Review: Lydia, the Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice

About the book:

A spirited, witty and fresh reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice! Lydia is the youngest Bennet sister and she’s sick of country life – instead of sewing and reading, she longs for adventure. When a red-coated garrison arrives in Merryton, Lydia’s life turns upside down. As she falls for dashing Wickham, she’s swept into a whirlwind social circle and deposited in a seaside town, Brighton. Sea-bathing, promenades and scandal await – and a pair of intriguing twins. Can Lydia find out what she really wants – and can she get it?

Cover of Natasha Farrant's Lydia

Click for the preview

Review by Katy Haye:

I am a HUGE fan of Pride & Prejudice. I’ve read it numerous times and can quote the famous lines if you give me half an excuse. So, for fans like me, adding a new book to that universe is a bold step and not something to be attempted by the faint of heart.

I’m not dreadfully precious, I will point that out. I don’t hold Pride & Prejudice to be entirely sacrosanct and untouchable. I loved the TV adaptation of PD James’ Death Comes to Pemberley (but I didn’t love it enough to seek out the book; I think a large part of the attraction was Matthew Rhys, to be entirely honest). I also read and loved Longbourn – the P&P story told from the point of view of the servants “below stairs”. I didn’t much like the movie Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (just a bit too silly), although it was entertaining enough.

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice is a respectable addition to the Pride & Prejudice universe. It was a pleasure to read. I zipped through it in a day. It’s lacking the witty glory of Austen’s prose (but quite right, too – anyone attempting to ape that is asking for trouble), but it was a competent, well-written story. I enjoyed visiting Regency Brighton, and the resolution of the love story (if that’s what it is) was unexpected and satisfying.

But I didn’t love it enough to grab people by the hand and demand they read it. I think, overall, I the strongest feeling in my mind is what a shame you have to piggyback onto something famous in order to get people to read your book. I understand the pleasure of the familiar, but finding a new treasure is equally fabulous … isn’t it?

If you can’t get enough of Pride & Prejudice, give it a try. You might very well like it. I’m going to go and check out what else Natasha Farrant has written.

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year (it lost out to Love Song by Sophia Bennett – read our review). Find out more about the award and other shortlisted books on their website.

Katy Haye writes speculative fiction for young adult readers. Her latest novel, Discord, is currently available.

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