lydia-websitePublished by Chicken House – Not yet published due September 2016

I am slightly embarrassed in that I don’t believe I have read a Jane Austen novel. For that matter, I’m not sure I have even seen a BBC production of any of the books – that is without going out for a mug of tea, or leaving before the end. They are books I ‘should have’, but haven’t. Many years ago I went through a period when I read many of Thomas Hardy’s novels; I don’t suppose that would count though, for die-hard fans of her novels.

So, we come to this ‘adaptation’ if you will – Lydia – The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice written by Natasha Farrant in a diary form. Lydia was / is the youngest of the Bennett family – about whom Jane Austen’s novel is based. She is the daughter who causes the rest of the family to sigh – she is impetuous, bright, and a little daring. She, is one of five sisters and is willing to try most things, particularly in her attempt to find herself a good looking viable, and interesting husband. This is her story. Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is centred around the whole family (as this is), but the main character I believe is one of her elder sisters. In this, Lydia is centre stage. Her diary is full of successes and disappointments, observations (some not so polite) about her family and the circle around her, and details a year in her life.

I thoroughly enjoyed it and hope that you will too – a very good period tale. Natasha Farrant makes the following observation at the back of the book, that should be noted for those of you who are Austen fans –

When the idea for this book was first mooted by the team at Chicken House, I sought advice from pickering_-_greatbatch_-_jane_austen_-_pride_and_prejudice_-_this_is_not_to_be_borne_miss_bennetan academic friend who specialises in the works of Jane Austen. Lydia, who in my mind was already a living, breathing person, was skipping about, twirling her bonnet and crying “At last! My side of the story!” but I was less certain.

“Don’t even try and copy Jane Austen,” my friend said. “Just be yourself, be respectful and know that whatever you do, she is sitting up there in author-heaven laughing at you.”

To have managed to write such a story, based on such a classic is a remarkably brave undertaking. Particularly with such an author as Jane Austen. I was not, however, one who would know if any errors were made with the book, having, as I have said, not read P&P.

I must state though, that to have written such a book in such a way as to make me for one, consider reading Pride and Prejudice, must be a success. Further, it must be one that Jane Austen would be pleased to acknowledge as a result of that, if nothing else.