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

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

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

ratings:
1/5 (1 rating)
Length:
329 pages
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Feb 26, 2015
ISBN:
9781507081730
Format:
Book

Description

'I've been reading LYDIA while having my chemo this afternoon. I laughed out loud. Several times - while HAVING CHEMO!!! It's brilliant. Such a clever idea and so engagingly written. This could be a really big book.' Linda Gillard, author of  best-seller 'House of Silence'

‘I was alternately laughing out loud and gasping at the sheer, bold brilliance of it. I loved it for its irreverence, its humour, its intelligence and its energy. Prepare to be amused, entertained, and dazzled. A very good read indeed.' Catherine Czerkawska, award-winning novelist and playwright for stage and BBC Radio 4.

'It’s actually really, really funny. … It’s got a clever literary game going on, and it’s more than just updating it to teenspeak… there’s something almost steampunky going on here… See for yourself!’ Paul Magrs, novelist (including Dr Who novels)

If you enjoyed ‘Lost in Austen’ or ‘Clueless’, you’ll love Lydia, the streetwise youngest Bennet, a modern teen living in Regency times. She’s funny, flirty, rebellious, obsessed with fashion and fit boys, and a force to be reckoned with. Find out what really happened behind the scenes in Pride and Prejudice as Lydia schemes to save herself and her clueless family from a cash-free future and to get her man, the supremely sexy bad boy Wickham. By an odd quirk of history, Lydia’s generation use moderb teen slang though with Regency derivations... Whether you love or loathe Jane Austen or just like a good laugh, you’ll enjoy Lydia’s conniving, eavesdropping, Mr Collins-outing, Pa-baiting, shamelessly flirtatious and outrageous adventures.

Publisher:
Released:
Feb 26, 2015
ISBN:
9781507081730
Format:
Book

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Lydia Bennet's Blog - Valerie Laws

About My Blog

A Helpful Note for any Youth- or Coolness- Challenged Readers.

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? Well it’s not rocketry science! But my publishers asked me to explain this, now it’s going to be a book. They also say I need a glossary. Excuse me? Like I need advice on hair conditioning from them! Anyway, I’ve written this the way me and my friends talk, so in case some of you readers out there don’t understand some of our like, lingo, I’ve explained some of the words as I go. Not all of them. FGS, it is 1814!

We begin when stuff started happening, way back in 1811, when I was fifteen but fabulous. Enjoy!

Lydia

Autumn 1811.

Saturday 28th September 1811. Hot News, For Once! Even Twice!

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. So today, when me and my sister Kitty rushed home utterly spent and muck-splattered, with some really hot goss for once, nobody cared. We were totally out-gossed by the family’s news that some minted single geezer’s moving into nearby Netherfield. This passes for a huge event in these tragically dull parts. My three oldest sisters aren’t even slightly excited that a regiment of SOLDIERS are coming to the ‘hood, for some like, R & R. And by soldiers, I mean of course, officers. Mmmm, those scarlet uniforms, so stylish, so flattering and sooo promising... phwooar! Give me a man with a long sword and tight pantaloons any day. Ooh, need a lie down in a darkened room... 

The Netherfield guy sounds waaayyy too old for me, so I was only half listening as I had to ‘accidentally’ rip Kitty’s petticoat with my heel, to get her away from the mirror so I could restore what’s left of my ‘do. Bonnet hair is no joke, each ringlet has to be redone a squillion times a day after the so-called ‘fresh country air’ has reeked its vengeance on my coiffure.

Oh. My. Life. If you can call it a life, stuck out here in the sticks where fashion is unknown, and the height of thrilldom is trudging miles through the mud to Meryton, to the shop. Yes, that’s right, the one and only shop. Until today, Kitty and I have had to live on this starvation diet month in and month out, tea at our Auntie’s and looking at the three hats in that shop, the same three hats for at least five years, swear down. No chance of us having the carriage of course, oh no, Pa says the farm needs the horses. I ask you! A farm! Eeeuuuwww. But that’s the countryside for you. I tell you, when you’re brushing the mud off your flounces of an evening, you can only pray it IS mud and nothing worse. ‘We are to kill a pig soon!’ is seriously what passes for a convo starter around here. Civilisation has not reached this neck of the woods. Between feverish excitement at killing pigs, hunting foxes, and shooting birds, it’s no wonder the local boys are basically maniacs with bloodlust in their inbred eyes. Thank god then, for today’s news! I mean about the officers, natch. Our Auntie Philips in Meryton is pretty cool considering the backwater she’s been washed up in, and it was from her we heard about the officers muscling in to the district (mmm, mind picture alert!) and the sudden improvement in our social lives from a load of balls, to, well, a load of Balls. Yay! And true to form, the old dear, she must be thirty if she’s a day, promised to invite them round to set things rolling. It’s only a girl’s patriotic duty to relieve their loneliness and I’m up for offering my all to my country in the form of those gorgeous boys, any day of the week!

