Saturday 27 August 2022

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham by MJ Stratton - Character Interview and Giveaway

Today I’m happy to be welcoming a new visitor to Babblings of a Bookworm with their debut novel. MJ Stratton has written an Austensque book which focusses on a character that not everybody is fond of; Mrs Lydia Wickham, née Bennet. I am not super-fond of Lydia due to her selfishness, but I also feel quite sorry for her. Her behaviour has so much that is due to her upbringing, and seems such a shame that a poor teenage decision would have such a lasting impact on her life. 

This means that I am pleased at the title of this book: The Redemption of Lydia Wickham as it sounds like Lydia is getting another chance. Let’s look at the blurb and then I will move on to bring you an exclusive interview – one with Mrs Wickham herself! There’s also an opportunity to win a copy of the book so you can find out more. Read on for details.

Book Cover: The Redemption of Lydia Wickham by MJ Stratton. Picture shows a young woman in period costume looking directly at the viewer
Book Description

I may not be the most book-learned girl in the country, but I would like to think that I am wiser than I was, and much less silly.

Lydia Wickham used to think herself rather clever, having caught a handsome man and being the first to marry of her sisters. Soon, however, she finds herself trapped in a marriage to a man who is not what she thought him to be. Her pride keeps her from revealing her plight to her sisters and family, suffering in silence for years.

Unexpectedly, Lydia is freed from her marriage and begins life away from her misery in Newcastle. The changes in her are apparent to most, but there are those that resist seeing her for who she is and not who she was. As Lydia seeks to reconcile the girl she was with the woman she has become, she reunites with her loved ones and makes many friends along the way. But will Lydia get what she always wanted? Will she have what her sisters have, that which she craves desperately? Will Lydia Wickham find love of her own?

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham is a full length novel centered on the idea that even a foolish 16 year old girl can grow up and become wiser.

Warning: this book contains brief, non-graphic mentions of spousal abuse and assault

* * *

Book Cover: The Redemption of Lydia Wickham by MJ Stratton. Picture shows a young woman in period costume looking directly at the viewer
Character Interview - Mrs Lydia Wickham

Mrs Lydia Wickham has kindly joined me for tea today, and I am hoping that she will tell me more about her story, The Redemption of Lydia Wickham which MJ Stratton has scribed.

Ceri: Mrs Wickham (or may I call you Lydia?), thank you so much for joining us today. As a young girl you made the decision to leave the Forsters in Brighton, and ran away with Mr Wickham. How did you come to make this decision?

Lydia: Oh, by all means, call me Lydia. I have grown to quite detest my surname, you know. As for my decision, I can tell you that I really did not put much thought into it. I was prone to making rash decisions that were not thought out when I was a girl. At the time, it all seemed terribly romantic.

Ceri: You were the first of your sisters to marry; how did you feel about this, particularly as you are the youngest?

Lydia: At the time, I was rather pleased with myself. Being the youngest meant being the last at everything. The last to enter a room, the last to come out in society. I am sure you understand what I am trying to say. To be the first at something for once was rather thrilling. I could finally lay claim to something none of my sisters had, even Jane, whom everyone thought would be the first to marry.

Ceri: When your sisters married they entered into a more fortunate financial situation than you. Did you mind the difference in your situation?

Lydia: I will admit to a small amount of jealousy, but that was only for a short while. I was focused more on surviving in those days. I thought of my family often, but most of those thoughts were of how I missed them. I never let on to them that I was envious in any way.

Ceri: Marriage to a soldier would have given you a very different day to day life from what you would have been used to as Miss Lydia Bennet. Did you find this change difficult?

Lydia: Oh yes! In the first days of my marriage, I fully expected things to continue on as they ever had. I expected a nice townhouse, an army of servants, and days spent doing whatever suited my fancy at the time. I was quickly disabused of that notion. My mother would be mortified to know that I learnt to cook, clean, and do all the things a domestic might do. 

Ceri: Settling in Newcastle moved you far away from your family, and I would think that you wouldn’t be able to see them very often. You were particularly close with your sister Kitty and your mother. Did you miss them, and did your relationships with your family members change?

Lydia: I missed my family dreadfully. Unfortunately, I was in a situation where I had to be less than honest about my situation. I purposely put distance between me and my family because maintaining the pretense that all was well was exhausting. Poor Kitty. I thought she would never forgive me for missing her wedding. I am ever so grateful she has. My mother is still cheerfully ignorant of my true situation in New Castle.

