Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.
I love Jane Austen and I love witchy stories, so this should have been a slam dunk for me. Instead it was a DNF @ 25%. While the character of Kitty was absolute perfection, full of wit and mischief, Lydia was wholly a bore and her internal reflections should have been cut by half in the final edits of this novel. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free advance copy.
What a delightful take on the Pride and Prejudice story. The whole storyline of her being a witch and Wickham being a demon was so fun. I also loved the inclusion of Kitty. There were a few times where timelines seemed to get confused for me, but otherwise this was a fun read, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a witchy fan and a Pride and Prejudice fan. You could certainly enjoy it without being a Pride and Prejudice fan because it is a self-contained story, but knowing the original novel makes it better I think.
I thought this was a really interesting and clever take on Lydia (and Kitty) Bennet from Pride & Prejudice. While we do see characters and key moments from the original novel, I thought the author did a great job of creating an original story by focusing on one of the more minor characters found in Pride & Prejudice.
I've read a lot of witch books these past few years and the thing I enjoyed about "The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch" was just how witchy it was. A lot of other witchy books I've read seem to sacrifice the witchy elements in lieu of adding more romance or thrills to the novel, and the author didn't do that here. I enjoyed the way the author integrated the magic into her story.
The only thing that kept me from enjoying this more was that it felt a bit disjointed at times. Once the story gets moving there are two major plot points, one related to Georgiana Darcy and the other related to Mr. Wickham and his father. The Georgiana story pops up randomly throughout the second half of the book, but it's seemingly out of nowhere and it took me out of the story. It also seemed like a rather long novel even though it wasn't. That being said I would definitely read again from this author in the future.
Thank you NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for a review copy.
This historical fantasy is a variation on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice in which the youngest Bennet sister is transformed into a witch. Nor is she the only one to undergo change. Several minor characters in the original are also witches, including Lydia’s Aunt Philips; her sister Kitty, her familiar, is originally a barn cat; and Wickham is a demon. Instead of a comedy of manners, the story becomes a conflict between those who make use of their supernatural abilities largely for benevolent purposes and those who seek to accumulate power for themselves.
Lydia remains a headstrong and self-centered teenager, but her motivations shift. Rather than merely thoughtless, she also displays courage and loyalty to her friends, whom she endeavours to protect from danger despite great personal risk. She offers some amusing observations about her family’s conduct; and Miss Georgiana Darcy’s transformation into a math prodigy by day and an owl by night is entertaining; but the primary focus shifts to the conflict between magic-users. As this widens, it grows increasingly confusing, but the warning against the temptation to misuse power becomes ever more forceful. I doubt Jane Austen would approve.
HNR Issue 106 (November 2023)
Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite stories and I loved seeing it from Lydia's perspective and a glimpse into what happened after the story ended for the Bennet sisters. I enjoyed the twist on the original, integrating witches and magic. You don't necessarily need to have read the original to read this one, it does go over the key plot points, but I feel like it's more enjoyable having an existing familiarity with the characters and how they're portrayed in this telling. It's a bit slow and very character based but if you're a lover of the original and enjoy character based stories I'd definitely recommend picking this one up.
I'm going with 3.5 rounded up. Honestly, for most of this book, it was a total 4 star. But about 75% in, it just felt long winded and that it should have been done by then. For the last quarter of the book, I thought it'd be a 3 star, but really, there were things I loved in here so I'll bump it up.
First off, how Kitty came to be was genius. I loved it so much. I thought it gave such a strong reason for why Kitty always seemed like Lydia's sidekick. I also loved that Lydia's character wasn't exactly different than what we had come to believe, but her witch background and her naivety as a kid provided some context for it.
The conclave of witches also reminded me of Angelica Huston in The Witches so I enjoyed that. It also gave me a little bit of what I loved in The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton - women willing to sacrifice anything to be beautiful.
