Pemberley

pemberley

By Emma Tennant

2/5

It has been a year since their marriage, and Elizabeth and Darcy couldn’t be happier. They are inviting the Bingleys, as well as Elizabeth’s mother and younger sisters to Pemberley for Christmas, and it promises to be a wonderful time. The only shadow on their happiness is that they have not yet had a child, and other people are starting to pressure them about it. But then Lady Catherine invites herself to Pemberley for the holidays, and Mrs. Bennet invites Lydia and Wickham to come with her, and Jane couldn’t say no when the sharp-tongued Miss Bingley asked to come along. How will Elizabeth maintain order with such a house party?

This book promised to be fun. It was very short (only 184 pages!) but I was looking forward to enjoying a story about the Darcys’ life after the wedding. What I got was a strange, truncated mess. For such a short book it starts out incredibly slow. There are three or four chapter dedicated to Mrs. Bennet discussing going to Pemberley with all of her friends in Meryton, and her friends commenting on Elizabeth’s lack of a child. It took till the midpoint of the book for everyone to congregate at Pemberley, which is strange to me, since that seemed to be the point of the book – to have everyone there. The opening of this book would have been fine if the book was 200 pages longer, but it seems to me with so small a word count there’s not much space to waste on Mrs. Bennet gossiping.

From a slow beginning, the middle is rushed, and the ending is downright abrupt. I actually thought there were pages missing from the book when there was still conflict going on two pages from the end. The “ending” was more of a crazy series of events throwing everyone together and then they just … forgive each other? With no real conflict resolution or talking through their problems? Elizabeth suspects Darcy of having a dark secret that he has been keeping from her all this time, and it seems to me he never explained why he was acting the way he was. Why does he go to London? Why does he cancel the Christmas ball without telling her? Why the heck does he side with Lady Catherine against her?? All he says is that he loves her and that seems to fix everything. Silly Elizabeth, getting so worked up and emotional when it seemed your husband was keeping something terrible from his past from you. You should have trusted him completely and not questioned him. He has no need to explain himself to you. (This is sarcasm of course. As a rational, intelligent woman I suspect Elizabeth would have demanded an explanation if she wasn’t acting so out of character.)

The original characters aren’t any better. There are several characters of the author’s own creation that are added to the story. Mr. Roper is Pemberley’s heir in the absence of a male child of Mr. Darcy’s, even though he seems to be related to Lady Catherine, who is related to Darcy on his mother’s side. Properties were passed through the father’s side of the family (the Darcys), not the mother’s side (the Fitzwilliams). Aside from being useless and not at all relevant to the plot as a character, Mr. Roper shouldn’t even be Darcy’s heir, based on primogeniture. There is also a minor subplot with Col. Kitchener, a cousin of the widowed Mrs. Bennet, who wants to marry her. This is another plot that I thought would be better developed, but ended up being dropped and quickly tied together at the end. There’s a lot of potential in Mrs. Bennet wanting to remarry to a scoundrel!

I also didn’t like the calm way with which everyone accepted the Wickhams into their circle. When Mrs. Bennet insists on inviting Lydia and Wickham to Pemberley, I thought there was going to be a big conflict about it. After all, Darcy despises Wickham and would never let him set foot at Pemberley. Except here he does? He suffers Wickham to come over and made snide remarks about everything for several days. That really annoyed me since as master of Pemberley surely he can forbid the Wickhams from entering. Especially since it would upset Georgiana. Although here it seems not to? Everyone is so out of character and it’s very tiresome.

The timing is extremely confusing. Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for a year, but Bingley and Jane have been married longer, at least 2-3 years, and Lydia and Wickham have been married for 4? As you might remember from the original, Jane and Elizabeth are married on the same day, so that’s a major continuity error on the part of the author. Why would Elizabeth and Darcy wait 4 years to get married?? That makes no sense and is never explained. Also, if she’s only been married for a year, why is everyone bothering Elizabeth about a baby? A year is not a very long time to wait before declaring oneself “barren”. I initially thought I had gotten the timing wrong and that it had been 3 or so years without a child, which would make sense when everyone is making a big fuss about Pemberley’s heir. But it seems it was just a screw up, and kind of a big one at that.

