Farrant bravely takes on Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the youngest Bennet sister.
This tale offers a peek into the life of 15-year-old Lydia Bennet, the youngest of the infamous Bennet sisters who grace the romantic stage of Pride and Prejudice. Farrant’s Lydia Bennet is a flighty, boisterous tomboy who likes to ride horses and shoot guns by day, easily switching gears to wear her finest dresses at any prestigious ball that she can attend. In the spirit of the time, like every eligible young British teenager of privilege, Lydia lets her eyes roam every public event, hoping to find the perfect suitor, one who will take her on worldly adventures and rescue her from life with her dull family—which, readers will note, is characterized by servants, glamorous balls, and no chores. This story is a whimsical introduction for teen readers who have yet to taste the waters of the world of Mr. Darcy, and yes, readers get a few glimpses of the dark brooding aristocrat because, as with all things Bennet, Darcy is always lurking nearby. Despite the title, the novel offers little in the way of secrets, as this tale is necessarily predictable, and Lydia’s voice and interpolated scenes don’t do enough to give it real originality. Yet at the same time, there is a charming humor that Farrant does manage to capture for readers who want to take another romp in the Bennet household.
Readers wanting a real taste of Austen won’t find it, but it’s a pleasant enough sojourn in her world regardless. (Historical fiction. 13-17)