Farrant, Natasha. The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennet. Chicken House/Scholastic, 2016. 318p. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-545-94031-3. Ages 13-16. P7Q8
Lovers of Pride and Prejudice may enjoy this version of Lydia Bennet, the youngest of five sisters and perhaps the move flawed. In her selfishness, she manages to finagle an invitation to the seashore at Brighton with an older sister’s friend, leaving the sister at home. Lydia is an excellent diarist, showing all her frustrations and development as she falls hopelessly in love with a man who needs money, not love.
Verdict: A bonus of the book is that Farrant doesn’t not attempt to use Jane Austen’s style, and the contemporary feel of a plot from a book published over two centuries old is delightful for those who are not enamored of Austen’s work. The protagonist comes across sympathetically, despite her peccadilloes, and her narration shows how different her life could have been if she were born in today’s world. This historical novel is a delight for those who enjoy period pieces.
January 2017 review by Nel Ward.