Beyond Pride and Prejudice: Lydia's Lives

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Beyond Pride and Prejudice: Lydia's Lives

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars5/5 (1 rating)
Length: 304 pages9 hours


From an early age – a very early age – Lydia, the youngest of the five Bennet sisters, was suspected by the neighbours of being the naughtiest member of the Bennet family. Her recently discovered memoirs, diaries and other documents show there was some justification for their suspicions.

Elizabeth Bennet settled for the tall, handsome and wealthy Darcy. For sister Jane it was Mr Bingley – first, last and always. Lydia was not so easily satisfied. She had a wider world to explore and conquer. A world centred on men.

In the first volume of Lydia’s Lives the hot-blooded, warm-hearted Lydia proves that being naughty as well as nice (spiced with a little luck) can lead to good fortune – not the poorhouse or the gallows as predicted by so many kindly neighbours.

Lydia is taken in hand (literally) by the Reverend Wellyboy, who suspects that the lusty, busty girl of 14 is full of sinful thoughts. He recommends baptism – but a ducking in the parson’s scummy duck pond only gives Lydia a bad head cold – and the sinful thoughts remain.

The following year Lydia seduces her flute tutor. At 16 she pursues and weds Lieutenant Wickham.

Lydia celebrates her 18th birthday with Napoleon in Paris and two days later meets the Duke of Wellington in Brussels. (The Duke, who was invigorated by the very brief encounter with his young countrywoman, went on to defeat the French leader. Napoleon, for whom the encounter in Paris was not brief, was said by his aides to be physically weary and mentally distracted throughout the battle of Waterloo – as though his thoughts were constantly elsewhere). Some French officers later said the defeat was all Lydia’s fault – she was England’s secret weapon at Waterloo.

And those were just the early days .... in Lydia’s Lives.

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