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Sunday, December 23, 2012

"The Bad Miss Bennet" by Jean Burnett~ Juicy!

Jane Austen Christmas Week!!!
Welcome to day one of our tribute week to Miss Austen with
this review of
"The Bad Miss Bennet:  A Pride and Prejudice Novel"
by Jean Burnett
Picking up where Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice left off, The Bad Miss Bennet takes readers on a wild Regency romp with Lydia Wickham, née Bennet, who finds herself in dire need of a new husband

Lydia was never the most upstanding of the Bennet sisters, but who ever said that moral rectitude was fun?
At least she bested her elder sisters and was the first to get married. She never could understand what all the fuss was about after she left Brighton with her gallant. It is a shame, though, that Mr. Wickham turned out to be a disappointing husband in so many aspects, the most notable being his early demise on the battlefields of Waterloo. And so Lydia, still not yet twenty and full of enterprising spirit, is in urgent need of a wealthy replacement. A lesser woman, without Lydia's natural ability to flirt uproariously on the dance floor and cheat seamlessly at the card table, would swoon in the wake of a dashing highwayman, a corrupt banker, and even an amorous Prince Regent. But on the hunt for a marriage that will make her rich, there's nothing that Lydia won't turn her hand to. In the meantime, she has no qualms about imposing on her sister Elizabeth's hospitality at Pemberly. After all, what is the point of having all that fine fortune if not to aid a poor, newly widowed younger sister?
While Lydia rattles around the continent from Paris to Venice and to the home of the disgraced Princess of Wales in Italy and back again to Darbyshire, you, dear reader, will be greatly diverted by the new adventures of Jane Austen's consummate and incorrigible anti-heroine, who never ceases to delight.

As a hard cover novel this one rates right at the top!  It's a beautiful Regency cover with all the best in color and pictoral.  I love the fonts they've chosen, the glossy cover, and even the small text peek into the book inside.  This is one for your library, Austen fans.

Published by:  Pegasus Books
Pages:  405
Genre:  Historical Fiction/Austen inspired
Author:  Jean Burnett
Purchase the book here:  Amazon


Jean Burnett studied at Exeter University and has a Masters degree from Cardiff University.  She has worked at the University of Bristol and has taught creative writing and written for a variety of agencies and magazines.  Jean lives near Bath, England.


Who isn't intrigued with the impulsive Miss Bennet, Lydia?  Which of us didn't wish we had the wherewithall to run away with the handsome and romantic Mr. Wickham?  And, which of us hasn't wondered how Lydia would fare over the years...knowing she surely wouldn't change her spots!?
Jean Burnett has given us a beauty of a book to take us from the years shortly after Mrs. Wickham becomes a widow in her early adult years.... But, Lydia never really grows up, and her escapades are just as to be expected in this wild scheme of a book. 

Without making her the caricature she could easily have done, Jean Burnett brings us a fully developed character in Lydia.  She is true to character from Miss Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" novel, but she is more complex as a more mature young woman.  I loved the insight into her self-serving way of thinking...somewhat socially innocent, but brazen!  Ever the seeker of money and fame, Lydia grounds deeper into the darker side of society and morality in this book.

The addition of the character, Jerry, the highwayman and eventual lover of Lydia, is genius.  I loved his character and thought he was a fully humorous foil to Lydia and her wicked ways.  They are a perfect match for Princes and paupers alike in this novel.  And it seems Ms Burnett may be writing more about them as a couple in the future.

This is a novel that has fun and fantastic adventure.  There are glimpses into courtly homes and manners, into English society and foreign intrigues, into gothic novels of the times, and into the mind of a misbegotten Bennet girl.  Lydia is nothing if not an adventuress and she's perfect as the Bennet sister who is let out of the bottle despite her more refined sister, Lizzie and Mr. Darcy's protestations.  Lydia is irrepressible no matter what dangers and tragedies she encounters in this fun romp of a book!

Not rocket science, this novel is just plain enjoyment and escapism for those who love a fantasy moment or two wondering what may have happened to poor Lydia.  Did she change her wicked ways?  Not on your life!!

4 stars for fun....                   Deborah/TheBookishDame


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