Lydia by Natasha Farrant
While Pride and Prejudice sits happily in the hearts of many, the youngest Bennet sister is often overlooked and dismissed as "vain, ignorant, idle and absolutely uncontrolled" (Lizzy and Darcy, I'm looking at you). Peeking beyond Lydia's carefree and bubbly personality, however, it soon becomes clear that there is more to her than meets the eye. Strong willed and desperate for independence from her stifling family, Lydia knows what she wants - and as her mother advises, she will fight for it. From the first page, we are instantly immersed in Lydia's life via her personal diary. What she initially feels is a boring account of her day to day existence at Longbourn (where, according to Lydia, "nothing EVER happens"), her life is quickly brightened up by the arrival of the military - and specifically a certain red-coat named George Wickham. But as Lydia soon finds out, although Wickham's dancing is indeed impeccable, the rest of his character may not be so. As Lydia gets swept up into a whirlwind of romance, visits the fashionable Brighton, and befriends a comte and comtesse, maybe her life isn't quite as dull as she first thinks... This vivid imagining of Lydia's Pride and Prejudice experience is as bubbly and charming as Lydia herself. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and Natasha Farrant's writing brought it all completely to life, especially the full technicolour spectrum of Lydia, which I completely adored. For those of you who fancy slipping back in time (or just love Pride and Prejudice), grab your empire-waist ball gowns and your finest tea set, and get ready to meet your new (slightly wild, completely lovable) friend: Lydia Bennet.