights how she has matured on this journey of love, hardship, and growth. She is no longer the silly, younger sister of Lizzy and Jane, but her own mature woman, though more bold than conventions are prepared to handle.

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.

About the Author:

Jane Odiwe is an artist and author. She is an avid fan of all things Austen and is the author and illustrator of Effusions of Fancy, consisting of annotated sketches from the life of Jane Austen. She lives with her husband and three children in North London.

Check out Jane Odiwe's blog here.

Thank you to Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks for sending Odiwe's Lydia Bennet's Story along for me to review, and stay tuned for a guest post from Jane Odiwe on Oct. 31. See what she and Lydia have to say about Halloween!

Want to win a copy of Jane Odiwe's Lydia Bennet's Story, check out the guest post tomorrow to learn how.

Also Reviewed By:
Diary of an Eccentric
A Book Blogger's Diary
Becky's Book Reviews
The Book Zombie
Library Queue

***Contest Reminders for Readers:

A copy of Black Flies by Shannon Burke is up for grabs until Nov. 5

A copy of Life After Genius by M. Ann Jacoby is up for grabs until Nov. 5


Jeannie said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one. I'm a big Austen fan and Lydia is a fun, devilish girl.

Anonymous said...

I have read many nice reviews for this book. Sounds fun, glad you like it too.

Karen Harrington said...

I hadn't heard about this book. Another one for the TBR pile!

Serena said...

Jeannie: She certainly is devilish, and you'll like this one.

Violet: It was a fun book.

Scobberlotcher: I'm glad to see I am making someone else's TBR pile grow for a change.

Katherine said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this book! Generally I'm not into P&P sequels, but this one might be worth checking out, if only to find out what the bad girl of the Bennet family has been up to!

Toni said...

Serena, this books sounds really good. I have a lot of Austen "follow-up" and Austen actual books to read. I will put this one on my list to read. Thanks for the good review. I really like that first bit of writing (quote) that you posted. Happy Reading

Iliana said...

Great review Serena. There are so many new books about Jane Austen's characters it's hard to keep up! Looking forward to the author's post tomorrow too.

Shana said...

Serena, I'm glad to see you enjoyed this take on Lydia's life after P&P. I'll be reading it soon ... maybe *sooner* after your review.


Serena said...

Katherine: I couldn't resist this one because its about a different sister and one I found annoying in Pride & Prejudice. It was well worth the read.

Toni: You should definitely be adding this to your TBR pile then.

Iliana: I have a hard time keeping up with the Jane Austen books as well. This is one of the best I've read.

Shana: I was wondering where you had run off to. I have noticed you busily posting reviews, etc. You must be having as good a time as I am. I recommend reading this one.

Ladytink_534 said...

I like the cover! I'm one of those weird people who have never actually read one of Jane Austen's books although I did try to get through Persuasiion but it was too slow for me.

Anonymous said...

I am very curious about your book. I don't really like Lidya, but...who guess!!
I know that you are writing another book about Marianne Brandon. I hope to see it very soon.
I live in Italy and my e-mail address is d.bergamo@libero.it.

teabird said...

You have me with journal entries... I'm a fool for them!

teabird 17 at YAHOO dot com

Suey said...

Sounds like a fun one!

Amanda said...

I haven't read Pride and Prejudice yet, though I have seen the BBC series. It seems that Lydia's story was waiting breathlessly to be told! I'd love to win a copy of the book. I would have to read P&P first though!

darbyscloset said...

Lydia sounds like Mary of the Boylen sister stories....I'll love this book...I'm always for the underdog!!!!
Thank you for the post,
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

Jane Odiwe said...

I just wanted to stop by to say hello, thank you very much to Serena for the review and for all your lovely comments.

Best wishes,

Anonymous said...

I think it's cool to see the point of view of a character that was belittled in jane austen's novel given deeper thought and more depth. sounds like a good read!!!


susan_geiger at eku dot edu

Anonymous said...

wrong email! it's this:

susan_geiger2 at eku dot edu

sorry. :)

windycindy said...

This book seems like a very good and interesting one to read. I have been reading good things about this book and am intrigued. Please enter me in your drawing. Many thanks, Cindi

Shelvicious said...

This book sounds amazing! I would very much like to hear Lydia's side of everything.


tanabata said...

Lydia always annoys me in Pride and Prejudice. I think it would be fascinating to hear her side of the story and to see her grow up a bit.

Tammy said...

I don't know if I could put up with Lydia in real life, but I've always enjoyed reading about her. Can't wait to check out this book!

Mom of 5 Boys said...

Lydia is one of my least favorite Austen characters. She is so thoroughly juvenile, clueless, and self-centered. But I do believe that anyone can change, and I'd love to see that happen to Lydia! I'm definitely putting this book on my wishlist. Thanks for the review!

Teddy Rose said...

Excellent review! I really hope I win this one!

Anna said...

I enjoyed your review and especially the quote showing Lydia's transformation. I really enjoyed this book. Odiwe made Lydia likeable, and I couldn't stand her character in P&P.

Diary of an Eccentric

Linda said...

The more I read and hear about the book, the more eager I am to read it. Hope I win a copy.

Anonymous said...

ok I never read a review about this book ANYWHERE here - and yurs is the first :)

and I really like it.. and i really lie that quoe- gives me a vague idea.

Have u noticed- how easy it is t NOT notice people who genuinly love us ...

it seems to happen very so often!

Anonymous said...

I have never heard of this book before and I'm so glad you wrote a review of it. It sounds like delicious fun!