Mr. Darcy goes back to his proud, unkind ways almost immediately after the book begins. I hate when books do that. Give the character a new conflict or part of their character to develop, don’t make them go over what was already done in the original story! Let him keep his character development and start working on something else. As soon as Lady Catherine shows up in the picture, Darcy starts to shut Elizabeth out, which seems crazy to me because he so strongly defies her to marry Elizabeth. Surely after three years of marriage they would trust each other enough to talk through their problems. But then, maybe not. Maybe personalities can’t change and he will always be cold and proud deep down. You know, the opposite message to the original story?

Elizabeth gets a makeover as well, and not for the better. She becomes suspicious, hysterical, and prone to throwing hissy fits. She keeps wandering off by herself in the rain, just to have. Mr. Darcy chase her down and proclaim love for her. I’m not kidding, this happens twice. Instead of rising to the challenge as Pemberley’s mistress, she gets overwhelmed and retreats to her bedroom to cry about stuff. Really, this is not the Elizabeth we remember from the original, who refused outright to marry Mr. Collins and stood up to Lady Catherine’s wrath. I kept waiting for Elizabeth to assert herself as the person in charge and demand that people respect her, but she never does. She’s too busy listening to rumors about Darcy and weeping. It was ridiculous.

This story could have been pretty decent. The writing’s not bad and the style isn’t totally incongruous with dear Jane’s. If only it had taken the time and pages to work through the issues brought up! Especially at the end, a lot more time should have been spent letting Elizabeth and Darcy work through their issues and come to terms with what was happening. The “big reveal” at the end was lame, the pacing was terrible, and the characters were a mess. It’s like the author didn’t even bother to reread P&P before she dove right into writing this, and it shows. If a sequel is what you’re looking for, there are a lot better out there than this.

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Fitzwilliam Darcy Rock Star

darcy

By Heather Lynn Rigaud

2/5

Fitzwilliam Darcy is the biggest rock star on the planet. Along with his cousin Richard Fitzwilliam and best friend Charles Bingley, he plays in the band Slurry, the most popular rock band in the world. When they lose their opening act half way through their third and biggest tour, they have to find an emergency replacement. Enter Lizzie Bennet, Jane Bennet, and Charlotte Lucas, the all-girl band Long Bourne Suffering. Slurry agrees to have LBS be their opening act, and also agrees amongst themselves not to get involved with the girls, no matter how beautiful and talented they are. This plan immediately gets upset when Charles falls head over heels in love with LBD frontrunner Jane. But Darcy and Lizzie have the opposite effect on each other. They immediately dislike each other, due to more than a few misunderstandings. As Darcy’s attraction for the fiery Lizzie grows, can he overcome her dislike of him? And more importantly, can they two bands continue to work together?

This premise was just fun. I was excited from the start to read a book about Mr. Darcy as a rock star, and I wasn’t disappointed, at least at first. Everything pretty much goes beat for beat from P&P, with some clever modern twists to keep it interesting. For instance, the Netherfield Ball is a huge party at Charles and Caro’s fancy apartment, and Rosings is a concert sponsored by record exec Catherine de Bourgh. I really enjoyed those fun and clever on-theme twists. I especially enjoyed the plot twist involving Wickham. I thought it was true to the original, while still being modern and fit with the theme. You can totally see why Darcy wouldn’t want to talk about what he did, while also wanting nothing to do with Wickham every again.

The music was fun. The bands sing a variety of songs, and in each you can see special meaning, if you know the original story. I liked how both Darcy and Lizzie used music as both expression and therapy. When they try to communicate with words, they don’t do a very good job, but when they communicate with music, by sending each other their songs, it works so much better. I liked the idea that they had that kind of connection.

