Review: Lydia Bennet's Story

Lydia Bennet's Story: A Sequel to Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Odiwe

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Book Source: Sourcebooks, Inc.

It is my greatest desire to fall in love and catch myself a husband, yet, whilst I am truly proficient in the art of becoming enamoured, so far finding my partner in life eludes me, however vigilant I have been in the endeavor.
Lydia Bennet's Story

As a true Jane Austen fan, I had until recently shunned all attempted "sequels" to any of Ms. Austen's great works. Fearing disappointment, I did not want to sully what to me is the perfect novel: Pride and Prejudice. As it turns out, I need not have worried. The term "sequel," I am happy to report, has no application whatsoever to Jane Owide's delightful novel, Lydia Bennet's Story.

The novel explores the life of Lydia, the youngest and arguably most insipid Bennet sister. What if Lydia wasn't as vapid as many surmised? What if she was just a silly young girl who made the typical mistakes of the young?

Author Jane Owide, thankfully, makes no attempt to be Jane Austen. Writing in third person with occasional glimpses into Lydia's diary, Owide brilliantly takes a supporting character from a classic tale and uniquely makes it her own. Lydia is presented as a normal teen-aged girl with normal teenage concerns and immaturity and the unfortunate luck to cross paths with that infamous 19th-century player, Mr Wickham. This doesn't mean she isn't endearing: quite the opposite. After all, it's difficult not to identify with thoughts such as

Mr Wickham will NOT be forgiven for his behaviour, though I can think of nothing else, playing over the scene in my head with a different ending each time. I now know just how I should have behaved and what I should have said which is vexing in the extreme.
Lydia Bennet's diary, 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 underlying seriousness of the follies of youth notwithstanding, 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!

Title: Lydia Bennet's Story
Author: Jane Odiwe
ISBN-13: 978-1402214752
356 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Date: October 1, 2008

Other Reviews Available at:

Diary of an Eccentric
Becky's Book Reviews
A Book Blogger's Diary

You can view the author's blog at Jane Austen Inspirations.


  1. What a fabulous review. I agree that it is quite difficult to follow some of the classics with spin off novel. Kudos to Jane Odiwe for penning a story that a Jane Austin fan such as yourself could enjoy. I may just have to pick this one up. If I can break free of the bonds of the paranormal genre. ;)

  2. I'm always looking at your blog for recommendations in the paranormal genre, Moira! It's a genre I'm really trying to break in to because I'm certain I've been missing out on something good there. ;)

  3. Michele, I am so glad you liked this one! It is in my TBR stack from Danielle at Sourcebooks. I cannot imagine Lydia Bennet being portrayed in a redeeming light, but look forward to it just the same.

    Moira, I'm not sure if it falls into the paranormal genre, but I just started listening to Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning, at J. Kaye's recommendation, and I'm loving it. Have you read this series?


  4. I'm glad this one sounds good. I just tried reading Colleen McCullough's "The Independence of Miss Mary Bennett" and had to stop reading, it was so dreadful. The characters were all wrong.
    One of my favourite Austen follow-ups has been Mary Street's "The Confession of Fitzwilliam Darcy" - it was great.

  5. Shana - I'll be watching for your review and will add a link from this one to your review, too.

    Melanie - oh goodness, thanks for the warning on 'Mary Bennet' and for the recommendation! I'll keep my eyes open for Mary Street's book and pick it up when I run across it. :)

  6. Great review, and thanks for the link! This is the best Austen "sequel" I've read so far!

    Diary of an Eccentric


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