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Everyone knows the story of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. But what about their sister Mary? At the conclusion of Jane Austen's classic novel, Mary, bookish, awkward, and by all accounts, unmarriageable, is sentenced to a dull, provincial existence in the backwaters of Britain. Now, master storyteller Colleen McCullough rescues Mary from her dreary fate with The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, a page-turning sequel set twenty years after Austen's novel closes. The story begins as the neglected Bennet sister is released from the stultifying duty of caring for her insufferable mother. Though many would call a woman of Mary's age a spinster, she has blossomed into a beauty to rival that of her famed sisters. Her violet eyes and perfect figure bewitch the eligible men in the neighborhood, but though her family urges her to marry, romance and frippery hold no attraction. Instead, she is determined to set off on an adventure of her own. Fired with zeal by the newspaper letters of the mysterious Argus, she resolves to publish a book about the plight of England's poor. Plunging from one predicament into another, Mary finds herself stumbling closer to long-buried secrets, unanticipated dangers, and unlooked-for romance.

Meanwhile, the other dearly loved characters of Pride and Prejudice fret about the missing Mary while they contend with difficulties of their own. Darcy's political ambitions consume his ardor, and he bothers with Elizabeth only when the impropriety of her family seems to threaten his career. Lydia, wild and charming as ever, drinks and philanders her way into dire straits; Kitty, a young widow of means, occupies herself with gossip and shopping; and Jane, naïve and trusting as ever, spends her days ministering to her crop of boys and her adoring, if not entirely faithful, husband. Yet, with the shadowy and mysterious figure of DarcyÕs right-hand man, Ned Skinner, lurking at every corner, it is clear that all is not what it seems at idyllic Pemberley. As the many threads of McCulloughÕs masterful plot come together, shocking truths are revealed, love, both old and new, is tested, and all learn the value of true independence in a novel for every woman who has wanted to leave her mark on the world.
Published: Simon & Schuster on
ISBN: 9781416596790
List price: $7.99
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I picked up this book since it had an interesting premise. After 'happily ever after' ending of 'Pride and Prejudice' , this book picked up from there and traced not only the marriage of Elizabeth Darcy but also how third sister Mary Bennet chose to live her life.

The book's only redeeming feature is that Mary Bennett has some spunk. However, it was a let down in terms of both narrative, style and plot. This book not only lacks memorable quotable sentences of 'Pride and Prejudice', also does't produce any interesting or humorous conversation. [Only conversation that I can recall was close to being humorous was one proposal by a gentleman to Mary that was turned down.:]

For most of book, narrative is dark, including those of its characters such as Mr. Darcy. Miss Bingley is still hated but her character hardly receives any life. Elizabeth Darcy unhappy in her marriage, Jane is limned to be whiny and Lydia is painted to be little short of harlot. Only Mary Bennett's character shines through and seems well-developed. Other mentionable characters are Charles Darcy (Son of Mr. Darcy), Ned Skinner (Darcy's loyal manager), Angus Sinclair (Friend of Darcy) and Owen-Georgie (Probable lead pair in a sequel. No, I don't want it more than you.)

There is really no chemistry, such as one that of Elizabeth-Darcy alliance in Pride and Prejudice which you rooted for. So, with lack of entertainment in the plot and narrative, the language which is understandably archaic and strait-jacketed keeping the period in mind, was a huge deterrent.