Technology is mentioned all through this book. Lizzie answers emails and manages her own website, and major plot points are communicated via text message, email, and Facebook. While this works right now, I don’t think it will age very well. It’s like reading a book that has a mention of MySpace. Everyone rolls their eyes and dismisses the book as hopelessly out of date. If I were the author, I would have kept mentions of Youtube and the VMAs (video music awards) to a minimum to avoid this kind of technology creep aging my story.

Most of the characters were spot on with their characterization. Jane was sweet and kind, Charles transitioned nicely to a cheerful but slightly dim surfer dude, etc. The notable exceptions were Caroline Bingley and Charlotte Lucas. Caroline I thought got changed for the better. Instead of being a jealous, spiteful harpy, she actually got some character development. She realizes that Darcy is never going to reciprocate her crush on him, and tries to move on. She feels jealousy towards Lizzie, but doesn’t show it, and tries to be fair and kind to the Bennets instead of tearing them down.

Charlotte, however, might as well be different character. For some reason, the author thought that it was necessary for Charlotte to be a tattoo-having, cigarette-smoking goth. Also, not to put in any spoilers, but she has an affair with Richard. That’s right, Richard Fitzwilliam, Col. Fitzwilliam in the book. In the book they barely interact when they’re both at Rosings. Charlotte is Mrs. Collins by that point, and Col. Fitzwilliam is on the hunt for a rich wife. But apparently in the author’s mind they were meant for each other? It was a truly bizarre pairing, one that I don’t think fit at all. At first they are just “friends with benefits”, but then it starts to evolve into something deeper for both of them. As the only non-canon couple in the story, it seemed wildly out of place.

While the first half starts out strong, the second half veers into crazytown pretty fast. While the author is still following the basic plot of P&P, stuff starts to get weird. For instance, why is it necessary for all three members of Slurry to fall for all three members of Long Bourne Suffering? That seems a little too perfect for me. I would have preferred for Charlotte and Richard to just be friends and not get into a relationship so that everything is tied with a neat little bow at the end. And the triple wedding? Waaaay overkill. Besides the fact that I don’t think punk-rock-goth Charlotte and serial philanderer Richard are the marrying type, it’s just trite and boring. I really really disliked how everyone got matched up so perfectly at the end. It just felt too simple.

I was sorely disappointed by the sex scenes. You guys know how I feel about sex scenes with Jane Austen characters. It’s just gross and wrong. One should not be thinking about Darcy in those contexts. And whoa boy, there were a lot of them. An embarrassing amount of the book I had to skip because of the awkward sex scenes. I mean, I know that this Darcy isn’t a regency aristocrat with a buttoned-up sense of morality, but could we keep his dirty thoughts about Elizabeth to a minimum? It was awkward in the extreme. Most of the time I saw the scenes coming and was able to skip them, but a few snuck up on me. Dear Jane would be rolling in her grave right now.

This started out as a super fun premise, and I was fully engaged in the story right away. I was going to give it 3.5 stars! But it lost a whole star for the gratuitous sex scenes, and another half star for the lame ending. I can’t in good conscience recommend this book because of the sex scenes, which is too bad. It started out so well, and I enjoyed reading (most of) it.

 

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It’s Jane Austen Day!

It’s Jane Austen Day here at Quick Succession of Busy Nothings! Dear Jane is 240 today! Happy birthday, old girl.

To celebrate, here are some funny comics featuring Jane and her work.

jane 4janejane trekcall me

And finally, a fervent prayer straight from the heart of every Janeite:

janeite prayer

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Mr. Darcy’s bite

darcy

By Mary Lydon Simonsen

2/5

Darcy has been courting Elizabeth for months now, and she fears he won’t ask her to marry him. So when he invites her to stay at Pemberley with his sister and cousin Anne, she believes this is finally the moment. Instead, Darcy tells her a deadly secret: he is actually a werewolf, and transforms to two days of every month. Burdened with this knowledge, Elizabeth must decide whether she still wants to marry Darcy, especially in light of the fact that the beautiful and seductive Lady Helen is part of his werewolf pack.

