08 October 2013

Today's Read: The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela MingleYesterday 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.

"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."
The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle (HarperCollins / William Morrow, 2013, p. 1; uncorrected proof)

Quick Facts
  • 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
ISBN-13: 9780062274243
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


Sandy Nawrot 10/8/13, 6:47 AM  

I have never read any of the spin-offs, although it is tempting. I almost feel like I need to read all the originals first!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 10/8/13, 6:48 AM  

It's not an intro or title that appeals to me, but I hope you end up enjoying it.

Love Africa Book Club 10/8/13, 7:30 AM  

Interesting teaser. The book looks good.

I’m reading 2 books this week. So here are mine:


Anonymous,  10/8/13, 7:38 AM  

Although I can't help but think "Don't mess with the best!", I DO have Longbourn sitting in my TBR stack... depending on how I like that, I might just give this one a go as well. Will look forward to your review.

Kim@Time2Read 10/8/13, 7:39 AM  

I probably should read Pride and Prejudice some day! The teaser is a good one.
Here's my teaser....

rhapsodyinbooks 10/8/13, 8:16 AM  

I got burned out on spinoffs, except for the dystopia/sci fi versions - at least they add a significantly different twist to keep my interest up!

Anonymous,  10/8/13, 8:52 AM  

I haven't read Pride and Prejudice, but I can see where fans of Austen would be excited to know what happens to Mary. Keep reading and enjoy it!

bermudaonion 10/8/13, 9:21 AM  

You do seem to be on a spin-off kick! I've tried a couple and didn't love them. My mom does, though.

Laurel-Rain Snow 10/8/13, 9:28 AM  

I haven't read any of the spin-offs, but they are definitely intriguing...thanks for sharing.


Udita Banerjee 10/8/13, 11:12 AM  

Must go back to P&P again, can't believe it's been 10 years since I had to read it in school!

Sandra Nachlinger 10/8/13, 11:29 AM  

I love historical fiction so thanks for bringing this book to my attention. I'll put it on my "must read" list.
My Teaser is from AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.

Alice Audrey 10/8/13, 11:43 AM  

Funny thing; my dh and I were talking about Jane Austin and various spin offs just yesterday. This is intriguing.

Great teaser. Please check out my teaser.

Literary Feline 10/8/13, 11:44 AM  

Entertainment Weekly did a piece last week on Jane Austen's books turned into movies. :-)

I haven't read any of the Austen spin-offs, I confess, but several have been in my radar for awhile now. Maybe someday.

The intro you've shared certainly sounds good. I'd keep reading.

kayerj 10/8/13, 11:52 AM  

sounds like a fun Pride and Prejudice spin off. Enjoy. Kelley at the road goes ever ever on

Heather 10/8/13, 12:28 PM  

I haven't read any of the spin-offs, either, though some intrigue me more than others. Glad you are enjoying this one! My teaser: Saint’s Gate

Margot 10/8/13, 12:35 PM  

Now this is a spin-off I'd like to try. That first paragraph sounds like it's in Austen's own words.

Yvonne 10/8/13, 1:45 PM  

I'm always intrigued by the Austen spin-offs, so this sounds good to me.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian 10/8/13, 1:53 PM  

I like the sound of this one! I couldn't agree more about Jane Austen's characters standing the test of time.

Thanks for visiting my Tuesday post.

Beth 10/8/13, 2:10 PM  

I like the sound of it! Here is my teaser for this week.

Belle Wong 10/8/13, 3:16 PM  

I haven't read any P&P spinoffs yet. I keep wanting to do a reread of P&P, though!

(Diane) bookchickdi 10/8/13, 3:26 PM  

Oh no, another book to add to the TBR. I'm gonna need a bigger boat.

Anonymous,  10/8/13, 4:21 PM  

I'm at the end of this book now, and enjoyed it.


Unknown 10/8/13, 4:54 PM  

This sounds like a spin-off worth reading. There are so many P7P influenced books and not all interest me. But this one has the right setting, the intrigue and fun and all the characters...
I hope you enjoy it. I'm putting this one on my wishlist and will certainly check it out, Thanks!

Pooch 10/8/13, 7:08 PM  

It seems that Austen fans have plenty of follow-up stories to feed interest. Enjoy your book!


Col (Col Reads) 10/8/13, 8:15 PM  

I absolutely love the idea of a book devoted to Mary. I can't wait to read this one!

Nise' 10/8/13, 9:55 PM  

I enjoy spin offs.

kayerj 10/12/13, 2:04 AM  

this book sounds like a really fun read.

Molly 10/18/13, 9:45 AM  

I am in awe of authors who to can transform a rather minor character from one novel into the main character of another. I would love to read how this author manages this challenging task.

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