Yet, despite its dark plot, the book had a happily-ever-after-again end. There, I gave you a spoiler, but then you knew it already.more
Not the greatest novel written but a reasonable read. A large fantastical middle section, a predictable end and the usual list of Austen characters - though some surprises there. I managed to the end but only because it was an easy read. Not much to do with Mary Bennet - despite the title.more
Not the greatest novel written but a reasonable read. A large fantastical middle section, a predictable end and the usual list of Austen characters - though some surprises there. I managed to the end but only because it was an easy read. Not much to do with Mary Bennet - despite the title.more
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books so I was sorely tempted by this sequel written by Colleen McCulloch that focuses on Mary Bennet. However, McCulloch is no Jane Austen. Whllst the story was quite interesting (if a bit far-fetched in places) it couldn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice in terms of wit and elegance of language.more
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books so I was sorely tempted by this sequel written by Colleen McCulloch that focuses on Mary Bennet. However, McCulloch is no Jane Austen. Whllst the story was quite interesting (if a bit far-fetched in places) it couldn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice in terms of wit and elegance of language.more
This book is not the most popular of Pride and Prejudice sequels. Darcy and Elizabeth do not spend 99% of their time having sex, and he does not cater to her hand and foot all the days of their lives.*shrugs* Sorry. Those things don't happen in reality. McCullough had the gumption to write something that could have.I DO think that Darcy's buttheadedness WAS a little extreme on two points:1. Caroline Bingley. Obviously she isn't his favorite person, and I think I am correct in saying that he knows she is full of it. But yet he believes the horrible things she says about his son? I don't know about that one. You find out a few things about Darcy's own father towards the end of the story, and I suppose those things could have clouded Darcy's parenting skills. But, I wasn't wholly satisfied on that point.2. That leads to my second point: the way he treats all his children in general. All but wholly dismissing them from his presence...and not treating them very well at all when they were around. Not cool. One of Darcy's best qualities in P&P was the way he doted on his sister, and I cannot see him being so beastly to his daughters. (and for no real reason!) Speaking of, his sister was only mentioned in this story, I think in reality they would have had much more contact with each other then this book suggests.My third gripe of the story is with Elizabeth. She is supposed to have gumption! She loses herself for awhile because she is so devastated by how her relationship has turned out...but she finally grows a backbone again toward the end (gave Miss Caroline Bingley a good tongue lashing!), and I really felt like she was back. I was then VERY disappointed when, at one point in the story, she accepted Darcy's (albeit heartfelt) apologies without making him WORK for her affections back :P She should have made him earn it.But, in general, I was very satisfied with the story. It does have an extremely happy conclusion, and no one is perfect or has the ultimate ideal life...so come on. If you pass this up because you are scared to read about Darcy being a jerk, you will miss out on one fantastically written book (and you also apparently weren't paying attention to the first half of Pride & Prejudice either).The book is, of course, equally about Mary. But McCullough basically had free reign with her story since she is so little a part of P&P. I think most reviewers' complaints came from the Darcys' story, so that is where I put in my two cents. Her story is a little out there, I'll give you that. But it was enjoyable and it was nice to see Mary finally having a voice! The Mary parts were very fun to read.So, I definitely recommend giving this a try. Colleen McCullough is definitely a master storyteller in my book, and she wields her pen well in this continuation of a classic.more
This book is not the most popular of Pride and Prejudice sequels. Darcy and Elizabeth do not spend 99% of their time having sex, and he does not cater to her hand and foot all the days of their lives.