This book, you guys. This book was bonkers. And yet at the same time, so profoundly boring. You’d think a book with this crazy a premise would at least be interesting. The story happens after P&P, so we are led to believe that Darcy has been a werewolf during the whole course of that book, and nothing ever made people suspect. Yet here, he is pretty bad at hiding it. A few people guess that he has some sort of strange condition, and he’s not shy about calling himself the Alpha, or referring to Jane’s child as a “pup”.

In spite of the fact that it has werewolves in it, this book is so profoundly boring. The most interesting thing is when Darcy tells Elizabeth he’s a werewolf, and she has to decide whether she still wants to marry him or not. And that happens in the first couple of chapters! I kept waiting for something to happen, for someone to discover Darcy’s secret and try to blackmail them, anything. But my waiting was in vain. The author seems to have only had a semi-interesting premise, and then given up on a plot altogether. There’s a side plot about Darcy going to discipline a younger werewolf who is acting out, and another one about Elizabeth being jealous of Lady Helen, but even those aren’t very interesting.

This wasn’t a very good premise to begin with, but there could have been something interesting happening. There’s an undeveloped plot about the king’s illegitimate son, but even that goes nowhere. They reveal him like it’s supposed to be a big deal, but since 200+ year old royal gossip isn’t that interesting, I didn’t really care.

One thing I got really mad about was, when Darcy asks Elizabeth if she will marry him even though he’s a werewolf, he gives her no time to think about it. He says she has to decide before he transforms back in two days, or else the engagement is called off. How unfair is that?? I mean, it’s a lot to process for someone who just found out supernatural elements exist in the world, and that the man you love is one of them. At least give her a few days to consider it.

There’s also a few super awkward sex scenes. Not only because the thought of Darcy and Elizabeth in that situation is kind of weird, but also because he’s not fully transformed back into a human yet. So, ew, hints of bestiality. Erotica has no place in a book based on Pride and Prejudice. They barely hold (gloved) hands, for goodness sake! Jane would be rolling in her grave. I did my best to skip the scenes, but there was more than one and that’s about my limit.

I can’t even decide whether this was better or worse than Mr. Darcy, Vampyre. Both were boring and weird. I get that after Pride and Prejudice and Zombies there was a scramble to paranormalize P&P, but could you at least make them interesting? Skip this one, seriously. It’s got a ridiculous premise, bad writing, and is so incredibly boring.

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Only Mr. Darcy will Do

darcy

By Kara Louise

3/5

After rejecting Mr. Darcy at Rosings, Elizabeth returns to Longbourn only to have her father pass away very suddenly. With Mr. Collins moving in, the Bennet ladies must leave and find work in order to support themselves. Jane comes to stay with the Gardiners in London, and Elizabeth finds a position as a governess to a family nearby. But when the Willstones, the  family she works for, is invited to Pemberley, Elizabeth is once more thrown into the path of Mr. Darcy. She begins to see another side of him, and finds herself becoming more and more attracted to him. But there is no way that Darcy will consider her now that her social status has sunk lower than ever. Or is there?

This was an interesting premise. I don’t think it struck me how precarious the Bennet women’s situation really was, until this. No wonder Mrs. Bennet is obsessed with marrying her daughters off. Once her husband dies, they are all kicked out of the family home and have literally nowhere to go and no income. One cannot help sympathizing with Mrs. Bennet for making a huge fuss when Elizabeth doesn’t marry Mr. Collins, even though he’s gross and boring. It is literally the difference between having a roof over their heads when Mr. Bennet dies, or having to cast themselves on the charity of various relatives. Elizabeth starts to see that she might have made a hasty and emotionally charged mistake when she turned Mr. Darcy down at Rosing. She could have saved her family and been mistress of the beautiful Pemberley. That’s what she gambled away when she insisted on marrying for love. The dilemma was very obvious and well expressed in this story.