I do think some stuff went off the rails though. The stuff with Wickham and the jewel was a bit much and I'm also not sure I understood the point of Georgiana Darcy as a side character. After a while, it just felt like there was so much going on and all I really wanted to hear about was Lydia and her cat.
This is a book club pick for next year and I think I'd read it again before the time comes just to refresh my memory because I know I'm going to forget a lot since there was a lot going on towards the end. Maybe I'll read it physically though to see if my brain tunes in better.
As a lover of Pride and Prejudice (both the book and the movie...the Kiera Knightley version, of course!), I was very excited to dive into this book. I found this story to be a fun spin on the classic tale and made me feel more connected to the character of Lydia. I would recommend this to fellow lovers of Jane Austen, but I'm not sure if it would be too enjoyable for those who don't already know Pride and Prejudice.
This is a unique retelling of Pride and Prejudice with Lydia as our narrator after the events of the story are complete. As we’re navigating the magical world of Lydia the witch, we learn how the events of the book came to be juxtaposed with a complete additional life Lydia was leading in the meantime. The author captures Lydia’s girlish foolishness while also restoring her credibility a bit more and making her more selfless than she is portrayed by Austen. She’s childish but she has a good heart. And the magic system she created is well done. Magic is more believable with a price and that is played to great effect throughout. This was a fun, albeit very long, book.
This was an ARC that I received via NetGalley and read before it published… on 10/3/23 😂 like I said, I’m behind on reviews lol.
This is a reimagining of Pride and Prejudice. It is told from the perspective of Lydia. Lydia is a witch, Kitty is a familiar, and Wickham is truly evil. This is their story.
I liked the idea of this. I liked taking a story we all know and love but telling a behind the scenes story to go along with it. The premise was great, I just felt like it was a little slow at times. I didn’t always understand what was happening, but that may have been a “me” issue. I give a lot of credit to this author for the creativity and the bravery of associating their story with such a classic.
The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch by Melinda Taub is a witty, magical, and altogether brilliant reimagining of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice. Told from the perspective of the mischievous and often misunderstood Lydia Bennet, this novel reveals a hidden world of witchcraft and spells that run parallel to the familiar events of the original story.
Taub's Lydia is a captivating and refreshingly complex character. Unlike her portrayal in Austen's work, this Lydia is no mere frivolous social butterfly. She is intelligent, independent, and possesses a hidden magical talent that she struggles to control. As Lydia navigates the societal expectations placed upon her, she also grapples with her burgeoning magical abilities and the danger they pose.
The addition of magic to the story adds a layer of intrigue and excitement that Austen fans are sure to enjoy. Taub cleverly weaves spells and magical creatures into the existing narrative, seamlessly blending fantasy and historical fiction. The result is a fresh and captivating story that stands on its own while still offering a satisfying nod to the original.
The novel's strength lies not only in its imaginative premise but also in its sharp wit and insightful exploration of female agency. Lydia's journey is one of self-discovery and empowerment, as she learns to embrace her unique talents and defy societal expectations. Through her eyes, we see the world of Regency England in a new light, one where women are not merely objects to be married off but powerful individuals capable of shaping their own destinies.
Here are some of the things I loved about the novel:
Lydia's voice: Taub captures Lydia's mischievous and witty personality perfectly, making her a relatable and engaging protagonist.
The blend of magic and history: The addition of magic adds a layer of intrigue and excitement to the story without overshadowing the historical setting.
The exploration of female agency: The novel celebrates Lydia's strength and independence, offering a refreshing perspective on women's roles in Regency England.
The humor: Taub's writing is witty and humorous, making the novel a joy to read.
The romance: The love story between Lydia and Mr. Darcy is both heartwarming and suspenseful.
Overall, The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch is a delightful and captivating read that will appeal to fans of Pride and Prejudice and fantasy lovers alike. It is a witty, insightful, and ultimately empowering story about a woman who chooses her own path and embraces her unique talents.
