Monday 1 October 2012

Who Needs Mr Darcy? by Jean Burnett

Everybody knows the story of Elizabeth Bennett but now it's time for her sister Lydia to take the limelight.

Lydia Wickham is recently widowed after her husband was killed during Waterloo. Now penniless, she relies on the generosity of her sister and brother in law. When Lydia announces she wishes to move on to London after staying with Elizabeth and Darcy, they agree to pay her a 'small' allowance. Lydia intends to climb the social ladder but finds herself being drawn into the criminal underworld, befriending a serial adulterer banker, cheating at cards and discovering the body of a strange man on her sofa.

Lydia jumps from one scrape to another, seemingly attracted to trouble. Her family despair of her actions but Lydia doesn't listen and finds them - and their lives - to be incredibly dull. Lydia's own life is far from dull as she meets musicians and royalty and travels across the continent. I found her to be snobbish at times and quite selfish but in a wonderful, amusing way. I loved the historic references, from Waterloo, Lord Byron and the tragic death of Princess Charlotte. The only (very small) criticism I have is I struggled with a few words and phrases as I don't have a vast knowledge of the time period so a bit more of an explanation would have been handy but it didn't really hinder my enjoyment of the book and I looked up a couple of references so learned some new things along the way.

Overall, I enjoyed Who Needs Mr Darcy? and found it to be a pleasant and amusing read while giving an insight into the early 19th century. I would love to know what happens to Lydia next and read about her adventures.

Who Needs Mr Darcy? is out now.

Thank you to Sphere for sending me a copy to review.

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