The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet: Bernie Su and Kate Rorick
Rating: 4/5 stars
I'm a big fan of tie-ins, continue-the-story and what-if books. They give you that extra glimpse behind the scenes, fill in the gaps the original material left to your imagination, and sometimes pose issues and points of view that you never considered.
So when I heard that there was a webseries about one of my favorite books, Pride and Prejudice, I jumped right on that train and rode it till it arrived at its destination last year. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was everything I wanted and more, and I still can't get enough (ALL THE STARS to that series!).
Which is why I pre-ordered the companion novel when it was first announced: The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet.
Lizzie's Diary can be read separate from the web series, but what I found most intriguing was that the Diary's ebook version linked directly to the videos, so that you could get the entire story by switching between book and videos. I didn't do that this time around: I simply read the diary straight through. So I know that it stands on its own very well. But for those new to the series, watching the videos as they read adds so much depth and detail to the story. It's as if Lizzie's Diary is actually in two parts: half online in her videos, and half in this little red book.
Whether or not you're a fan of the series, I'd recommend it. It's a fun read that I honestly couldn't put down until the last page was turned. It fills in so many gaps and provides a perspective and details that the videos did not. These are the things she couldn't talk about to the internet: the things she refused to even let herself think about sometimes. You get more details on Jane and Bing Lee's relationship, a closer look at Lizzie's thoughts at certain points, her dealings with Lydia, Wickham and Darcy. But I believe my favourite factor is that you get to see her parents: not as the costume theatre caricatures of the Diaries, but as real people with worries, foibles and strengths.
It is also only part one of a two book deal. No news yet on what the second book will involve. We'll just have to wait and see.
In the meantime, I'm going to be reading this book as it was meant to be read: by watching the video series in between chapters.