*shrugs* Sorry. Those things don't happen in reality. McCullough had the gumption to write something that could have.I DO think that Darcy's buttheadedness WAS a little extreme on two points:1. Caroline Bingley. Obviously she isn't his favorite person, and I think I am correct in saying that he knows she is full of it. But yet he believes the horrible things she says about his son? I don't know about that one. You find out a few things about Darcy's own father towards the end of the story, and I suppose those things could have clouded Darcy's parenting skills. But, I wasn't wholly satisfied on that point.2. That leads to my second point: the way he treats all his children in general. All but wholly dismissing them from his presence...and not treating them very well at all when they were around. Not cool. One of Darcy's best qualities in P&P was the way he doted on his sister, and I cannot see him being so beastly to his daughters. (and for no real reason!) Speaking of, his sister was only mentioned in this story, I think in reality they would have had much more contact with each other then this book suggests.My third gripe of the story is with Elizabeth. She is supposed to have gumption! She loses herself for awhile because she is so devastated by how her relationship has turned out...but she finally grows a backbone again toward the end (gave Miss Caroline Bingley a good tongue lashing!), and I really felt like she was back. I was then VERY disappointed when, at one point in the story, she accepted Darcy's (albeit heartfelt) apologies without making him WORK for her affections back :P She should have made him earn it.But, in general, I was very satisfied with the story. It does have an extremely happy conclusion, and no one is perfect or has the ultimate ideal life...so come on. If you pass this up because you are scared to read about Darcy being a jerk, you will miss out on one fantastically written book (and you also apparently weren't paying attention to the first half of Pride & Prejudice either).The book is, of course, equally about Mary. But McCullough basically had free reign with her story since she is so little a part of P&P. I think most reviewers' complaints came from the Darcys' story, so that is where I put in my two cents. Her story is a little out there, I'll give you that. But it was enjoyable and it was nice to see Mary finally having a voice! The Mary parts were very fun to read.So, I definitely recommend giving this a try. Colleen McCullough is definitely a master storyteller in my book, and she wields her pen well in this continuation of a classic.more
Characters and story are interesting (if odd at times), but her writing is fairly over-explanatory, and at times annoys me greatly! :) It reminds me of the annoying last few chapters of J.K. Rowling's final HP installment--I am actually having a hard time finishing this, it is annoying me so much now.more
Characters and story are interesting (if odd at times), but her writing is fairly over-explanatory, and at times annoys me greatly! :) It reminds me of the annoying last few chapters of J.K. Rowling's final HP installment--I am actually having a hard time finishing this, it is annoying me so much now.more
I found this disappointing - a promising beginning that took Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and made her an interesting character, but then degenerated into melodrama. And why does no-one in these re-tellings imagine Elizabeth and Darcy happy?more
I found this disappointing - a promising beginning that took Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and made her an interesting character, but then degenerated into melodrama. And why does no-one in these re-tellings imagine Elizabeth and Darcy happy?more
oh my gosh - what a strange book. It started out so charmingly - i thought I knew where it was going and I was delighted to be part of the ride. Then all of a sudden it took a sharp turn into the most bizarre storyline. I got through it but was sorely disappointed and mystified at why the author decided to go this direction.more
oh my gosh - what a strange book. It started out so charmingly - i thought I knew where it was going and I was delighted to be part of the ride. Then all of a sudden it took a sharp turn into the most bizarre storyline. I got through it but was sorely disappointed and mystified at why the author decided to go this direction.more
Entertaining, but not strong, with too many random subplots. A shorter novel that focused more exclusively on Mary would have been more coherent and satisfying. I really didn't care for the tack she took with Elizabeth and Darcy. The distracting, and at times, incoherent, subplots really distract from the core of the story--the resolution of the character of Miss Mary Bennett, gentleman's daughter.more
Entertaining, but not strong, with too many random subplots. A shorter novel that focused more exclusively on Mary would have been more coherent and satisfying. I really didn't care for the tack she took with Elizabeth and Darcy. The distracting, and at times, incoherent, subplots really distract from the core of the story--the resolution of the character of Miss Mary Bennett, gentleman's daughter.more
The first half of this book was better than the second half. Too many far-fetched things happened and it all seemed to dissolve into a gothic romance of the type Miss Austen poked fun at, or a modern day "bodice-ripper", though rather more genteel.more
The first half of this book was better than the second half. Too many far-fetched things happened and it all seemed to dissolve into a gothic romance of the type Miss Austen poked fun at, or a modern day "bodice-ripper", though rather more genteel.more
Lizzy Bennet married Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr. Bingley - but what became of the middle daughter Mary? Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, 20 years on, Jane has a happy 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 parlors 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.more