I thought the Willstones were strange characters. They seem like a decent family when Elizabeth is working for them in the beginning. They are sympathetic to her reduced circumstances, and treat her as an intellectual equal, although not a social one. Mrs. Willstone’s sister, Rosalyn, befriends Elizabeth, and seems like she will be an ally. But the characters of this family change radically once they get to Pemberley. So radically, in fact, that it’s hard to believe they are the same characters. Mr. and Mrs. Willstone, far from being kind and sympathetic, transform almost overnight into mean, snobby, hard hearted people. Their comments about the stranded farmers at Pemberley made them especially villainous. They might as well have started twirling their mustaches.

Rosalyn, similarly, goes from being kind and a bit silly to being a manipulating shrew not unlike Caroline Bingley. It’s like half way through the story the author decided that Rosalyn would be the antagonist, and forgot to edit the beginning. I thought it was an interesting subplot that Rosalyn had somewhat of a crush on Mr. Darcy, and was telling Elizabeth all about it. But it got really annoying as the story went on. I also thought Rosalyn was going to fall instead for Mr. Darcy’s cousin, Mr. Hamilton. That would have been a good way to tie up loose ends. But no, Rosalyn stays a mean shrew, and Mr. Hamilton has no purpose. Weird choices if you ask me.

Once at Pemberley, Darcy and Elizabeth can barely keep away from each other. Despite her reduced circumstances, Darcy treats her like an equal, and with even more kindness than he did before. In return, Elizabeth proves herself to be kind and generous to the farmers that are stranded at Pemberley due to floods. There’s clearly a whole lot of chemistry here, and there are some heated kisses. But thankfully no more than that. The author mercifully kept it PG.

One thing that really bothered me, as it always does, was the anachronisms, especially when it came to the place of governesses in society. They were looked down on severely. Although they usually came from good families and were well educated, they were servants that had to work for their living, and were therefore below the notice of gentry like the Darcys. Elizabeth would not have been eating with the company, she and the children would have taken their meals in a private apartment. She would not have been expected to take part in any entertainments unless they included the children, which they probably wouldn’t have. She certainly wouldn’t have been invited into the parlour in the evening to play chess with Mr. Darcy as if she were a gentlewoman. At this point, she’s not, she’s only a step up from the staff.  It is unlikely that Darcy would have come in contact with her at all, unless he went out of his way to do so. So while I understand that they needed to interact with each other for the sake of the plot, it’s a huge anachronism for him to be interacting with her at all. Actually, this would have made the story better in my opinion, because any contact between the two of them would have been illicit and therefore more exciting. Missed opportunity because the author was too lazy to do her research.

That aside, I thought this was a pretty fun book. I liked the scandal bit at the end. I thought tying it in with Darcy’s letter to Elizabeth that he wrote at Rosings was a clever idea. I was happy Jane and Bingley got together, as they are both sweet characters and deserve happiness with each other, if you ask me. And I was happy that Rosalyn got her comeuppance, because she was truly horrible at the end. It was interesting to watch Elizabeth realize how women throw themselves at Darcy, and to begin to understand his arrogance at Rosings. She realizes that he was attracted to her because she doesn’t try to make herself up and be fake around him. It is her authenticity that attracts him to her.

This was another fun one. Just plain, fun, clean romance with  lots of silly plot points and no real shocks. It wasn’t very well written, and it had a few inaccuracies, and the Willstones Jekyll and Hyde transformation was a bit strange. On a cold, gray fall day, we all know that only Mr. Darcy will do!

