Welcome to Lydia’s Bennet’s story.
If you’ve read Pride & Prejudice, you know Lydia is the youngest of the five Bennet sisters. Like her siblings, she has little chance of making a good marriage. Still, Lydia is not your typical heroine. She doesn’t cry over her hopeless future. She sets about to change it, without concern to propriety or decorum. Lydia falls to the charms of Wickham when she’s sixteen and she’s certain marriage to the handsome fellow is the beginning of her fabulous life. She soon discovers Wickham’s many failings and realizes she’ll have to secure a better future for them both.
At each stop, I’ll share a new bit of detail from Pride & Prejudice that touches upon Lydia’s story.
Today, we go to P&P to discover if Lydia is pretty or just flirtatious?
In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Lydia describes herself as the tallest of the sisters. Eliza calls Lydia a stout, well-grown girl of fifteen, with a fine complexion and good countenance early in the book. Later, her looks are downgraded to tolerable, her attractions are attributed solely to her youth and flirtatious ways.
I believe the downgrade in looks by Eliza is skewed her sister’s unabashed enjoyment of soldiers. I translate stout to mean well endowed. In other words, Lydia is tall and busty with a happy outlook on life and a love for young men.
In all the movies, Lydia is shorter than her sisters, no doubt because it’s odd for the youngest to be the tallest. However, Lydia regains her height in Untamed & Unabashed. In fact, she is very tall for a young woman and thus stands out. While perhaps not the prettiest woman in England, her skin is flawless, she pouts beautifully, and her seduction skills are par none. She can even get a rise out Darby, who wants nothing to do with her.
Elizabeth Bennet told her story in Pride and Prejudice. Now Lydia Bennet tells her side of her whirlwind marriage to Lieutenant Wickham. The youngest of five daughters with a pittance of a dowry and no hope for a good marriage, Lydia feared her life was doomed from the start. She learns how to set herself apart from her sisters and gain the attention of young men. She hones charm and flirtation to an art. Willing to take risks, she manages to acquire a substantial dowry and marries her beloved Wickham. Yet, her life remains on the brink until she gains the patronage of a wealthy Duke trapped in a loveless marriage.
“Lydia was Lydia still; untamed, unabashed, wild, noisy and fearless.”
—quote by Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A peel of laughter drew Wickham’s attention to a circle of soldiers surrounding the youngest Bennet sister.
A smile came to his lips. The girl might just be his salvation. She was staying with Colonel Forster and his wife. If she would be willing to leave this dance and return to the Forster’s house, she could provide him access to the colonel’s library. Rumor had it that Forster kept the army’s provisioning money somewhere in the room, and with any luck, it would be enough to pay the men off.
He frowned. No. That wouldn’t work. Lydia couldn’t keep a secret to save her soul. She’d tell the colonel’s wife that he’d been in the library. He sighed. The colonel was no fool. He’d know exactly what happened, and Wickham would find himself spending the rest of his life in an army prison, which was only marginally better than what the two bruisers planned if he didn’t pay up.
He studied the tall pretty blonde, batting her eyes at her cadre of admirers. How could he keep the twit from talking? He smiled as a plan formed in his head.
Yes. He could escape his current predicament and start anew with the money in the colonel’s library. A moment of guilt flitted over him. Eliza would never forgive him for using and tossing her youngest sister aside.
His affection for Eliza had been foolhardy from the start. She had no dowry and no connections. All she possessed was a clever mind, genuine humor, and the finest brown eyes he’d ever seen.
He refocused on the blonde, blue-eyed Lydia. She was hands down the silliest girl he had ever met. She laughed at everything, and her eyes, while attractive, were nothing to Eliza’s.
Upon comparing the theoretical displeasure of a woman he would never see again to his certain displeasure at either chipping rocks in an army prison, or having both his legs broken, the choice proved remarkably easy.
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More About the Author
Liza O’Connor’s favorite books are Pride & Prejudice and Douglas Adams’ four book trilogy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Go figure…
Raised in the southern mid-section of U.S., Liza escaped to the East Coast once out of college. She’s worked as a journalist, a radio DJ, a security guard, a stock broker, a strategist, and a business solutions consultant to name a few of her many occupations. Again…go figure.
She learned to fly planes, jump out of planes, hang-glide, kayak and scuba dive, to name of few of her ‘let’s kill Liza’ sports. However, her favorite activity is to hike with her dog Jess among the shaved mountains of NJ.
Here are additional Historical Novels by Liza O’Connor
A Humorous Sleuth Series: The Adventures of Xavier & Vic
The brilliant English Sleuth, Xavier Thorn, takes on a cheeky apprentice who turns out to be a young woman. Vic prefers to dress as a young man so she can live a more interesting life in the Late Victorian era. Overtime, Xavier makes her his partner in all ways.
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love — A Romantic spin-off from the Adventures of Xavier & Vic. The gypsy pirate Jacko falls in love with a compromised lady of high society.
The Mesmerist — The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
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