Sunday, 20 October 2013

VALERIE LAWS, GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY - DISSING DARCY, LIFTING UP LYDIA: LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG

  
Newly-engaged Lizzy remembered that [Darcy] had yet to learn to be laughed at, and it was rather too early to begin.’ In my subversion of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, he has already been laughed at, and tricked into doing what will benefit himself, the Bennets, but mainly the trickster. For who is as brilliant at getting what(or who!) she wants than a teenage girl, a penniless princess, entitled without a title - Lydia Bennet. After many readings, it dawned on me that Austen roots for certain characters, and yet alternative interpretations shine through. Most post-Austen sequels or spin-offs stick to the orthodox views - Darcy the Ideal Alpha Male, Lizzy the feisty romantic heroine, Mrs Bennet a neurotic airhead, Mr Bennet clever (and who can blame him for hiding in the library), Lydia Bennet annoyingly stupid and shallow. But in fact husband-hunting Mrs Bennet has the brains - when Mr Bennet dies, which could be any time back then, they will all be literally homeless. Marriage, to a man able to support the whole family, was the only option for women. Mr Bennet’s scorn is cruel and selfish, he’s safe in Longbourn until he’s ‘carked it’ as Lydia would say. For Lydia, as Austen writes her, is a modern teenager, she loves shopping, fashion, flirting, fun, and why not? She’s only 15/16! She wants Wickham? So does Lizzy for quite a while. And he’s hot as hell, a sexy bad boy. What if powerless Lydia B is as brilliant
at manipulation as modern Britney-alikes? And so LYDIA BENNET’S BLOG sprang into my mind, and she started talking, and it turns out the whole story was quite different from what we, and even Lizzy and Darcy, thought! Lydia uses teen slang, which by a strange coincidence is the same as ours, but with different meanings. Patchily educated, she has massive holes in her knowledge, but snooping in Pa’s dubious books and eavesdropping gets her some of the way, native wit, the rest. She knows exactly what Wickham is, but she wants him - how many respectable women had anything like the experiences Lydia would have with the tight-pantalooned seducer, the Barney Stinson of the Regency?  Collins and Charlotte had a very different story too, and a different reason to marry, brokered by Lydia, who made sure everyone ended up affluent. It’s a comedy, and has gained glowing reviews, including from successful writer fans, like Linda Gillard and Catherine Czerkawska, but like rebellious Lydia, it proved too rude, outrageous, and disrespectful of ‘Arsey Darcy’as she calls him, for big publishers, so it’s the only one of my 12 published books to be just on Kindle. Yes, Darcy is laughed at, but Lydia gets a rough deal in the original, this time the tables are turned and why not? It’s all in affectionate fun!
Valerie Laws

About the author
Valerie Laws (http://www.valerielaws.com) is an award-winning crime and comedy novelist and a prize-winning poet, playwright and sci-art installation specialist with twelve books published; four of them are available on Kindle. She lives on the North East Coast of England, and is world-infamous for ‘Quantum Sheep’, spray-painting poetry onto live sheep to celebrate quantum theory. Her recent work results from working with pathologists, neuroscientists, human specimens and dissections. She performs worldwide live and in the media. 


Read an Excerpt:
‘Lizzy was standing right there in earshot, to hear Darcy mouthing off, looking right at her. ‘She is tolerable, but not handsome enough to tempt me’, and other stuff of the same kind.
Well, I was fit to be tied. How dare he diss my sis! And I have to say, Lizzy handled it really well, instead of running off in tears or going off on one, she actually told it to all her friends and made a joke of it, all credit to her for that. We got home and it was Bingley this and Bingley that, like he was Justin Lord Bieber, and how horrible Mr Darcy was and so on. My shoes were ruined with clod-hopping footmarks on the satin, my stockings were torn, and I had a raging thirst, after quaffing large quantities of a new fruit cup called ‘Red Bull’ after the inn in Meryton which invented it. Oh my, I danced like I had wings after a few of those! My hair was a total lost cause, so I was too busy applying CPR (curling, pinning, rolling) to take in all that was going on. Pa had waited up for us, supposedly ‘lost in a book’ (I wish), I wondered if he did care about Ma after all and thought some ancient admirer might’ve been after her. Well Sir William Lucas always had the hots for her if village goss is right. He only married whatsherface on the rebound, it’s a well known fact.
‘I wish you had been there,’ Ma was saying to Pa as I staggered up to bed practically carrying Kitty who was well away, ‘to give Darcy one of your set-downs.’ She’d tortured Pa for ice ages about the dance, until he prolly wished Sir Wills had eloped with her after all. ‘I detest the man Darcy!’
I took a risk, and told her, on the qt, that I’d contrived to spill a cup of chocolate down the back of his pantaloons in passing, which might explain why he kept his back to the wall after that... we all three were howling with mirth, when Lizzy gives us a disapproving look like she’s the Ma, and I suddenly thought, why, Lizzy and Arsey would be well matched! And with all that dosh in the family, I could visit them unmercifully and get asked to some really rocking parties. Proper London ones. Where the very best officers hang out. Sounds like a plan!’


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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like this book will be a lot of fun to read. Fingers crossed that I'm a lucky winner.

Warmisunqu Austen said...

I have been curious for this book. It sounds so great.
I am glad participate in the giveaway.
Thank you for the opportunity.

junewilliams7 said...

Your preview has made me very curious about how Lydia feels in the end, when she and Wicky have lost their affections for each other. Also, I am hoping that you describe her life as an officer's wife. I've always wondered about that - if she made friends with other wives, how she adjusted to living on a budget and visiting her sisters for extended stays. You have piqued my interest!

Anonymous said...

I would love to read this!!
Hope I win...
Monica

Vesper Meikle said...

Welcome Valerie - Lydia is not one of my favourite characters but after reading the extract I might get to like her

Lúthien84 said...

Hi, Valerie. Your book is different from other titles that I have come across. I like what you did to Lydia because she really sounds like a modern teenager stuck into her conservative world.

Susan Price said...

I've read it - twice! It's very funny and very clever too. The new plot slots into place perfectly inside Austen's book - and devilish, knowing Lydia is much fiestier than her older sisters - and generous and likeable too, since she manipulates the whole plot to make everyone happy. It's become a favourite of mine.

summerrivers said...

Sounds like fun.

cyn209 said...

Congrats to Valerie!!!
i cannot wait to read your book!!

dstoutholcomb said...

love all things Jane

Lydia Bennet said...

thanks for all your lovely comments! I too am interested in what Lydia got up to after Pride and Prejudice ended! I'm planning another book about her to tell that story. Good luck in the giveaway, and if you don't win, do consider getting it anyway!

BeckyC said...

Congratulations on the release and thank you for the giveaway.