The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet (a review)

bennet

What can be said about a book that has nothing to recommend it? The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet cannot boast of being well-written, well-researched, or well-plotted. Despite the association of Austen and her Pride and Prejudice characters, never mind the ample name-recognition of its author, this novel should not have seen the light of day.

Working with a promising premise – the later life of middle sister Mary Bennet – Colleen McCullough sends her from one prison (a twenty-year sentence as companion to Mrs Bennet) to yet another, more literal prison as the underground captive of a religious zealot named Father Dominus. This is “independence”?  Continue reading

Another Austen sequel

In some random searching today I discovered that come December, there will be yet another Austen sequel in the mix.   Titled The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet: a Novel, the book is by Colleen McCullough of Thorn Birds fame and will be published by Simon & Schuster.  You can pre-order it at Amazon.  [note that it will be published in Australia in early October by HarperCollins…read their synopsis and pre-order here.]

Lizzy Bennet married Mr Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr Bingley – but what became of the middle daughter, Mary? Discover what came next in the lives and loves of Jane Austen’s much loved Bennet family in this Pride and Prejudice spin-off from an international bestselling author Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, twenty years on, Jane has a happy marriage and large family; Lizzy and Mr Darcy now have a formidable social reputation; Lydia has a reputation of quite another kind; Kitty is much in demand in London’s parlours and ballrooms; but what of Mary? Mary is quietly celebrating her independence, having nursed her ailing mother for many years. She decides to write a book to bring the plight of the poor to everyone’s attention. But with more resolve than experience, as she sets out to travel around the country, it’s not only her family who are concerned about her. Marriage may be far from her mind, but what if she were to meet the one man whose own fiery articles infuriate the politicians and industrialists? And if when she starts to ask similar questions, she unwittingly places herself in great danger?
[quote from Fantastic Fiction]