Lizzy Bennet married Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr. Bingley - but what became of the middle daughter Mary? Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, 20 years on, Jane has a happy 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 parlors 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.more
Colleen McCullough demonstrates her versatility. She is not a 'formula' writer, you never know what to expect when you open one of her books. I'm not a great Pride & Prejudice fan but this was an interesting 'sequel'.more
I wanted to enjoy this book far more than I actually did. Colleen McCullough has a knack for lively writing that brings long-gone times and places to life with vivid color. Unfortunately, my problem likely resides in the fact that this was written as a “Pride and Prejudice” sequel.Now, I’m not an Austen fan who considers her writing sacrosanct stuff that should never be questioned, have sequels, prequels, homages, etc. written, re-interpreted, or the like. Memorable characters and stories like Austen wrote tend to inspire that sort of effort. But it’s fairly obvious McCullough has set out to not only prod what she sees as a sacred cow, she’s knocked it square between the eyes and merrily sent it off to the slaughterhouse. She seems determined to write something as far from “Pride and Prejudice” as possible. In some ways, this works. The plot is a cracking good read, humorous and energetic and chock-full of Perils of Pauline-type hijinks. We’re treated to fare including the plight of the ordinary man, highwaymen, and even a religious cult. If “P and P” was a stately comedy of manners, “Mary Bennet” is an irreverent comedy of adventure, and an enjoyable one for that.Unfortunately, that turnabout falls flat when it comes to the characters. They have a few facets of their original nature taken and augmented to extremes, which, rather than being wittily satirical, unfortunately just renders them to the point of being cartoonish caricatures. Darcy is far more arrogant, humorless, and unyielding than ever before, obsessed with propriety and becoming Prime Minister. Elizabeth has become his long-suffering wife, loveless and forlorn, her jabs of wit turned into feeble prods. Jane is a patient broodmare, Bingley a cheerfully oblivious man who shows up every so often to impregnate his wife yet again and disappear to his mistress and slave plantation in Jamaica. They’re very one-note in nature until the very end.Most of all I was bothered by the transformation of Mary Bennet. It’s one thing to want to tell the story of the overlooked and often-forgotten middle sister, who I’ve always believed got the short end of the stick. The original was undeniably a homely, awkward seventeen-year-old mindlessly spouting Scripture and maxims about propriety. McCullough has had Mary cooped up for twenty years as a companion to Mrs. Bennet, and then from that unfortunate, narrow existence, somehow presents her as having become an utterly forward-thinking, iron-willed, independent, daring feminist, who, at the age of thirty-seven (firmly a middle-aged matron by Regency standards), is suddenly far more ravishing a creature than any of her sisters ever was. It’s just a total 180 degree unbelievable transformation, given the base material and the lack of logical opportunity to produce that result.That, in the end, is my main issue with this novel, although the final pages are cringe-worthy and the last line one of the worst I’ve ever read. If a writer wants to tell the story of any character previously written, whether by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, or JK Rowling, they need to present that character, and others taken from that canon, as believably related to the originals. I don’t see that in “Mary Bennet”: the only solid ties this bunch has to the “Pride and Prejudice” characters are those of name. If McCullough had written this as a straight historical novel with no connections to Austen rather than drastically overshot the mark in writing a tongue-in-cheek sequel, I suspect the characters would have been better developed, and the non-stop adventuresome plot would make their tale worth reading.more
I went through a reading phase where I read a lot Jane Austen sequels. So many that I've grown tired of them as they all began to seem the same. Then I read some reviews, here on LT and other places, of Colleen McCullough's new book. The reviews have not been that good among those "Janites" that enjoy sequels, which actually encouraged me to give it a try. I wanted to see if McCullough would bring a fresh perspective to this tired genre, and she most definitely did!This is NOT your typical Jane Austin sequel. McCullough makes no effort to copy the style of Jane Austin. She takes the characters from Pride and Predjudice, 20 years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth, and writes a totally unexpected future for them. This book includes much cursing (words that Jane Austen probably never even heard in her life), along with an abduction and several murders. Definitely not themes one encounters in any Jane Austen novel. And the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth are barely recognizable. For