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Publisher's Summary

My life has been very much like an unfinished painting. The artist comes to the portrait, day after day, to splash daubs of color onto bare canvas, filling in the blanks of my story. Thus grows the likeness, imperfect as it may be, which you see today.” (Lydia Fitzwilliam, Countess of Matlock, in letter to her sister Elizabeth Bennet Darcy, March 14, 1831)

Does it matter how a man fills out his regimentals? Miss Austen never considered that query. Yet, this question marks the beginning of an education - and the longest life - in the Bennet Wardrobe saga.

Lydia Bennet, Longbourn’s most wayward daughter, embarks on her quest in The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion. This biography reveals how the Wardrobe helps young Mrs. Wickham learn that honor and bravery grow not from the color of the uniform - or the gender of its wearer - but rather from the contents of the heart.

In the process, she realizes that she must be broken and repaired, as if by a kintsugi master potter, to become the most useful player in the Bennet Wardrobe’s great drama.

The Pilgrim explores questions of love, loss, pain, worry, and perseverance. All of these are brought to bear as one of the silliest girls in England grows into the Dowager Countess. This novel is the seventh and next-to-last volume in the Bennet Wardrobe series. Each book along the way has revealed more about how the mysterious Wardrobe has led Miss Austen’s Bennets to learn that which they need in order to take part in its ultimate mission.

Praise for the book:

“Multifaceted and nuanced, The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier’s Portion speaks to the verities of life. Once again, Don Jacobson has combined the essence of Pride and Prejudice with an esoteric storyline and the universal themes of redemption and forgiveness in this well-crafted narrative.” (Mirta Ines Trupp, author of The Meyersons of Meryton)

©2019 Donald Whitfield Jacobson (P)2020 Donald Whitfield Jacobson

What listeners say about The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion

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  • Overall
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Lydia's Story of Heartbreak, Growth, and More

So firstly let me start with a warning: this is a dense story packed with so much! Not a bad thing, but definitely not a light read.

I find sometimes when a story is too emotional that I take longer to get through it, and have to allow myself time to reset. This book needed two breaks to allow me to be able to continue, but definitely worth the dedication.

Lydia is such a complex and constantly evolving character in this story. She is a surprise, with a life that is only hinted at in previous books in this series.

As always, make sure you read the stories in the proper order. And definitely give the audiobook a listen as the narration is wonderful!

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Most intriguing

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

The life and death stories of Lydia Bennet. The same woman whom Jane Austen created, and all her readers saw, for the spoiled, unchecked girl she is. Don has certainly done his work in turning a flippant young girl into a respectable woman. I do feel that it is very fitting that all the men Lydia loves are soldiers. Somehow that just seems right. This Wardrobe is mysterious and adds a depth of character definition that I don’t believe you could achieve in another manner.
I was very skeptical about this book as I love the pride and prejudice original beyond words. Of course I had no idea that there were other books before this one in the series.
This by itself could be a stand alone book. I’m sure there are more details about the wardrobe in the previous books but Don does well in redefining what it is and how it works.
Amanda does an amazing job bringing this story to life. Her voices sound much as you would imagine for each character. Truly enjoyable.

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So very heartbreaking!

This is such a wonderful book. So very moving. It is incredible how much pain Lydia endured especially in her younger years with very small intervals of happiness until I assume her marriage to the General. I say assume because not much is said regarding that marriage in this book. I could not stop crying almost throughout this book.

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Lydia's Hard Fought Path to Womanhood Superb!

From the first book, the youngest Bennet sister has been sparkling in the shadows and readying to plunge into the open of center stage for her story- a story of a young girl who made youthful mistakes, but time and circumstances put the heroine through a refining fire to forge her into a strong, capable woman who loved and lost more than once. I gladly took up my ear buds and listened to the delectable voice of Amanda Berry tell me the story I was long anticipating.

The Pilgrim: Lydia Bennet and a Soldier's Portion is the seventh of the Bennet Wardrobe series which is interwoven tightly and must be read in order.

The Pilgrim begins with Lydia's life after running off and marrying the rakish George Wickham. Both Lydia and George have changed for the better when he was sent into the active military to fight Napoleon and learned to act like a man to be counted on from the good men surrounding him. Lydia, too, has been maturing into a worthy woman so that when they come back together, they are ready to make good on their past mistakes and forge ahead into the future. George's future takes him back into the fiery battle of Waterloo and Lydia's future as a Bennet connected to the magical Wardrobe finds her future path strewn with surprising and often times tragic adventures. She crumbles under the weight of it, but is not crushed. The Wardrobe is preparing her in its way as are the people and circumstances it puts in her path between Regency England, WWII France, and back. What brought her from a flitting selfish girl of a small English town to become the powerful and wise Countess?

When reading Pride and Prejudice, Lydia Bennet is a character that I can appreciate as a nuisance and then I just pitied her for her final fate. After all, she made a youthful, albeit huge mistake, and she'll pay for it for a long time. So, I was well pleased to see that in this magical time traveling Wardrobe universe, this Lydia gets a reset. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy. In fact, her story is quite a doozy- tissue warning for you emotional readers/listeners like myself. But, beyond this second chance, I found I really liked and admired this young woman. She knows she screwed up and that others aren't going to buy her about face all at once- it takes action not just words. So, she bucks up and listens and learns from her sisters and friends- even her parents- like she never did before.

Beyond Lydia's transformation, there is a fabulous universe the author created that includes a magical and mysterious time traveling Wardrobe that will take the members of the Bennet family where they are needed most. In this one, Lydia's journey took her to WWII Occupied France where she is truly tested. Nazis, French Resistance, and a surprise await her. But, most of all, she gets the chance to reconnect with her beloved sister, Kitty, whom she thought was lost to her. Kitty has taught herself much about the Wardrobe and with each book more has been revealed about how it works.

Outside of the time travel element, the author does a fabulous job of historical setting both Regency and WWII. It was fun to spot real life figures and events, literary figures cameo-ing, and the attention to how the characters would behave and speak at the time. Even with the time travel, it was neat to see characters true to what they knew. Lydia enjoyed the changes that were allowed to her sex by the 1940's, but some things were really shocking like getting to wear trousers or ladies smoking and drinking in mixed company.

Lydia gets to experience romance in several ways throughout her colorful life. I don't want to spoiler the story so I won't go into this element, but for all the romance readers- you will get your fill. You will also get to feel deeply.

Amanda Berry is the fabulous series narrator and, as with past entries in the series, she was masterful at delivering the storyline, enacting each of the large cast so that each was unique no matter their gender, age, class, or nationality. It is a tricky job and she does it so well. I get caught up each time I listened and didn't want to pause even when I must.

In summary, the series stays strong and I was oh so well pleased with Lydia's story. I saw a few hints as to what is to come next and I'm eager to see how that teases out. It is a complex series and a large cast of characters at this point, but I love it. Those who enjoy a unique style of time travel romance with a fair share of intrigue and worldbuilding should definitely give this series a go.