Reckless, Headstrong Girl is a very creative novella where Lydia’s fate after running away from Brighton with Wickham is very different from what we are used to. What if Wickham grew tired of Lydia even before they reached London? And what would happen if he threw her of the carriage in the middle of the country? What would petulant Lydia do?
The book opens up with Lydia and Wickham’s storyline, and alternates between Lydia’s adventures and Elizabeth and Darcy’s romance. I never expected I would say this, but when I started reading this book, I was so entranced with Lydia’s story that I didn’t want to read the chapters which were not focused on her. Elizabeth and Darcy’s love story is beautiful, and because of a slight difference in the story, Jane doesn’t send the letter to Elizabeth straight away, so Elizabeth and Mr Darcy have more time to be together at Pemberley, which was enough to develop a sweet romance, but still, I couldn’t take my mind away from Lydia!
Lydia’s story was very funny at first, and I loved to see her petulance be repeatedly tamed by her new circumstances, but as the story progressed, I started caring very much not only for Lydia, but also for the characters that were interacting with her. Mr. Parch in particular was a favourite, and my only quibble with this story was not seeing Lydia herself rewarding him for all he did for her. He was such an interesting character that I wanted to know more about him and his life.
The situation Lydia finds herself in is so different that she goes through material changes, and I loved to see her character development. The changes we see in her attitude and her growth from a childish lady into a pondered young woman were probably one of the aspects I enjoyed the most in this novella, but particularly because they were written in a light and funny fashion that made the book unputdownable. I usually dislike too much Lydia time, and confess to skip some parts of books that are exclusively about Lydia, but Grace Gibson did such a wonderful job with this story that I absolutely loved Lydia and wanted more time in her company.
Summing up, Reckless, Headstrong Girl is an extraordinary novella that readers will not be able to put down. It is well written and captivating, with the best Lydia rendition I’ve ever read. I highly recommend getting a copy and spend one afternoon in the company of this book.
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