Here are some additional thoughts and considerations:
The novel may be too lighthearted for some readers who prefer a more serious take on Jane Austen's work.
The inclusion of magic may not appeal to all readers, especially those who prefer purely historical fiction.
The novel is relatively long, but the pacing is excellent, and the story is never dull.
If you are looking for a fun, witty, and heartwarming read, I highly recommend The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch.
This was such a fun reimagining of a beloved classic! I believe that the book works both for fans of the original, as well as those who may not be as familiar with P&P, but are looking for a witchy, regency read.
This one wound up being far more enjoyable than I thought in the beginning. Definitely try to stick it out to at least 30%, and it starts to pick up from there! I adored the relationship of Lydia and Kitty and found the story to be quite fun and weird. This definitely paints Lydia in a far more flattering light, which was nice to see.
I love Pride and Prejudice as well as witches and witch lore, so this story was a well executed mash up of these. I feel that the author did a good job of pairing these concepts and building this world. I liked the characters. There were times were the story flow seemed to ebb a bit and the pacing lagged, but it was a good story overall and one I would recommend to others to read.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I received this arc on Netgalley for honest feedback.
This book was absolutely captivating. The characters are so well written, and you feel like you are part of their world while reading it. You can definitely tell the author researched well.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!
I love pride & prejudice and I am obsessed with witches so I was sold immediately on this fun re-imagining. It made me actually enjoy the character of Lydia Bennett!
It was good; I love the historical aspect mix with elements of magic. the world building was absolutely beautiful written.. I would recommend to anyone who loves historical and fantasy
Pride and Prejudice retelling but Lydia's story, and she's a witch 🧙♀️
I really enjoyed this! It was a very different spin on P&P, but honestly, it worked. It was a really creative story that provides a fun alternative to Lydia's beyond just being annoying and impulsive.
Lydia is a witch, Kitty is actually a cat, and Wickham is a demon, literally, haha. But it also stayed as true to P & P as it could while being fun and a little outrageous. It is an incredibly unique and hard to put down read. I really enjoyed how the author incorporated other characters into the witchiness and explained how the magic worked. I prefer this Lydia and Wickham 100% 😂.
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ recommend for those who enjoy P & P but are open to alternate realities and retelling. This was a really fun and surprising read!!
I’m not usually a big fan of attempts to add depth to awful characters and justify their awful actions (Gerwig’s Little Women being so clearly pro-Amy being one infuriating instance that comes to mind), nor of attempts to interject magic into well-known unmagical stories (a la My Lady Jane), but Melinda Taub’s Scandalous Confessions does both and does it so well that I have decided to accept it as my personal headcanon for the character of Lydia Bennet, in large part because it never excuses nor apologizes for her various sillinesses, cruelties, and vanities, nor changes any other characters in any way that would significantly alter a reasonable person’s interpretation of the original Pride and Prejudice (except maybe Wickham, but even he isn’t excused). I appreciate that Taub’s story goes on behind the scenes and beyond the final lines of Pride and Prejudice, exploring the possibility that Lydia would, indeed, come to regret her choices, and that any redemption she managed to earn would not be a smooth, straight path for her. Further, Taub’s historical research, carefully chosen language, and decision to tie in real moral and societal issues without making them feel unnecessary to the plot or like virtue signaling makes it very easy to immerse myself in Lydia’s memoir. I admit, though, what made me fall fast and hard for this book was Kitty, and I think most cat-loving readers would agree that Taub’s manner of giving her a chance to be more than an afterthought rounding out a recitation of the Misses Bennets was beautifully done.
I heartily recommend this book and look forward to owning a copy myself once it comes out in paperback.
This was a fun and wholly unique take on a Pride and Prejudice retelling told from the POV of Lydia, who in this version was not the sibling we all thought we loved to hate and in this version she has magic! One of my favorite spooky season historical fiction reads this year. I can't wait to read more from this new to me author! Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early digital copy in exchange for my honest review!