example:Darcy to Elizabeth:"I knew well that I was marrying beneath me--oh, the follies of youth! Were I to have it to do all over again," he said deliberately, "I would not marry you. I would have married Anne de Bough, and fallen heir to the Rosings Estate. I do not grudge it to Hugh Fitzwilliam, but by rights it was mine."Hmm...not a very nice Mr. Darcy.And Elizabeth to Jane:"I see my carriage has come. No, don't bother getting up, finish your snivelling in peace. I can find my own way."Hmm...what happened to this loving, sisterly relationship?Overall, I liked The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet because it's different from the typical Jane Austen sequel. The story is interesting if a little disturbing. It's difficult to see these beloved characters from McCullough's different perspective. I recommend it, but with reservations. Purists of the Jane Austen style will probably find it sacrilegious, but that's exactly why I liked it.more
Utter crap. Worst last line I've ever read.more
I am only about 60 pages into this, but thus far I'm loving it. I have tried, but found myself unable to read other Jane Austen follow-ons. This is different, however, instead of imagining a hyper-romantic life for Darcy and Lizzy, Jane and Bingley, Colleen McCullough focuses on the usually unnoticed middle child, Mary, 17 years later, a well-read, intelligent spinster who, upon the death of her mother, decides to take up social crusading.Meanwhile, Darcy, now in the House of Commons, has proven himself a foolish, ill-tempered man who regrets marrying "below his station" and frets that Elizabeth has given him only daughters, save for one bookish, sensitive son whom he considers beneath the Darcy standard of masculinity.Jane, whose temperament makes it difficult for her to be anything but reasonably happy, is not in an unloving marriage, but one in which she lives the live of a brood mare. At 40 she has had 12 children, 8 of them living, and is pregnant again. She dotes on them, has all the help she needs to care for them, but is unlikely to live into old age given the depredations so many pregnancies have made on her. Bingley, surprise, is simply oblivious to this.This is a thoughtful elaboration of a story from a contemporary perspective, infused with a sensibility more akin to that in Mary Wollstonecraft, imbued with Dickensian tendencies, than Jane herself, for whom the trials of lower class, as opposed to genteel, poverty rarely entered in.more
I am only about 60 pages into this, but thus far I'm loving it. I have tried, but found myself unable to read other Jane Austen follow-ons. This is different, however, instead of imagining a hyper-romantic life for Darcy and Lizzy, Jane and Bingley, Colleen McCullough focuses on the usually unnoticed middle child, Mary, 17 years later, a well-read, intelligent spinster who, upon the death of her mother, decides to take up social crusading.Meanwhile, Darcy, now in the House of Commons, has proven himself a foolish, ill-tempered man who regrets marrying "below his station" and frets that Elizabeth has given him only daughters, save for one bookish, sensitive son whom he considers beneath the Darcy standard of masculinity.Jane, whose temperament makes it difficult for her to be anything but reasonably happy, is not in an unloving marriage, but one in which she lives the live of a brood mare. At 40 she has had 12 children, 8 of them living, and is pregnant again. She dotes on them, has all the help she needs to care for them, but is unlikely to live into old age given the depredations so many pregnancies have made on her. Bingley, surprise, is simply oblivious to this.This is a thoughtful elaboration of a story from a contemporary perspective, infused with a sensibility more akin to that in Mary Wollstonecraft, imbued with Dickensian tendencies, than Jane herself, for whom the trials of lower class, as opposed to genteel, poverty rarely entered in.more
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Reviews

I picked up this book since it had an interesting premise. After 'happily ever after' ending of 'Pride and Prejudice' , this book picked up from there and traced not only the marriage of Elizabeth Darcy but also how third sister Mary Bennet chose to live her life.

The book's only redeeming feature is that Mary Bennett has some spunk. However, it was a let down in terms of both narrative, style and plot. This book not only lacks memorable quotable sentences of 'Pride and Prejudice', also does't produce any interesting or humorous conversation. [Only conversation that I can recall was close to being humorous was one proposal by a gentleman to Mary that was turned down.:]

For most of book, narrative is dark, including those of its characters such as Mr. Darcy. Miss Bingley is still hated but her character hardly receives any life. Elizabeth Darcy unhappy in her marriage, Jane is limned to be whiny and Lydia is painted to be little short of harlot. Only Mary Bennett's character shines through and seems well-developed. Other mentionable characters are Charles Darcy (Son of Mr. Darcy), Ned Skinner (Darcy's loyal manager), Angus Sinclair (Friend of Darcy) and Owen-Georgie (Probable lead pair in a sequel. No, I don't want it more than you.)

