Narrator: Stevie Zimmerman
on February 27, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction
Length: 3 hours, 27 minutes
A scandalous flight, an inconsiderate couple—
How can things have gone so terribly wrong for Lydia Bennet?
In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Lydia Bennet runs away from Brighton with George Wickham, but this adaptation of Lydia’s adventures is not your typical story about this brash couple.
Mr. Wickham, proving he is no gentleman, does the unthinkable and casts Lydia out of a second-rate coach. Filthy, exhausted, and penniless, Lydia is just facing the beginning of her ordeal! How can a spoiled, uneducated girl of fifteen—used to having her way—survive a night in the wilds of Sussex?
As Mr. Bennet and Mr. Gardiner vainly search for her in London, Lydia’s sisters struggle to keep her secret from their Meryton neighbors. Though they fear the worst—that Lydia’s wild life has ended in tragedy—all hope is not lost. Mr. Darcy, in the midst of reigniting his courtship with Elizabeth Bennet, is determined to recover his love’s unfortunate sibling.
Will Mr. Darcy succeed in finding Lydia and restoring her to respectability? In what shocking condition will this catastrophe render such a reckless, headstrong girl?
What if Lydia Bennet ran away with Wickham, but ended up on a separate, desperate adventure all alone? It might be the making of a Reckless, Headstrong Girl as well as the chance for her sister to get a second chance at love.
Reckless, Headstrong Girl is a novella in the Skirmish and Scandal collection and focuses on two of five Bennet sisters, Lydia and Elizabeth, from Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Lydia was to be enjoying the pleasures of seaside Brighton while Elizabeth traveled with her aunt and uncle visiting the sights of Derbyshire. Lydia is beguiled by Lt. Wickham, who is running from his debts, to run away with him. Her disappearance with Wickham breaks into a tentative romantic reconciliation for Darcy and Elizabeth when Elizabeth journeys to Pemberley and Lambton not expecting to meet there. Lydia breaks away from Wickham and has to survive by her wits, learning to appreciate her home and sisters, while truly finding out who she is when faced with real adversity. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is dealing with regret and hoping that Lydia’s elopement doesn’t ruin everything.
If I was asked before listening to this which sister’s story I would find more appealing, I would have said Elizabeth, but I would have been well and far off. Lydia was a sparkling gem of a heroine. She is silly and heedless, selfish and untried when she starts out, but by the time she is through I had so much respect for her. The author brought her along on a journey that was both internal and external with the conflict. She matures before the listener’s eyes and it was engaging to see this as well as how her loss affected her family and made changes back home. I must say that the time when Darcy arrives on the scene with Lydia was just that little bit of extra goodness.
The story is swiftly paced due to the novella length and feels a little disjointed on the part away from Lydia so probably it is best if the reader is already familiar with the original P&P storyline so this doesn’t get confusing. Much of the development and focus is on the irrepressible Lydia which, again, is a compelling, engaging story that runs the gamut of sadness, suspense, humor, and love. I can recommend it to Austen fans and those who enjoy a quick Regency era historical romance.
Stevie Zimmerman is a long familiar narrator who caught the light tone of the story while still delivering the emotional impact. I liked her distinct Lydia and Elizabeth voices and lost myself in her storytelling. I definitely hope to listen to more of her work.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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