Yesterday I reviewed Longbourn by Jo Baker, which is a sort of Pride & Prejudice
spin-off that gives us a glimpse into the downstairs world of the
Bennet estate. That book highlighted how Jane Austen's work has
withstood the test of time. Centuries after her death, authors are still
inspired by her characters and readers just can't seem to get enough
It seems I'm on a P&P bender because when Pamela Mingle's The Pursuit of Mary Bennet arrived on my doorstep last week, I couldn't wait to start reading. I'm only about a hundred pages in and the novel won't be available in bookstores until November, but I'm excited to share my early thoughts with you.
It's been three years since Lydia, Jane, and Elizabeth Bennet married and moved away from Longbourn. Left at home with Kitty, Mary has begun to mature into a well-read, although socially naive, young lady. But lacking self-confidence and filled with resentment, she still struggles to find her place in the Bennet family and in the world. In The Pursuit of Mary Bennet, she takes center stage and tells her own story.
. . . . Why was I loitering outside the upstairs sitting room, eavesdropping on a conversation between my parents? Especially since it aroused such ire in me. That couldn't be healthy. I leaned in closer.—The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle (HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2013, p. 1; uncorrected proof)
"To see all my girls but one settled. Such joy!" Mama said.
"Is Kitty engaged, then?" my father asked.
"She soon will be, mark my words. We will have another wedding by Michaelmas."
- Setting: three years after Jane and Lizzy Bennet marry; action takes place (so far) at Longbourn (the Bennet estate), Pemberley (the Darcy estate), and High Tor (the Bingley estate)
- Circumstances: Lydia Bennet Wickham is once again on the verge of disgracing her family, so Mary and Kitty are whisked off to stay with Jane until any hint of scandal dies down
- Characters: Jane and Bingley, Lydia and Wickham, Lizzy and Darcy, Mary, Kitty, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, a new love interest, children, and various minor characters—both new and familiar
- Genre: historical fiction; Pride & Prejudice spin-off
- Miscellaneous: told from Mary's viewpoint; much of the dialogue has a very Austen feel to it and the characters seem familiar, if more mature
- Major questions so far: will Mary finally find happiness; will Lydia ever settle down; is Kitty really about to be engaged; are Jane's and Elizabeth's marriages still happy; will Mrs. Bennet ever stop meddling
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).