There is really no chemistry, such as one that of Elizabeth-Darcy alliance in Pride and Prejudice which you rooted for. So, with lack of entertainment in the plot and narrative, the language which is understandably archaic and strait-jacketed keeping the period in mind, was a huge deterrent.

Yet, despite its dark plot, the book had a happily-ever-after-again end. There, I gave you a spoiler, but then you knew it already.more
Not the greatest novel written but a reasonable read. A large fantastical middle section, a predictable end and the usual list of Austen characters - though some surprises there. I managed to the end but only because it was an easy read. Not much to do with Mary Bennet - despite the title.more
Not the greatest novel written but a reasonable read. A large fantastical middle section, a predictable end and the usual list of Austen characters - though some surprises there. I managed to the end but only because it was an easy read. Not much to do with Mary Bennet - despite the title.more
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books so I was sorely tempted by this sequel written by Colleen McCulloch that focuses on Mary Bennet. However, McCulloch is no Jane Austen. Whllst the story was quite interesting (if a bit far-fetched in places) it couldn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice in terms of wit and elegance of language.more
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favourite books so I was sorely tempted by this sequel written by Colleen McCulloch that focuses on Mary Bennet. However, McCulloch is no Jane Austen. Whllst the story was quite interesting (if a bit far-fetched in places) it couldn't hold a candle to Pride and Prejudice in terms of wit and elegance of language.more
This book is not the most popular of Pride and Prejudice sequels. Darcy and Elizabeth do not spend 99% of their time having sex, and he does not cater to her hand and foot all the days of their lives.*shrugs* Sorry. Those things don't happen in reality. McCullough had the gumption to write something that could have.I DO think that Darcy's buttheadedness WAS a little extreme on two points:1. Caroline Bingley. Obviously she isn't his favorite person, and I think I am correct in saying that he knows she is full of it. But yet he believes the horrible things she says about his son? I don't know about that one. You find out a few things about Darcy's own father towards the end of the story, and I suppose those things could have clouded Darcy's parenting skills. But, I wasn't wholly satisfied on that point.2. That leads to my second point: the way he treats all his children in general. All but wholly dismissing them from his presence...and not treating them very well at all when they were around. Not cool. One of Darcy's best qualities in P&P was the way he doted on his sister, and I cannot see him being so beastly to his daughters. (and for no real reason!) Speaking of, his sister was only mentioned in this story, I think in reality they would have had much more contact with each other then this book suggests.My third gripe of the story is with Elizabeth. She is supposed to have gumption! She loses herself for awhile because she is so devastated by how her relationship has turned out...but she finally grows a backbone again toward the end (gave Miss Caroline Bingley a good tongue lashing!), and I really felt like she was back. I was then VERY disappointed when, at one point in the story, she accepted Darcy's (albeit heartfelt) apologies without making him WORK for her affections back :P She should have made him earn it.But, in general, I was very satisfied with the story. It does have an extremely happy conclusion, and no one is perfect or has the ultimate ideal life...so come on. If you pass this up because you are scared to read about Darcy being a jerk, you will miss out on one fantastically written book (and you also apparently weren't paying attention to the first half of Pride & Prejudice either).The book is, of course, equally about Mary. But McCullough basically had free reign with her story since she is so little a part of P&P. I think most reviewers' complaints came from the Darcys' story, so that is where I put in my two cents. Her story is a little out there, I'll give you that. But it was enjoyable and it was nice to see Mary finally having a voice! The Mary parts were very fun to read.So, I definitely recommend giving this a try. Colleen McCullough is definitely a master storyteller in my book, and she wields her pen well in this continuation of a classic.more