Monday 7th October. Meet The Bennets. Oh Dear.

So today, the whole family’s in uproar about this loaded bloke Bingley who’s moved in to Netherfield. Well all except Pa. Honestly what a downer that man is, totally antisocial, hides away in what he calls his ‘library’ all day. I’ve a pretty good idea what kind of books he’s got in there the old perv. Only times he sticks his nose out it’s to diss his daughters. ‘They are all silly and ignorant, like other girls,’ is a typical gem to issue from this book-addicted saddo. Nice. Mysogynistic fool. I tell you, it’s a miracle I don’t have low self-esteem, it’s a testament to my strength as a woman to be honest, that I am the person what I am today. I think Pa’s constant chipping away at our confidence has had a traumatic effect on all of us. Not to mention, we’ve had our noses rubbed in the fact since Day One, that our very existence is some sort of abomination, in that we aren’t boys. Er, hello! Did we ask to be born? I think not. They should be grateful for five healthy offspring but no, we have to be saddled with man-parts-envy as well as social isolation.

Something called an entail? Anyhoo the upshot is none of us can inherit Longbourn and it doesn’t really properly belong to our Pa, and we all get evicted when he kicks it. Call that fair? Discrimination, that’s what I call it. All that book learning, and Pa’s not managed to sue to get this put right. Not like the guy has to work for a living, he could’ve trained as a lawyer and sorted it out if he had any sense. In fact we’ve an uncle who’s a lawyer! But no, we are supposed to feel guilty about our girly bits, well sorry, not moi. So our poor old Ma is half bonkers with misplaced guilt, like it’s her fault we’re all girls.

Ma’s a living warning, poor pet. She’s a total sweetie, and really understands the importance of Fashion, though she struggles to keep up. And you can tell she was once really pretty. We let her ramble on about all the balls she went to and the officers she flirted with, out of kindness you know. How she ended up with Pa I can’t imagine. I love her of course, but she’s no role model. Gets married, has five daughters, and spends her life at Longbourn obsessing about whether we’ll all get married before we get booted out. Oh yes Ma, I can’t wait to be just like you. Not. It’s tragic really. Goes on about her ‘nerves’ all the time, it’s no wonder she’s neurotic is it? Catch me running a house like this and popping out babies whose only value is their willies, ruining my figure and condemning myself to live with an unsupportive man! And he’s a crap father figure, except to my sister Lizzy, she’s Pa’s favourite. She’s ok I suppose, at least she’s got a bit of spirit, though she’s old before her time, of course she’s into her twenties and stuck here with no prospects which would make anybody weird. I think she feels guilty about Pa preferring her, he’s all ‘my little Lizzy’, but she needn’t, as it means spending time in his library reading books with him, sod that for a game of soldiers. Mmm, soldiers.... muskets... musket one for myself, geddit?! Is that a musket in your pantaloons, or are you just pleased to be introduced to me? Fnarr fnarr!

Where was I... oh, yes, well our oldest sister is Jane, and she’s the beauty of the family or so we keep hearing, yadda yadda, natural curls, milk and roses skin, blue eyes, yeah yeah. And yes she is pretty, in a like, wholesome milkmaidy slightly chubby sort of way. No style at all poor thing. We’d hate her for all this praise except she’s so nice. Too nice really. Sometimes I want to rip her ringlets out and push her down the stairs.

‘Oh Jane,’ goes Lizzy, ‘you’re so nice, so good, you never speak ill of anyone.’

Hmm, I’m thinking, no wonder she’s got no friends! You know what they say — if you can’t speak well of anybody, come and sit next to me!

