Lady Knight's Reviews > The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough
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Jun 25, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, regency, adult, 19th-c, england-uk, on-my-shelf-book, 2010-tbr-pile-read, classics-retellings-extensions
Read in January, 2010

What an interesting book! There are plenty of "Pride and Prejudice" continuations out there, but this is the first I've read that took a completely new spin on the tale. More than just a spin, actually.... I think everyone who has ever fallen in love with the Elizabeth and Darcy characters wanted them, and expected them to live "happily ever after". McCullough clearly never had that vision though, since after twenty years of marriage Dary and Lizzie hate each other and while Bingley and Jane still care for one another, Charles has a mistress and has eight children with Jane and another handful by a Jamaican slave. This was quite a reality check for the fairytale love of "Pride and Prejudice"!

But the real focus of the book is on Mary Bennet and wow! What a great character she is! She is everything her sisters are not and yet is a combination of all of them. After Mrs. Bennet passes away in front of Mary, she decides that she can now finally have some freedom and wishes to publish a book on the plight of Britain's poor. Mr. Darcy (or Fitz as he's called) hates this idea and flatly tells her no. She counters him, overturns his will and does exactly as she pleases. Fitz is horrified because her actions might ruin his chance of becoming Prime Minister.

Through out the novel Mary gets into a multitude of scrapes, she finds love in the least likely place, and grows much more mature. I have to admit, I really like this Mary Bennet!

One of the highlights is easily the way McCullough writes and you can't help but be entranced! Just see if you can make through the scene where the four eldest Bennet girls are trying to bathe fifty filthy children without laughing! Very good read!
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