This book is not the most popular of Pride and Prejudice sequels. Darcy and Elizabeth do not spend 99% of their time having sex, and he does not cater to her hand and foot all the days of their lives.*shrugs* Sorry. Those things don't happen in reality. McCullough had the gumption to write something that could have.I DO think that Darcy's buttheadedness WAS a little extreme on two points:1. Caroline Bingley. Obviously she isn't his favorite person, and I think I am correct in saying that he knows she is full of it. But yet he believes the horrible things she says about his son? I don't know about that one. You find out a few things about Darcy's own father towards the end of the story, and I suppose those things could have clouded Darcy's parenting skills. But, I wasn't wholly satisfied on that point.2. That leads to my second point: the way he treats all his children in general. All but wholly dismissing them from his presence...and not treating them very well at all when they were around. Not cool. One of Darcy's best qualities in P&P was the way he doted on his sister, and I cannot see him being so beastly to his daughters. (and for no real reason!) Speaking of, his sister was only mentioned in this story, I think in reality they would have had much more contact with each other then this book suggests.My third gripe of the story is with Elizabeth. She is supposed to have gumption! She loses herself for awhile because she is so devastated by how her relationship has turned out...but she finally grows a backbone again toward the end (gave Miss Caroline Bingley a good tongue lashing!), and I really felt like she was back. I was then VERY disappointed when, at one point in the story, she accepted Darcy's (albeit heartfelt) apologies without making him WORK for her affections back :P She should have made him earn it.But, in general, I was very satisfied with the story. It does have an extremely happy conclusion, and no one is perfect or has the ultimate ideal life...so come on. If you pass this up because you are scared to read about Darcy being a jerk, you will miss out on one fantastically written book (and you also apparently weren't paying attention to the first half of Pride & Prejudice either).The book is, of course, equally about Mary. But McCullough basically had free reign with her story since she is so little a part of P&P. I think most reviewers' complaints came from the Darcys' story, so that is where I put in my two cents. Her story is a little out there, I'll give you that. But it was enjoyable and it was nice to see Mary finally having a voice! The Mary parts were very fun to read.So, I definitely recommend giving this a try. Colleen McCullough is definitely a master storyteller in my book, and she wields her pen well in this continuation of a classic.more
Characters and story are interesting (if odd at times), but her writing is fairly over-explanatory, and at times annoys me greatly! :) It reminds me of the annoying last few chapters of J.K. Rowling's final HP installment--I am actually having a hard time finishing this, it is annoying me so much now.more
Characters and story are interesting (if odd at times), but her writing is fairly over-explanatory, and at times annoys me greatly! :) It reminds me of the annoying last few chapters of J.K. Rowling's final HP installment--I am actually having a hard time finishing this, it is annoying me so much now.more
I found this disappointing - a promising beginning that took Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and made her an interesting character, but then degenerated into melodrama. And why does no-one in these re-tellings imagine Elizabeth and Darcy happy?more
I found this disappointing - a promising beginning that took Mary Bennet from Pride and Prejudice and made her an interesting character, but then degenerated into melodrama. And why does no-one in these re-tellings imagine Elizabeth and Darcy happy?more
oh my gosh - what a strange book. It started out so charmingly - i thought I knew where it was going and I was delighted to be part of the ride. Then all of a sudden it took a sharp turn into the most bizarre storyline. I got through it but was sorely disappointed and mystified at why the author decided to go this direction.more
oh my gosh - what a strange book. It started out so charmingly - i thought I knew where it was going and I was delighted to be part of the ride. Then all of a sudden it took a sharp turn into the most bizarre storyline. I got through it but was sorely disappointed and mystified at why the author decided to go this direction.more
Entertaining, but not strong, with too many random subplots. A shorter novel that focused more exclusively on Mary would have been more coherent and satisfying. I really didn't care for the tack she took with Elizabeth and Darcy. The distracting, and at times, incoherent, subplots really distract from the core of the story--the resolution of the character of Miss Mary Bennett, gentleman's daughter.more
Entertaining, but not strong, with too many random subplots. A shorter novel that focused more exclusively on Mary would have been more coherent and satisfying. I really didn't care for the tack she took with Elizabeth and Darcy. The distracting, and at times, incoherent, subplots really distract from the core of the story--the resolution of the character of Miss Mary Bennett, gentleman's daughter.more