As for our sister Mary, a more heart-rending case you can’t imagine. She’s pretty much fugly, so Ma doesn’t rate her, so she spends her time reading and learning stuff in a very in-your-face kind of way. Any idiot can see she’s trying to get Pa to like her, of course the insensitive git just takes the p out of her non-stop for it. So she tries all the harder... my life, it’s awful, I’ve tried, honestly I have, I’ve even offered to do her hair and nails and such, but no, she’s determined to keep plugging away at her chosen road to desperationville. Kitty’s my nearest sister and sidekick, I’m the brains of our outfit and she pretty much just follows my lead really. She’s lucky I’m here as she’s none too bright.

Well as for me, I’ve got looks, modern looks, and style, you either have it or you don’t and I’ve got it in spades. I am the very epitaph of cool. Plus I’m a double D and I know how to use it. Or should it be them?

(In case you don’t know, ‘cool’ means stylish and knowing how to dress. As in, ‘Lydia, you’ll catch your death of cold in that low neckline!’ Me: ‘I’m just pleasantly cool, thanks.’ Also ‘double D’, as in, deliciously décolleté. Do keep up!)

Well anyway, Ma was begging and pleading and wheedling Pa to visit this Netherfield guy. And Pa was refusing. I could tell he was just yanking her chain, she’s so easy to wind up, poor old soul.

She’s like, ‘Mr Bennet, you must visit him, so that we can. I’m thinking of his marrying one of our girls.’

He’s like, ‘Oh, is that why he’s moving here?’ Sarky blighter. He’s got zero respect for Ma, and it shows. Then he’s all, ‘As you are as handsome as any of them, he might like you the best.’

I’m thinking, oh yes, throw the old biddy a bone why don’t you, patronising or what.

She’s like, ‘You take delight in vexing me,’ well give her a coconut, ‘my poor nerves!’

He’s like, ‘I have a high respect for your nerves,’ like hell he does.

Surely it’s as much in his interest as hers that we get married, as that seems to be the only career option the ‘rents understand, and who are Jane and Lizzy gonna meet, out here? They’re practically past their sell-by dates as it is. And till the old sisters get snapped up, it’s a bit difficult for us younger ones, it’s kind of a rule, a stupid one but there you go. Suddenly it dawns on me, maybe Pa really doesn’t give a rat’s behind if we get married or not, after all he’ll be brown bread when we’re all homeless on the street and selling our hair and god knows what else to survive. I’d alert the authorities if I thought they’d listen, but there’s no support except the Workhouse, and death and dishonour are way better than that. You should see the uniforms there! OMG. Not an accessory in the place, hot and cold running lice and all the whippings you can manage, no thanks.

So Kitty’s coughing germs over us all, and Ma’s snapping at her, and she’s sulking, oh it’s all fun and games at Longbourn.

Kitty says to me, ‘Well this bloke Bingley’s way too old like you said, so why should we care, even if he does have four grand a year?’

I’m like, ‘Four grand?’

She’s like, ‘Don’t tell me you’d consider it, it’s gross!.

I’m like, ‘No, but Jane or Lizzy might do for him, and think of it sis, we can visit them when they’re married, even go to London with them, and you never know,  might meet up with some interesting guys, if there are any in existence who aren’t soldiers.’

Soldiers... mmm... I’ve heard there’s a certain Captain, whose regimentals I wouldn’t mind polishing... anyway, we’d at least get a break from this hellhole. Ma’s panicking in case her nemesis Lady Lucas gets the bloke for one of her brood of losers, course it turns out Pa did visit him after all, managed to shoehorn a fifteen minute call into his packed schedule of erm, reading. So it’s all about the upcoming ball, where this bloke will be on show like a prize pooch. 

Pa scuttles back to the library, and Ma’s all ‘What an excellent father you have girls!’ yeah right. ‘Lydia my love,’ she goes, ‘I dare say Mr Bingley will dance with you at the ball, though you are the youngest.’

I’m like, whoop-de-do. ‘Well I might be the youngest but I’m the biggest.’

She’s like ‘Oh yes you are the tallest my love.’

