Thursday, June 18, 2009
Book Review: Lydia Bennet's Story
This past week I read Lydia Bennet's Story by Jane Odiwe. I found it on the "new arrivals" shelf at the library and couldn't resist. I know, I know--it is not on the summer reading list I posted last week. But anything Jane Austen-related usually is too tempting for me.
Lydia Bennet's Story starts near the beginning of Pride & Prejudice and tells the story from the point of view of Elizabeth Bennet's younger sister Lydia. There is not too much about Elizabeth and Jane--Lydia is much too self-centered to be thinking of them. And, as part of the book is written in journal format, Lydia's first person point-of-view takes center stage.
Personally, I was interested to know how Lydia ended up running away with Mr. Wickham, as well as how their marriage turned out. This book serves to fill in those details. Odiwe does a good job of keeping Lydia's flirty, silly character true to Jane Austen's original design--Lydia is almost completely oblivious and careless to the havoc she causes by running away with Wickham. She is even less aware of Wickham's flaws or her own. And therein lies the charm; readers familiar with P&P know what is going on behind the scenes and can still appreciate Lydia as a character all her own.
The one flaw I found in Lydia was with the time line. In my mind it was too condensed. What ultimately happens with Lydia and Wickham takes place too quickly; if I had written the book I would have drawn it out longer. Maybe that is because I think Lydia should have to suffer the consequences of her silly behavior more (does that make me mean?). I do not want to give away the plot or conclusion, but Odiwe does have Lydia begin to realize her own flaws and mistakes and then redeems her. I like that she matures and grows, I just don't know if it was realistic to have it happen as quickly as the author penned it.
Despite this flaw I would still recommend Lydia Bennet's Story. It was a fun read, perfect for summer vacations and a little romantic daydreaming.
Scripture of the Day: Mosiah 4:14