“You’re only a supporting character if you let yourself be.”
Have you seen the YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries? If you have not, I would highly suggest you do, even before tackling this post. You can find the full playlist, along with Lydia’s videos and the other spinoffs, by clicking on this link.
I prefaced this review by saying that because this book is essentially a sequel to those videos and the accompanying novel, The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet. For those who are not aware, the YouTube series is a modern adaptation of perhaps Jane Austen’s most popular work, Pride and Prejudice. Just about everyone is familiar with that story on some level, right?
To that end, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet follows the youngest Bennet sister through her journey after the end of her sister’s videos. She was, in my opinion, the only character who really did not get an ending wrapped in a little bow when the videos concluded. No, I think Lydia was left at a crossroads. This is why I am grateful they wrote this novel, because now I can truly know what happened to Lydia.
If you read the classic story, you would know Lydia causes a scandal by running away with George Wickham, which Darcy is able to, thankfully, solve somewhat by having the two of them marry. It stands to reason, then, that the modern adaptation puts its own spin on the crisis. Running away juts does not hold the same shock and shame as it once did.
While I cannot tell you exactly what happened, I can say that regardless, Lydia found herself shattered by the end of the videos. This book opens with her trying to move forward. Part of me thought everything would be picture perfect in this book, but I actually found myself pleasantly surprised by the fact that everything just felt…real. I actually felt like these things could happen in real life. I felt the reactions I read from Lydia were ones I recognized, or felt like I would have done in her situation. This, to me, is an essential part about reading a book set in my time and as if it were a normal situation (fantasy novels, clearly, do not have to hold the same weight as these ones).
Reading this book was certainly a different experience than watching the videos, however I still felt like Lydia’s voice shone through most of the time. It was not quite the same as it was during the video series, but at the same time who would be the same person after that sort of crisis/tragedy? Of course, there were still flashes of the same Lydia, because while most would not be the same after a similar experience, I highly doubt anyone would be completely different.
I think going into this I just wanted two things from The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet. I wanted to hear about what happened to Lydia and the others after the conclusion of Lizzie’s videos. I also wanted to see if the same feeling came back in the book as it originally appeared in the video.
I definitely think I found what I was looking for. Frankly, I think I got even more than I wanted, and relate to Lydia on an entirely new level after having read this book.
To put it simply, I would highly recommend reading this book if you are a fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. I would definitely start there first if this book intrigues you buy you have not seen the video series yet. When you do read this book, I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Do you relate to Lydia? Did this book change your perspective on her? Do you have anything else to share?
Title: The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet
Author: Kate Rorick and Rachel Kiley