Farrant, Natasha The Secret Diary of Lydia Bennett, 336 pages. Chicken House (Scholastic), OCTOBER 2016. $18. Content: G.
Lydia Bennet is tired of being the youngest of Bennet sisters. When she sees a chance to hie off to Brighton and spend quality time around the militia, which has been relocated there. In Brighton, she finds a wider range of people than she has ever seen, delights in taking the waters (swimming), and a new romantic interest in a French émigré and his fashion designer sister. When the relationship turns south, she turns to Wickham to help her salvage the situation.
Farrant’s Lydia is as shallow as we have become acquainted with from the source material, but when she arrives in Brighton, something changes, just a little. Even though Farrant stays true to the resulting events from the novel, she adds new motives to Lydia and Wickham’s subsequent marriage. I am conflicted by this new twist on the story – it makes Lydia’s marriage to Wickham more sordid-feeling than when we regard her as madly in love with him, or at least madly in love with the thought of him. I’ll have to think on this. I would love other people’s thoughts on Farrant’s twist. It is only really worth reading if you are familiar with the source.
MS – OPTIONAL. Cindy, Library Teacher