Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Lydia Bennet's Blog: the real story of Pride and Prejudice - Valerie Laws

‘Well it seems to be a given, when a bloke’s made his pile (or waited for his Pa to peg it), he’s ready to commit longterm and install some ‘lucky’ woman to like, run his crib and die having his babies.’

Recognise this? Or think it sounds familiar in a strange sort of way? Welcome to the blog of Lydia Bennet. This book rewrites the much-loved story of Pride and Prejudice from the viewpoint of Lydia, who is a thoroughly cool and fashionable fifteen-year-old girl with a very modern turn of phrase. She introduces us to the idea behind her ‘blog’: ‘Well, me and my buddies on the Net are wayyy too cool to read or write those boring ladylike journals! That’s ‘buddies’ from ‘rosebuds’, we being young, sweet, innocent maidens (irony alert!). So we started to write our goss and news in our own style, in our ‘buddies’ logs’ or ‘blogs’ for short, and pass them around our Network, or ‘the Net. Geddit? Readers are therefore immediately aware of their very hip and with-it narrator from 1811!

Lydia proceeds to guide us throughout the story we know and love so well, putting her own unique and honest perspective on people and events. She is obsessed with the arrival of the soldiers in Meryton, in particular Mr Wickham, ‘who’s hotter than a heatwave in hell’, and tells us about the much-anticipated arrival of ‘Blingley, as I like to call this loaded incomer.’ Lydia comes across here as a smart, sassy and sussed teenager, or at least that’s what she seems to think of herself! And what is her first impression of the esteemed Mr Darcy? ‘Darcy. Arsey more like. Oh dear, he thinks he’s all that, and with reason to be honest. Handsome, if you like them snooty, looking down on us all and not just because he’s tall.’ As Kitty races to tell her sister, ‘he’s dead loaded! He’s got ten big ones a year!’ Money is as always the driving force behind the matchmaking here.

Valerie Laws has successfully employed the speech and behaviour of a modern teenage girl and incorporated this into the character of Lydia living back in the early 1800’s, making her story an amusing mixture of the historical and the humourous. There are some interesting new ideas about Mr Collins and Charlotte Lucas, and when Lydia refers to what Jane or Elizabeth have said, the words she reports that they used will often be more in the style of the original text, making clear the contrast with Lydia’s style. The Lydia we meet here is cheeky, clever and at times sneaky, as well as being very funny in her observations and remarks. The author displays an impressively thorough knowledge of the original material in her retelling.

If you are open to the idea of such a classic being handled in this way, you might find this, as I did, a clever, funny and entertaining read, cleverly adapted by the author to put the story into the hands of Lydia and show everything through her unique eyes with a very modern touch that had me laughing at times.

If the idea of it really doesn’t appeal, fair enough. I must admit I don’t particularly seek out books that look at the classics in a new or different way; without wanting to prejudge them, I usually prefer to read the original books. However, the author approached me to read and review this book and I was amused, entertained and impressed by it. I thought some aspects were very cleverly done, and above all it reminded me what a wonderful and timeless story the original novel offers us and how much I love that book.

Thank you to the author for kindly sending me an ebook copy of this novel to read and review.

Lydia Bennet's Blog: the real story of Pride & Prejudice is Valerie Laws's eleventh book, and her first e-book as an indie author.


  1. Not sure about the rewritings of these classics but this does sound good.

    1. I don't rush out to get them Tracy but I am open to trying them and I must admit this is very well done, and very cleverly written with a different voice, and a modern one at that!

  2. I have read a couple of re workings of classics in modern style and I do enjoy them. Old films get reworked to bring a new audience, and these reworkings of classic stories can do the same.


    1. I think that's a really good point Carol, well said.


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