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A Wife for Mr. Darcy

darcy

By Mary Lydon Simonsen

3/5

When Mr. Darcy realizes that Elizabeth heard his comment about her being “Not handsome enough to tempt me”, he decides to ride over to Longbourn and apologize to her. Elizabeth realizes that he is not as proud as she once thought, and Darcy realizes that she is spirited and beautiful. Darcy is falling for her fast, but there is just one problem – he has already begun a courtship with the proper, though boring, Miss Montford, and now feels honour bound to continue. Will he be able to get out of it so he can continue his romance with Elizabeth?
I kinda liked this one. It wasn’t great, but it was plenty romantic. Since Darcy and Elizabeth decide they like each other a lot earlier in this, there’s less room for angry misunderstandings, and more room for romance.

I liked how the side characters got some fleshing out as well. Col. Fitzwilliam’s older brother Antony gets introduced, but I didn’t really like him. Any man who introduces his mistress to his mother is not the kind of man I want to be admiring. But he’s fun, and helps Darcy with his predicament with Miss Montford. It was nice to get some more of Col. Fitzwilliam, although the author insisted that his first name is Patrick, and in the original it’s pretty clearly stated that his first name is Richard. A pretty careless mistake if you ask me.

There was a weird section in the middle with Jane that I thought didn’t really fit the rest of the story. Mr. Bingley’s badly behaved nieces and nephews come to visit, and we are treated to a whole section where Jane and Mrs. Bennet teach them some manners. While I was happy for Jane to have a little bit more character development, that wasn’t exactly the direction I would have taken it. It seems out of character for Jane, who is portrayed as too sweet and trusting for her own good, to turn around the discipline children as if she had army training. It was such a weird segment to stick in the middle of a story about Lizzie and Darcy, and it’s never returned to and hardly even mentioned. Seems to me the author had that story in the back of her brain but couldn’t make it a full book and decided to stick it here. Which is a shame because I would love to read a book where Jane grows a backbone and finally stands up to her husband’s family. Just not right in the middle of a book about Lizzie and Darcy.

I know it’s being pedantic, but there were some anachronisms that just bugged me. If you’re going to write a historical novel, do your research! Elizabeth would never expect to receive letters from Mr. Darcy unless they were engaged. It just wasn’t a thing that unmarried women did. She would have received messages via his sister, not directly from him. Also with the sneaking around in rooms and heated kisses… yeesh. I know it was probably done, in real life, but Mr. Darcy is a gentleman and I don’t think it’s in his character to keep asking Elizabeth to compromise herself like that. If a young woman in her standing was caught alone with a man, there would be a huge scandal. Also, what’s with him calling her by her first name? That wasn’t done until they were at least engaged. I know it’s for dramatic and romantic effect, but it’s still anachronistic and it still bugs me.

One thing I was very happy to see changed was Lydia’s elopement. A lot of these books seem to think everything else in the plot can be shifted, but that elopement is written in stone. Which of course it’s not, it’s a product of events. Because Elizabeth and Darcy are much more friendly in this story, she finds out about Wickham a lot sooner, and Mr. Darcy is able to prevent the elopement from happening. Which of course he would have, if he could. Not only does he rescue Elizabeth’s family from disgrace, but he realizes much sooner that he was wrong to unleash Wickham on society, and sends him packing, as he should have done after he tried to elope with Georgiana. This was one of the changes I really liked. Even Lydia gets some character development!

The scenes with Miss. Montford were funny in a painful way. You can see how awkward Darcy’s interactions with women are when they’re not openly challenging him. No wonder he prefers Elizabeth, when this proper society lady won’t talk to him about anything except the weather. I thought his and Fitzwilliams’ plans to help him get out of his obligation were funny, especially when we find out Miss Montford doesn’t want to marry Darcy at all. It provided some comic relief, and an outsider perspective on Darcy.

This wasn’t high literature by any stretch of the imagination, but it was fun. This is another easy read that I breezed through in a day, and it was enjoyable for what it was. Some steamy kisses, but no sex scenes, just some good, clean romantic nonsense.

