L is for … Longbourn’s the place to hang out – apparently

I will set my cards on the table. I am a HUGE fan of Pride & Prejudice. Persuasion is my absolute favourite Jane Austen novel, but P&P comes in a close second. I’ve read it numerous times and can quote the famous lines if you give me half an excuse.

So, for fans like me, adding a new book to that universe is quite a responsibility and something to be attempted at your own risk.

I’m not dreadfully precious, I will point that out. I don’t hold Pride & Prejudice to be entirely sacrosanct and untouchable. I loved the TV adaptation of PD James’ Death Comes to Pemberley (but I didn’t love it enough to seek out the book; I think a large part of the attraction was Matthew Rhys, to be entirely honest). I also read and loved Longbourn – the P&P story told from the point of view of the servants “below stairs”. I didn’t much like the movie Pride & Prejudice & Zombies (just a bit too silly), although it was entertaining enough.

Cover of Natasha Farrant's Lydia

Click to try it

So, that’s a trawl through my experience with P&P wannabees and it hasn’t really helped get my thoughts in order. Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice was an easy enough read. I zipped through it in a day. It’s lacking the witty glory of Austen’s prose (but quite right, too – anyone attempting to ape that would be bold in the extreme), but it was a nice, well-written story. I enjoyed visiting regency Brighton, and the resolution of the love story (if that’s what it is) was different and satisfying.

But I didn’t love it enough to grab people by the hand and demand they read it. I think, overall, I the strongest feeling in my mind is what a shame you have to piggyback onto something famous in order to get people to read your book. I understand the pleasure of the familiar, but finding a new treasure is equally fabulous … isn’t it?

If you can’t get enough of Pride & Prejudice, give it a try. You might very well like it. I’m going to go and check out what else Natasha Farrant has written.

Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year. Find out more about the award and other shortlisted books on their website.

About katyhaye

Katy Haye writes fast-paced fantasy novels for YA readers and is fascinated by the science of stories.
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