SFF

The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch

Grand Central Oct. 2023. 400p. ISBN 9781538739204. $30. FANTASY
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Taub’s (Still Star-Crossed) adult debut reexamines Pride and Prejudice through a new lens with a light touch. Allowing Lydia Bennet to recount her own story, this retelling imagines that she is the seventh daughter of a seventh daughter and thus born a witch. Also, Kitty Bennet is actually a cat that Lydia has bewitched to appear human. Jumping around in time, with witty asides and honest commentary, Lydia relates how she came to run away from home, why she ended up with Wickham, and more. Full of spell-casting garden parties, demons, hidden jewels, vibrant dances, backstabbing, and societal slights, this is vividly descriptive, frothy fun. While Pride and Prejudice has been retold from Lydia’s perspective before, her frank, humorous, narration of her own misadventures in Taub’s version adds a great deal, as does the magical intrigue. The concluding author’s note comments on the many influences, stories, and myths that fused to become Lydia’s story, including which bits came from Jane Austen and what Taub made up herself.
VERDICT A funny, lighthearted read recommended for those who love a retelling with a dash of magic and a witty heroine.
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