It wasn’t my height I was referring to, if you know what I’m saying. This ball is the highlight of the social scene here, sad or what. Rumour has it Blingley, as I like to call this loaded incomer, (Ma going on about all the gold and jewels he’ll be able to drape over whichever Bennet bags him), is bringing some friends, hopefully younger brothers, to the ball. Fresh meat!

Monday 21st October. The Ball. Enter Mr Darcy (he wishes!)

So Blingley turns out to be a nice enough looking guy, seems quite sweet really, though a bit dim, friendly, good dancer which is so rare among non-military men. I managed to fit him in, among the mob of lumpen local families’ sons who stampeded me the nanosecond I appeared, makes a change for them from chatting up cattle and killing things I suppose. Can’t blame them for being excited being within groping distance of a real live girl instead of the straw-stuffed sacks they prolly make do with when the livestock’s locked away for the night. So I danced with a few of them and no doubt fuelled their fantasies for the next year in the process.

The tight pantaloons and short jackets men wear these days leave no doubt about whether a guy fancies you or not, though sometimes you’d rather not see the evidence of it. Quite put me off the saveloys at half time... however all thoughts of fresher meat than saveloys were banished, turns out Blingers has sisters rather than bros. Two of them, total beehatches, snobby as hell in come-court-me shoes and dresses to die for, not to mention the ultimate accessories. Jewels, lace, oh my life! Wasted on them as they were frankly too old to carry it all off. Clearly thought they were mint but I reckon some work had been done on their faces and hair, not all of it was from nature’s hand if you get my drift. Extensions R Us must be short of stock right now. To think, these two live in London, and I’m stuck here!

They were talking in high pitched voices about how ‘quaint’ we all are and how dear Brother Charles should have got a decent crib someplace else, though they are going to be here all the damn time living off his dosh. Oh well I can ignore them while getting our faithful servant Hill to copy their sleeve details and bonnets for me.

But this wasn’t all. With Blingers was his bezzie mate, 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. Decent legs though.

Kitty came bundling over, sweating like a spitted pig, and grabbed me painfully. ‘Eeeeh!’ she shrieked, above the noise of seriously wild fiddle playing from local band ‘Ultra Violins’, ‘that Mr Darcy, he’s dead loaded! He’s got ten big ones a year!’

I could see he’d heard, he turned away like he’d smelled something bad, like she’d said something wrong or something! ‘Has he, so the stick up his arse’ll be platinum plated then,’ I bantered back, at equal volume.

If his back’d got any stiffer, they could’ve used it for an extra table, swear down. Laugh, I nearly wet my drawers. But didn’t of course, or hardly at all. I do have standards. Well of course everybody else had been ready to give him their kidneys, what with the dosh and the legs and the tallness and all, but when he only danced with his mate’s sisters, and sneered at the locals, they all turned against him and muttered about how much they hated him, though almost any of the grisly and desperate daughters of the Lucas’ and Longs and such would have dropped their empire lines below the equator in a heartbeat if he’d asked them. Not me though. I have standards, as I said. I couldn’t get with a guy unless he was not only fit, but fun. This guy looked like he’d never had fun in his life and wasn’t about to start trying. Ok he was dead right, it was a grotty little country dance, populated by horny-handed grubby wannabe pig-stickers, but that’s not the point.

I overheard Blingers giving him some attitude. ‘Hey, I hate to see you standing about by yourself in this stupid manner! You’d better dance, Darcy.’

I thought, good for you Blings. And he’d danced twice with our Jane, who was all aglow with innocent pleasure poor mare, as was Ma who’d been eyeballing them with almost indecent delight. And they did look kind of right together, J and B, a couple of nice but dimboids.

But Arsey was like, ‘At such an assembly as this, it would be insupportable’.

I thought, get him! Can’t he, like, speak English?

It was at this point, that Lizzy got involved. Needless to say, all the hours in Pa’s library cataloguing his collections of French porn had given her a reputation for intelligence, so that despite her really quite pretty face and figure (she’s got a decent rack on her), she had no partner. Clueless, totally clueless, she wandered around, not even having the sense to hide in the Ladies’. So she blundered into the situation, just as Blings says that Jane is the most beautiful girl he ever beheld, (aw, bless!) but there’s one of her sisters, who is very pretty... I assume he meant me, but I was already dancing with a Lucas bro and fully occupied keeping his mitts out of my muff.

