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She deploys her wit with surgical strikes. That is what makes her such an enduring delight to engage with, but it also serves another function, Jones argues. The modern Marian resurgence suggests not so much the death of the author as the reincarnation: People are finding value in Mary even if Austen, on the whole, did not. I choose to say she did not. She is lonely. She is— oooooof again—simply there. Yes, Jane is sweet, and yes, Lizzy is self-confident, and yes, Kitty … is probably good at embroidery, or something? In the end, though, how many times have you felt what it feels to be Mary—desperate to be heard, to be seen, to be not-ignored?

How many times have you tried your best, only to be bested by someone else? Someone, ugh, who barely even tried? How many times have you been lonely, and petty, and indignant, and misunderstood? How many times have you wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how? The current Mary moment—all those resurrections and re-imaginings—tends to take that core relatability and amplify it.

Authors who are not Austen, though, tend to focus on the liberation Mary experiences after she is freed of her family. Once freed, Mary often exhibits the same kind of vivacity and verve that made Elizabeth such a beloved character. They decide, as the victors in battles of everyday banality, who will be acknowledged, and who will not. View all 3 comments.


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May 14, Wealhtheow rated it did not like it Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Tamara. This novels picks up Mary Bennet's story several years after the end of [Pride and Prejudice]. A lot has changed since then, very little for the better. Romantic Kitty is glad her husband is dead and thinks only of her clothes; funny Lizzie has no life and no interests and doesn't understand her young children; Jane constantly weeps; Darcy bribes and outright physically forces the Bennet sisters from seeing their mother until she's dead, hates his children especially his son who is kind and gen This novels picks up Mary Bennet's story several years after the end of [Pride and Prejudice].

Romantic Kitty is glad her husband is dead and thinks only of her clothes; funny Lizzie has no life and no interests and doesn't understand her young children; Jane constantly weeps; Darcy bribes and outright physically forces the Bennet sisters from seeing their mother until she's dead, hates his children especially his son who is kind and gentle so Darcy thinks he's gay, and further thinks this is the worst thing ever , and wishes he'd never married Lizzie; Colonel Fitzwilliam murdered Anne de Burgh?!

Random Musings of a Janeite

The only character who seems to have improved over the years is Mary, who has become a purple-eyed beauty with strong feminist, anti-classist, anti-racist opinions. I found these developments to be so improbable that I gave up on the book midway through, which means I missed out on even more fantastic plots such as Darcy revealing himself to have a half-black bastard brother that he uses as his henchman to carry out diabolical schemes, Mary writing a book about the plight of the poor so touching that it changes all of England, and Mary getting kidnapped by cultists.

If this were a regency romance without links to Pride and Prejudice, I might have been able to enjoy it. But as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice it is so mean-spirited, so completely at odds with the original work in both tone and characterization, that it absolutely did not work for me. Oct 26, Sally rated it liked it. This book is fun to read, but it certainly isn't Jane Austen.

KIRKUS REVIEW

McCullough is definitely better at writing plot than at creating nuanced characters who grow and develop realistically. I would recommend this book for a day at the beach, or in my case a day off the beach while freezing rain whipped around my house and kept me inside! Jan 04, Laurel rated it it was ok Shelves: austen-inspired , austen-sequel , austenesque , historical-fiction , georgian-era , regency-era-fiction , fiction.

A wild irreverent ride that will more than surprise Austen fans! I am confident that she will have no problem agreeing with me since she admitted that her motivation in writing a sequel to Pride and Prejudice was to stick it to the literati. Since it is doubtful that the good men and women of the arts and letters will read this novel, she is A wild irreverent ride that will more than surprise Austen fans! If by some slim chance you are reading this Ms.

McCullough, you have far exceeded your objective and should be quite pleased with yourself. I am a Jane Austen fan, and I am not amused. What about Mary? I had secretly adored Mary, the middle Bennet daughter who only had eight passages of dialogue in the original novel, but made a lasting impact with her pious pontifications and deafeningly out of tune song stylings.

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There’s Something About Mary Bennet

Her older sisters may have been mortified by her exhibitions, but I just laughed out loud and wished for more. Well Janeites, be very careful what you wish for, cuz it could very well land at your local bookstore. In which Mary gets a makeover! You can blame it all of the Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Many people over the years have credited it for the ignition of Austenmania, fueling many movies and a cottage industry of sequel writers. Inspired to give Mary a new chance, McCullough starts the story seventeen years after the close of Pride and Prejudice with the death of Mrs.

Bennet freeing Mary from her role as parental caretaker. Bookish, pious and socially awkward Mary gets a makeover, a social cause, and a romantic adventure.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

In which Mary is emancipated, gets ideas, and into trouble! So, Mary is now thirty eight years old, unmarried, gets a makeover and is quite attractive. Freed from her daughterly duties of caretaker and police woman to Mrs. Bennet, the new and improved Mary Bennet has independent plans for her life that do not meet the approval of her dictorial brother-in-law Fitzwilliam Darcy.

The Immortal Collection A Saga of the Ancient Family

Inspired by the writing in the newspaper of a social activist, she is determined to write a book about the plight of the poor and sets off on an adventure of discovery to research the conditions of the working classes in Northern England. Yes, a religious cult! In which we witness the defamation of beloved characters! Not everything for all four other Bennet daughters has improved as agreeably over the years.

Only Kitty unexpectedly hits pay dirt and marries an elderly peer who promptly dies and leaves her a pile of dough and social clout. Since her story is too happy, we do not hear much of her. Ambitious, scheming and underhanded, this Darcy has gone Gothic villain on us and it is not pretty. This caustic rendering of Darcy alone will catapult many a book across living rooms and bedrooms across America. In which dubious, dastardly and devious characters dapple the plot!

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

They are two positive allies for Mary and her cause of independence and come to her aid more than once. Other daunting characters that make Charles Dickens imaginings look lighthearted are a woman beating cutthroat Highwayman named Captain Thunder and a cave dwelling body snatching religious cultist Father Dominus. Could this cavalcade of characters possibly be any father from the witty, honorable, and propitious populous penned by the gently reproving Jane Austen?

In which a wild ride screeches to a hault!


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Even though I did not agree with the direction that McCullough chose to take her sequel, her skill at story telling is amazing and a galaxy beyond fan fiction with flair. Her dialogue is crisp and succinct, her historical references well researched, and her descriptions of late Georgian life accurate and realistic.

With so much talent and international renown, one wonders out loud whatever was she thinking? If you can get past the first three chapters and totally suspend your disbelief, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet is a wild ride that screeches to a halt with one repugnant last line which I leave readers to experience for themselves. Laurel Ann, Austenprose View 1 comment. Mar 13, Melissa rated it liked it Recommends it for: "Fanfiction" Fanatics.