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The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet

lydia

By Kate Rodrick and Rachel Kiley

4/5

It’s time for the Lyd-ee-yah! Whaaaaat.

Lydia Bennet, younger sister of Lizzie, is still struggling to deal with the aftermath of the events shown in Lizzie’s video diaries. If only she can get out of therapy and pull herself together, she can graduate community college, get into a great university, and start helping Lizzie with her new business while she studies psychology. But in typical Lydia fashion, she makes the wrong choices and everything goes sideways. Can Lydia figure out her own path, before her life gets too far off track?

Obviously a sequel to the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and continues on in that universe. I’m glad they didn’t follow Lizzie for this one. I feel like Lizzie’s story is over. She got her happy ending. But Lydia is always an interesting character, and one that I love hearing more about. This story starts directly where Lizzie Bennet Diaries left off, with Lydia devastated by George Wickham’s betrayal, and trying to put her life back together. We hear about her struggle to get into college, to find friends, to find her place in the world.

Lydia’s characterization in this book is perfect. They really captured her voice and her thought processes. It sounded like the Lydia we got to know in the videos. She’s still spunky and spontaneous, even though she’s had a negative experience. I must confess that I’ve got too much Lizzie in me to not cringe at some of her decisions, but the point of it is that they are her decisions. She’s struggling between who she was, and who she is becoming. And it’s a hard struggle. I like that they didn’t shy away from the emotional damage that George wrought. Lydia was burned by the experience and as much as she wants others to think that she’s fine, she’s not; at least, not at the beginning.

Lydia has a great character arc. They don’t make her less Lydia; she doesn’t morph into a responsible study addict like Lizzie. But she does mature and learn from her experiences. She’s not as trusting of boys, she’s not as determined to throw herself into every party as she used to be. It was very realistic character development for a young party girl like Lydia, with relapses and periods of feeling sorry for herself, just like a real person. I thought that was great.

I loved all the Lizzie Bennet Diary cameos! Of course Lizzie and Jane would feature heavily, since they’re Lydia’s sisters, but there were other characters that I enjoyed seeing. Mary features heavily, and we get cameos of Darcy, Gigi, and Bing. Bing actually gets a great story arc himself in the second half of the book. I was happy to see how Bing and Jane are getting on in New York, when Lydia goes to visit them. I would have liked to hear more about Darcy and Lizzie, but I understand that that story is over now. Mrs. Bennet even got a voice and a bit of character development, which was unexpected, but great. I was happy to see her humanized. Lizzie portrays her as such a caricature, but Lydia sees her in a different light.

There was a lot of fourth wall breaking in the book. Lydia speculates that if Lizzie’s diaries hadn’t gotten so popular, she never would have been in this situation. George wouldn’t have the build in audience for his sex tape that he did. She also thinks about her “fans” on Youtube, and how they continue to message her and ask her to make videos. As I was one of those fans watching her videos, it feels strange. I know she’s fictional, but she’s (fictionally) reacting like a real person would when their life falls apart on a public stage. She has a love/hate relationship with the audience of which I am a member. It was a strange perspective, one that I hadn’t considered before. Considering how immersive Lizzie and the other characters were (they all had their own social media accounts, which were updated frequently), it’s hard to remember that these characters are fictional, and Lydia’s comments on the fame the videos brought her adds another layer.

Although I cringed at Lydia’s choices, especially early on in the book, I thought the story was great, and it was an engaging and heartfelt addition to the Lizzie Bennet world. I found myself really liking Lydia, really feeling sorry for her, and feeling like I needed to rewatch the videos, because my perspective on her had changed. This, ladies and gents, is how you do a story from a side character’s perspective. She enriched the original story, while also having her own character development and and engaging and thoughtful plot. I wish Lydia all the best of luck as she continues to learn about herself.

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