Five Minor Characters Who Deserve Their Own Books

Natasha Farrant
Category: Reading

Remember Lydia from Pride and Prejudice? The wild child who runs off to London and lives in sin with Mr Wickham until they're forced to marry? She doesn't get the screen time she really deserves, but Natasha Farrant's new book Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice is about to change all that. As part of Natasha's September blog tour (details at the foot of this post), we asked her which other minor characters she'd love to see given their own books.

One of the occupational hazards of writing a book like Lydia, in which a minor character comes to the fore determined to tell her own story, is that you start to read differently. I now read paying almost as much attention to minor protagonists as I do to main characters. What happened to that innkeeper/park attendant/key witness? Where did they go? What was their opinion on the mysterious guest/illicit rendez-vous/murder? Surely they deserve a voice?

Five characters from classic works of fiction I want to know more about are:

I think Jordan Baker’s hiding something. Possibly a body.

Mr Collins from Pride and Prejudice

Mr Collins, I feel, gets a raw deal (not least from my Lydia, who loathes him). Who exactly was his illiterate and miserly father? Why had he quarrelled with Mr Bennet? Does Mr Collins’s ghastly obsequiousness mask a fear of failure? And will he ever inherit Longbourn, or will Mrs Bennet secretly have him murdered (possibly by Wickham)?

Jordan Baker from The Great Gatsby

What do we really know about Jordan? She plays golf. She’s not very truthful. She’s athletic and independent and she’s going out with Nick Caraway, for goodness sake, a man I’ve never had any time for and a deeply unreliable narrator to boot. Why? I think she’s hiding something. Possibly a body (murdered by Wickham?).

Sonya Rostova in War and Peace

The long-suffering poor relative, in love with her cousin Nikolai, faithful, dependent and eventually spurned. Will she seek revenge on her rival, the Princess Maria? Is she really as meek as she seems or will burning jealousy cause her to commit some act of folly (like run away with Wickham)? (Enough already with the Wickham jokes! Ed.)

Is Sonya really as meek as she seems or will burning jealousy cause her to commit some act of folly (like run away with Wickham)?

Great Uncle Matthew from Ballet Shoes

Where does he go? What adventures did he have? His secret travelogue – there must be one – is surely a fascinating read. How many more rescued babies has he hidden round the world?

Boo Radley from To Kill a Mockingbird

Locked in his house, he watches the children play outside all summer. A gentle soul, he is moved to kill in order to protect them. One question: why?


Lydia: The Wild Girl of Pride and Prejudice is published by Chicken House books and is out now. Natasha's blog tour takes in the destinations below!

Details of Natasha Farrant's blog tour

Natasha Farrant

Natasha Farrant is the author of The Things We Did For Love and the Bluebell Gadsby series, as well as two novels for grown-ups. Her books have been nominated for the Branford Boase Award, the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian book prize and the Queen of Teen. The eldest of four siblings, she grew up in London, where she still lives with her husband, daughters and a large tortoiseshell cat. She can frequently be spotted wearing a hat, but has yet to don a bonnet.

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