Welcome to My Jane Austen Book Club! Today, we embark on a bewitching literary journey that merges the timeless atmosphere of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with the enchanting world of magic. Get ready to uncover the secrets and confessions of the Bennet family like you've never seen before as we dive into The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch. Join us as we explore this wildly inventive and utterly addictive reimagining, and don't miss our exclusive interview with author, Melinda Taub, where we delve into the magic behind the pages.
If I had to boil down what drew me to Lydia, I’d refer you to a couple of her lines from Pride and Prejudice. This is her very first line:
The tallest! Oh, sweetheart. Those are the words of a child. Lydia is fifteen here, and not an old fifteen. And yet, in less than a year, she’ll be married. I don’t think Jane Austen intended us to think that was a great outcome.
As for the mystery recipient – I wanted to tie the timelines together, and to give the reader a sense that Lydia might not be a completely reliable narrator. When you’re trying to convince someone of something, you write differently than if you’re just setting down what happened. My main reason for keeping it a secret was that I wanted to introduce the reader to the mystery recipient gradually. This book is about how you never really know anyone’s full story, so I wanted that loose thread early on to let the reader know that there was this important figure in Lydia’s life whom we couldn’t infer from reading Pride and Prejudice.
I didn’t do systematic research on witchcraft, but I tried to give it a flavor. I wanted Lydia’s magical world in Meryton to feel extremely English, so, for example, she’s asked to sour a cup of milk, because witches were sometimes accused of souring their neighbors’ milk. Some of the herbs I have her use correspond to real folklore too, though honestly, I don’t remember which ones are based in lore and which I just made up.
Not the occult precisely, but an interesting thing I found when researching Obeah (Miss Lambe’s flavor of Caribbean magic) was that it’s still illegal in several countries! Not that that stops people of course. This was another reason I made up a lot of the magical practice in my book. I wanted it to feel grounded in the cultures and history it came from, but I didn’t want it to be too close to the spiritual practices of real, living people.
In this exuberant retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet puts pen to paper to relate the real events and aftermath of the classic story. Some facts are well known: Mrs. Bennet suffers from her nerves, Mr. Bennet suffers from Mrs. Bennet, and all five daughters suffer from an estate that is entailed only to male heirs.
But Lydia also suffers from entirely different concerns: her best-loved sister Kitty is really a barn cat; Wickham is every bit as wicked as the world believes him to be, but what else would one expect from a demon? And if Mr. Darcy is uptight about etiquette, that’s nothing compared to his feelings about magic. Most of all, Lydia has yet to learn that for a witch, promises have power . . .
Full of enchantment, intrigue, and boundless magic, The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch, has all the irreverent wit, strength, and romance of Pride and Prejudice—while offering a highly unexpected redemption for the wildest Bennet sister.
PRAISE FOR THE SCANDALOUS CONFESSIONS OF LYDIA BENNET, WITCH
“Funny and fierce as Lydia Bennet herself, this book mixes witchcraft lore with Austen’s story to make its own unique magic. I’ll never look at Kitty the same way again…” ―Claudia Gray, author of The Murder of Mr. Wickham, a Mr. Darcy and Miss Tilney Mystery
“Taub’s wit and creativity shines through. . . A delight for both Austen lovers and fans of magical adventure stories.”―Kirkus Reviews
· “Wildly inventive and utterly addictive. I never thought I'd say this, but I'm now 100% Team Lydia.” ―Julia Quinn
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melinda Taub is an Emmy and Writers’ Guild Award-winning writer. The former head writer and executive producer of Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, she is also the author of Still Star-Crossed, a young adult novel which was adapted for television by Shondaland. (She also wrote that thing about the Baroness in The Sound of Music that your aunt likes.) She lives in Brooklyn.