This was the last book sent to me by the brilliant Book Elves at the Guardian Children’s Books website and I am delighted to be reviewing it on this blog.
If you have not read Pride and Prejudice ( or if you do not know the story from film or TV versions) 15 year-old Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennett sisters who reside at Longbourn during the Georgian era. Their mother’s only ambition is to see them all married, otherwise they will be penniless when their father dies. In the original book their story focuses mainly on the two eldest sisters, however Natasha Farrant has retold the story through Lydia’s eyes, as written in her journal.
The journal was a present from her sister Mary, and Lydia is thoroughly annoyed as she would much rather have had some pretty ribbons or some new clothes; it is a great opening and reveals her character very well. Her life is pretty dull until the arrival of a regiment of the militia in the next village of Meryton, henceforth her journal entries become increasingly vivacious, filled with tales of parties and dancing with the handsome officers. In contrast to her frivolous nature, the author also shows you that Lydia is an ambitious girl who wants to travel and see more of the world than just her sleepy village.
The turning point of the story is when Lydia is invited to visit Brighton as the guest of the Colonel’s wife. A quote which beautifully sums up Lydia’s personality is when she writes:
“I may be going to Hell, but I’m going to Brighton first.”
As Lydia might say, “Lord how I laughed” when I read this line!
From this point, the story departs from the original novel as it tells you about the events in Brighton which eventually lead to the denouement of the tale; I won’t put in any spoilers here.
Overall Lydia’s lighthearted narrative is bubbly and amusing and a thoroughly enjoyable read. I think that this book is an excellent introduction to the classic novel Pride and Prejudice, which I now intend to read, and I would highly recommend it to anyone of 10+. I rate it 4.5/5 and I am looking forward to reading more books by Natasha Farrant!