The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch
Grade : A

Melinda Taub already has the excellent Still Star-Crossed under her belt, so I’m not surprised this take on Pride and Prejudice is playful, well-written, and original. But The Scandalous Confessions of Lydia Bennet, Witch does a lot more – it makes you rethink Lydia as a character and adds new layers to Austen’s book’s characters and attitudes.

Lydia narrates her life story to the reader, and already things are not as typical as they might seem. Kitty Bennet, for one, is revealed to be a barn cat and Lydia’s familiar. Lydia enchants the animal into shapeshifting, then alters her family’s memories and Kit’s outward appearance so that they believe she was always a part of the family. Lydia thus learns she’s a witch early in life, but thankfully Aunt Phillips already knows of her trickery – and sets about acting as Lydia’s mentor in magic.

In time, Lydia comes to meet with other witch societies hidden under the genteel surface of Regency England, specifically The Order. As the Bennets come in contact with the Darcys, Lydia finds she must conceal her magical exploration as to not offend Fitzwilliam, Elizabeth’s potential suitor. When Lydia meets the wicked George Wickham, she thinks she’s found someone just as happy to flout social convention as she is. But George has some secrets up his sleeve that could separate Lydia and Kit – and Lydia from her magical abilities – for good. Lydia and Kit thus go on a search that will change them forever for better or for worse.

This is a knock-your-socks off good retelling/post-P&P novel. It takes a lot for me to sing the praises of yet another alternate history version of Pride and Prejudice, but this one definitely manages to create something new and different from Lydia. If you hate Austen’s final take on the character – for her flightiness and impulsiveness and lack of care – you will love her sparkly wit and fresh voice here. The central conceit of her social butterfly ways and playfulness shine through during the novel.

Kit is witty, playful and sarcastic – the most important companion in Lydia’s life. No one but Wickham rivals Kit for the first place in her heart. And Wickham is devilish – but harbors secret depths and feelings.

I liked the complexities of Wickham here, the way he and the women in The Order develop and change over time, and how ballroom politics and witchy politics collide (there’s a touching scene where the coven is called together to help one of their number’s social prospects with a magical spell that’s a nice example of sisterhood). There are magic battles, social battles and battles with evil to be won. Let Lydia Bennet be your guide. Her journals are not as naughty as they seem at first blush, but they will make you laugh, smile, cry and feel a shock of anger. This is a masterpiece and a treat for any Austen fan.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes

Grade: A

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : October 2, 2023

Publication Date: 10/2023

Recent Comments …

  1. I read Ulrich’s book several years ago,it was excellent. American Experience on PBS did an adaptation of the book, it…

Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at, follow her on Twitter at or contribute to her Patreon at or her Ko-Fi at
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