But Lizzy was standing right there in earshot, to hear the Alpha Git mouthing off, looking right at her. ‘She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me’, and other stuff of the same kind.

Well, I was fit to be tied. How dare he diss my sis! And I have to say, Lizzy handled it really well, instead of running off in tears or going off on one, she actually told it to all her friends and made a joke of it, all credit to her for that. We got home and it was Bingley this and Bingley that, like he was Justin Lord Bieber, and how horrible Mr Darcy was and so on. My shoes were ruined with clod-hopping footmarks on the satin, my stockings were torn, and I had a raging thirst, after quaffing large quantities of a new fruit cup called ‘Red Bull’ after the inn in Meryton which invented it. Oh my, I danced like I had wings after a few of those! My hair was a total lost cause, so I was too busy applying CPR (curling, pinning, rolling) to take in all that was going on. Pa had waited up for us, supposedly ‘lost in a book’ (I wish), I wondered if he did care about Ma after all and thought some ancient admirer might’ve been after her. Well Sir William Lucas always had the hots for her if village goss is right. He only married whatsherface on the rebound, it’s a well known fact.

‘I wish you had been there,’ Ma was saying to Pa as I staggered up to bed practically carrying Kitty who was well away, ‘to give Darcy one of your set-downs.’ She’d tortured Pa for ice ages about the dance, until he prolly wished Sir Wills had eloped with her after all. ‘I detest the man Darcy!’

I took a risk, and told her, on the qt, that I’d contrived to spill a cup of chocolate down the back of his pantaloons in passing, which might explain why he kept his back to the room after that... we all three were howling with mirth, when Lizzy gives us a disapproving look like she’s the Ma, and I suddenly thought, why, Lizzy and Arsey would be well matched! And with all that dosh in the family, I could visit them unmercifully and get asked to some really rocking parties. Proper London ones. Where the very best officers hang out. Sounds like a plan!

Tuesday 22nd October, 1811. The Lucas Low-down.

Well it seems the dung’s really hit the fan. That’ll teach me to stand too near the carriage wheels after heavy rain and the weekly cattle market, with my very best evening fan extended. I only hope I can get the stains out, not to mention the stench. The feathers are drooping almost as much as me, Kitty and Ma after the night’s adventures. Liz and Jane look a bit pale but as they don’t really give it their all, they don’t suffer the after effects like what I do hem hem. It’s all about commitment, IMO. Kitty looks like a drowned owl, I don’t know what she’d do without me to give her life some direction.

I had managed to stuff a ratafia glass in my reticule at the ball, and applied it to the wall to earwig on Lizzy and Jane in their bedroom, discussing the ball as they brushed their hair a gazillion times and put on their maidenly nightclothes. You should’ve heard them.

Jane was like, about Bingley, ‘He is just what a young man ought to be, sensible, good-humoured, lively, such happy manners, such ease, such perfect good-breeding!’

I kid you not, this is how she talks even when the oldies aren’t listening. Not a mention of his clothes, or his bod, not a mention of whether she fancies him, and not even a ‘fnarr, fnarr’ from either of them at the mention of ‘good breeding’ which would have had me and Kitty rolling off the bed. Ease? Wassat?

Liz is like, ‘He is also handsome, which a young man ought to be if he possibly can, his character is thereby complete.’

That’s more like it I whispered to Kitty, at least Liz understands the importance of Looks, despite talking like an old man who swallowed a dictionary. There’s a few years between the eldest sisters and me n’Kits, but to hear us, you’d think we were different generations.

Later. The low-down on Charlotte Lucas.

So my plan to get Lizzy and Arsers together is still cooking away in my busy brain, I’m, like, a genius, swear down. Hard to think though, what with the Lucas mob turning up yesterday for the usual after-ball discussion, honestly, talking balls, before and after, is about all there is to do here but despair. The Lucas’ are a sad bunch and I did my best to ignore them after no-one, but NO-ONE, showed any interest in the way I got my ribbons to exactly match my dancing shoes. Charlotte Lucas is Lizzy’s bezzie mate, poor cow, she could be quite nice looking but she is screaming for a makeover. She’s twenty seven if she’s a day! And brown is so not her colour. You should have heard Liz and Jane and Ma going on about

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    This is SO bad that is insulting.