Grace Gibson’s novella, Reckless, Headstrong Girl was released today, Friday, January 29th, and it is available on Amazon. It is the fourth in the “Skirmish & Scandal” Series of novellas published by Meryton Press. The premise for this novella is quite different from anything I have previously read. It is touching, intriguing, and satisfying. Would you like to learn more about it? Let’s look at the back cover copy first; then we will visit with Grace.
Back Cover Copy
A scandalous flight, an inconsiderate couple—
how can things have gone so terribly wrong for Lydia Bennet?
In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Lydia Bennet runs away from Brighton with George Wickham, but this adaptation of Lydia’s adventures is not your typical story about this brash couple.
Mr. Wickham, proving he is no gentleman, does the unthinkable and casts Lydia out of a second-rate coach. Filthy, exhausted, and penniless, Lydia is just facing the beginning of her ordeal! How can a spoiled, uneducated girl of fifteen—used to having her way—survive a night in the wilds of Sussex?
As Mr. Bennet and Mr. Gardiner vainly search for her in London, Lydia’s sisters struggle to keep her secret from their Meryton neighbors. Though they fear the worst—that Lydia’s wild life has ended in tragedy—all hope is not lost. Mr. Darcy, in the midst of reigniting his courtship with Elizabeth, is determined to recover his love’s unfortunate sibling.
Will Mr. Darcy succeed in finding Lydia and restoring her to respectability? In what shocking condition will this catastrophe render such a reckless, headstrong girl?
Grace Gibson, it sounds like this novella gives us a skirmish and a scandal. Will you tell us more?
From the Author
For some of us who read—and write— Pride and Prejudice variations, Lydia Bennet is a tiresome obstacle. Reckless, silly, and selfish, she threatens the happiness of Darcy and Elizabeth in countless retellings. And although we must concede that without Lydia’s scandalous elopement, Jane Austen’s masterpiece would not have been quite so perfect, we do not always feel inclined to put up with her in our retellings.
I am always curious to discover how other authors navigate The Lydia Problem. I confess relief when, at the hands of an author who is just as tired of her as I am, Lydia Bennet is never born, or she dies unexpectedly—conveniently and early on—so that Darcy and Elizabeth can get on with their love affair. In my own private doodles, I twice married her off to harsh and unreliable husbands. I sent her to school to get her out of the way, and I made her so ill she couldn’t come out of her room. And once, though I am not proud of it, I had her murdered.
But the dratted girl is persistent—headstrong one might say—and she came back to life. One day, as I pondered the Lydia problem, I pictured her actually eloping with Wickham. There she sat in the coach, preening and jabbering in triumph, and I felt certain George Wickham had not brought sufficient brandy with him for such an ordeal. This is what I saw and heard:
“Can we not go any faster, Wicky?”
“It is dark, my dear.”
“And where shall we stop for the night? Oh, how much fun it will be to hear you tell the inn keeper that I am Mrs. George Wickham!”
“I doubt I shall say so.”
“Not say so?! But why will you not? I may as well be Mrs. Wickham, you know. Mrs. Wickham! How well that sounds! And how jealous my sisters will be. Lizzy will turn green, fly up to her room, lie down and weep, and demand a cold cloth for her head. But what will I wear? Mama always says the wedding clothes are the most important thing. Wicky, I must have wedding clothes.”
He took a swig from his flask and lit a cheroot.
“And where should we marry? I suppose we shall have to go to Gretna Green. I doubt the blacksmith will have seen a prettier girl than me this whole year. La! Is there anything more romantic? Scotland must be very cold even in summer. Oh dear. I wish I had brought my pelisse. But you can buy me one in London, can you not? Will it take very long, do you think? I mean, I have never heard how long it takes to elope…” Lydia Bennet was a voluble girl, and she unleashed her bouncing high spirits in a torrent of words.
George Wickham, who had taken her on a whim, began to wonder what the devil he had been thinking.
I had never wanted to write about Lydia Bennet, but suddenly I became intensely curious about what would happen to the girl if she were faced with a real challenge. This story was born of that curiosity, and for all of you who dread reading about this problem child, I will only say – she surprised me!
Your story about Lydia surprised me! I enjoyed reading it and feeling it with her. I believe your curiosity paid off, and you gave her a challenge.
The novella, Reckless, Headstrong Girl, may be purchased on Amazon US and Amazon UK. It is available as an eBook, a Paperback, and through Kindle Unlimited. The audiobook, narrated by Stevie Zimmerman, should be released in about a month.
Would you like a chance to win the novella? Grace Gibson is giving away two eBooks of Reckless, Headstrong Girl. Two lucky readers will each get one eBook, and the giveaway is international. Meryton Press is also giving away an eBook of Grace’s novella. That makes a total of three eBooks being given away, two from the author and one form Meryton Press. Share your thoughts in the comment section to enter.
Remember, only comments here, on the Meryton Press Blog for this post, Reckless, Headstrong Girl, will be entered in the giveaway.
Both giveaways will end Tuesday, February 2nd, at midnight, Central Time. Good luck to everyone!