Ceri: Was married life all that you thought it would be?

Lydia: To Mr. Wickham? Heavens no! The man was a terror to live with. I think many people paint marriage with a ‘happily ever after’ brush and are quite ignorant that such an ending takes continuous work. When one partner does not want to work toward it, a marriage can be filled with uncertainty. Mine certainly was. 

Ceri: All our experiences shape us as people; how do you feel you have changed since your marriage, and what do you think has prompted those changes?

Lydia: I think anyone, given the right circumstances and inducement, can grow and change in positive ways. My experiences during my marriage to Mr. Wickham forced me to grow up rapidly. I received several shocks – rude awakenings, if you will, that pushed me in the right direction. I do not make rash decisions anymore; instead I weigh my choices carefully. I have found a love of gardening that I still indulge. I have other less fashionable pursuits that I enjoy as well. 

Ceri: Do you think any of your experiences have led to positive changes for you?

Lydia: I should hope so! I do not believe I am the empty-headed girl I was. I believe I have matured into a woman who knows what it is to suffer, and what it is to overcome those trials. 

Ceri: In what ways do you remain the same as you were when you were younger? Fifteen-year-old Lydia could be silly and selfish, but she was also full of fun, optimistic, confident and vivacious. Does any trace of her still linger? 

Lydia: I believe my stubbornness has stayed with me. Though I lacked confidence for a time, I feel that it has returned. Love will help that along! My optimism for the future is also at full force.

Ceri: If you could have your time all over again, would you do anything differently? What advice would you give to your younger self?

Lydia: That is a tough question. As we spoke of above, our life experiences shape us into who we are. The person I am now probably would have chosen differently, but had I chosen differently, would I be the person I am now? Perhaps I will never know. If I were able to give advice to my younger self, most notably the self before my elopement, I would tell that Lydia to think twice before rushing into marriage. 

Ceri: Thank you so much for joining us today and telling us more about your story. I am so pleased that you are in a more settled period in your life.

* * *

Book Cover: The Redemption of Lydia Wickham by MJ Stratton. Picture shows a young woman in period costume looking directly at the viewer
Full details of Mrs Wickham’s story are available in The Redemption of Mrs Wickham by MJ Stratton.

* * *

Buy Links 

The Redemption of Lydia Wickham is available to pre-order for Kindle. It’s due out on 1 September 2022.  

Amazon USAmazon UK Amazon CA • Add to Goodreads shelf


 Giveaway Time

MJ Stratton is giving away 3 kindle copies of The Redemption of Lydia Wickham to accompany the blog tour To enter, please use the linked Rafflecopter


Note about comments:  If you have any problems adding your comment please contact me and I will add your comment for you :)

* * * 

If you don’t want to miss any of my future posts, please subscribe

Subscribe to Babblings of a Bookworm

If you'd like to be friends on Goodreads then please invite me - just say that you visit my blog when it asks why you'd like to be friends with me.





  1. Should be an enjoyable story showing Lydia finally growing up

    1. I think this is such an interesting idea for a book, I'd love to see how life's experiences might change Lydia, hopefully for the better.

  2. Thanks, Ceri for hosting. Do Over! How many of us have wished for a do over? What would I say to my 15-year-old self? Goodness! I was a silly, foolish girl just like Lydia. The only difference, I was the oldest. I didn't have to put up with older sisters. I had younger brothers.

    Although Lydia is not my favorite JAFF character, I do enjoy a good redemption story. I look forward to reading this. Thanks to MJ for sharing this story with us. Congratulations on the launch. I wish you all manner of success. Special thanks to the publisher for the generous giveaway. Good luck to all in the drawing.

    1. Lydia is not my favourite either, due to her selfishness, but I agree with you, I am glad nothing that I did at fifteen was held against me for the rest of my life. I didn't elope with somebody twice my age, to be fair, but at that age you still have a lot of maturing to do.

  3. Great interview. Lydia sounds sensible for once.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post. I know how much certain experiences changed me and I am sure it would have been the same for Lydia. I would love to think she could have a second chance to set her life on a good path.

  4. Thank you for sharing this, very compelling words from Lydia Bennet Wickham. Thank you for the chance to win a copy


If you're not logged in to Google please leave your name in your comment or it will post as anonymous. Thanks! - Ceri