Thursday, September 17, 2015

"The Pursuit of Mary Bennet" by Pamela Mingle

Sigh.  It's entirely possible that this book suffered from me reading it right after reading two AMAZING books, Dear Enemy by Jean Webster and The Blue Castle by L. M. Montgomery.  However, I think that even if I hadn't just gloried in those two, I would still have found this book disappointing. 

This, obviously, is a Pride and Prejudice pastiche.  I have always pitied Mary Bennet, younger sister of Jane and Elizabeth, because she's socially awkward and doesn't fit in with the rest of her family.  So I was pretty excited to read a book about her getting her own happy ending.  And she does.  She falls in love with a man who returns her affections, and by the end, they are engaged to be married.  However, for the bulk of the book, Mary continually convinces herself that this man, Henry Walsh, could never love her because she was boring, unfashionable, plain, etc.  This grows tiresome.  Also, she becomes unhealthily attached to Lydia's new baby daughter for a while, which while believable, was uncomfortable to read about.  

Is this a bad book?  No.  But I didn't like it very well, alas.  My copy will very likely wind up in next year's Great Book Giveaway Bonanza, in hopes that someone else may enjoy it more than I did!

Particularly Good Bits:

Since Mr. Darcy married Lizzy, his manners in company had become easier, but he remained a formidable man.  Not a man to be denied (p. 52).

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for discussions of birth, mild sexual matter, and a few old-fashioned curse words.

9 comments:

  1. Yeah, I read this - didn't really like it either. I've decided to stay away from P&P sequels - they've never lived up to my expectations. :-P

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    1. The only one I've liked at all was Amanda Grange's Mr. Darcy's Diary. I've pretty well given up on them too.

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    2. And that wasn't a sequel! It was a retelling.

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    3. Oh yeah, sequels/prequels/retellings. It's all a bit the same. Spin-off's, I suppose, it the word. :-P

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    4. Pastiches, that's what they all are!

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  2. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy it. I thought it was sweet overall, but I also have been searching for books about Mary that would give her a better future than P&P left for her. And I also get that Austen sequels aren't for everyone! When all else fails, at least we can return to Austen's originals and all's right with the world, right? :)

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    1. Kara, that's why I read this one too -- I wanted a happy ending for Mary. And she did get one, I just didn't connect with the book well overall.

      I'm not against Austen pastiches, and I love Amanda Grange's so much I bought most of them. This one just didn't work for me as all. But I'm glad it did for some people because then if I put it in a giveaway, someone will want it!

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  3. I quite liked this one actually. It definitely wasn't perfect, but I liked the characterization of Mary and the insights into the lives of Elizabeth and Jane. Yes, Mary's attachment to Lydia's baby was a bit weird, I agree with that.

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    1. Birdie, everything with Jane and Elizabeth in it was great! I was so happy with how everyone ended up, actually, I just didn't dig it overall.

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