The first half of this book was better than the second half. Too many far-fetched things happened and it all seemed to dissolve into a gothic romance of the type Miss Austen poked fun at, or a modern day "bodice-ripper", though rather more genteel.more
The first half of this book was better than the second half. Too many far-fetched things happened and it all seemed to dissolve into a gothic romance of the type Miss Austen poked fun at, or a modern day "bodice-ripper", though rather more genteel.more
Lizzy Bennet married Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr. Bingley - but what became of the middle daughter Mary? Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, 20 years on, Jane has a happy 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 parlors 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.more
Lizzy Bennet married Mr. Darcy, Jane Bennet married Mr. Bingley - but what became of the middle daughter Mary? Readers of Pride and Prejudice will remember that there were five Bennet sisters. Now, 20 years on, Jane has a happy 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 parlors 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.more
Colleen McCullough demonstrates her versatility. She is not a 'formula' writer, you never know what to expect when you open one of her books. I'm not a great Pride & Prejudice fan but this was an interesting 'sequel'.more
I wanted to enjoy this book far more than I actually did. Colleen McCullough has a knack for lively writing that brings long-gone times and places to life with vivid color. Unfortunately, my problem likely resides in the fact that this was written as a “Pride and Prejudice” sequel.Now, I’m not an Austen fan who considers her writing sacrosanct stuff that should never be questioned, have sequels, prequels, homages, etc. written, re-interpreted, or the like. Memorable characters and stories like Austen wrote tend to inspire that sort of effort. But it’s fairly obvious McCullough has set out to not only prod what she sees as a sacred cow, she’s knocked it square between the eyes and merrily sent it off to the slaughterhouse. She seems determined to write something as far from “Pride and Prejudice” as possible. In some ways, this works. The plot is a cracking good read, humorous and energetic and chock-full of Perils of Pauline-type hijinks. We’re treated to fare including the plight of the ordinary man, highwaymen, and even a religious cult. If “P and P” was a stately comedy of manners, “Mary Bennet” is an irreverent comedy of adventure, and an enjoyable one for that.Unfortunately, that turnabout falls flat when it comes to the characters. They have a few facets of their original nature taken and augmented to extremes, which, rather than being wittily satirical, unfortunately just renders them to the point of being cartoonish caricatures. Darcy is far more arrogant, humorless, and unyielding than ever before, obsessed with propriety and becoming Prime Minister. Elizabeth has become his long-suffering wife, loveless and forlorn, her jabs of wit turned into feeble prods. Jane is a patient broodmare, Bingley a cheerfully oblivious man who shows up every so often to impregnate his wife yet again and disappear to his mistress and slave plantation in Jamaica. They’re very one-note in nature until the very end.Most of all I was bothered by the transformation of Mary Bennet. It’s one thing to want to tell the story of the overlooked and often-forgotten middle sister, who I’ve always believed got the short end of the stick. The original was undeniably a homely, awkward seventeen-year-old mindlessly spouting Scripture and maxims about propriety. McCullough has had Mary cooped up for twenty years as a companion to Mrs. Bennet, and then from that unfortunate, narrow existence, somehow presents her as having become an utterly forward-thinking, iron-willed, independent, daring feminist, who, at the age of thirty-seven (firmly a middle-aged matron by Regency standards), is suddenly far more ravishing a creature than any of her sisters ever was. It’s just a total 180 degree unbelievable transformation, given the base material and the lack of logical opportunity to produce that result.That, in the end, is my main issue with this novel, although the final pages are cringe-worthy and the last line one of the worst I’ve ever read. If a writer wants to tell the story of any character previously written, whether by Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, or JK Rowling, they need to present that character, and others taken from that canon, as believably related to the originals. I don’t see that in “Mary Bennet”: the only solid ties this bunch has to the “Pride and Prejudice” characters are those of name. If McCullough had written this as a straight historical novel with no connections to Austen rather than drastically overshot the mark in writing a tongue-in-cheek sequel, I suspect the characters would have been better developed, and the non-stop adventuresome plot would make their tale worth reading.more
I went through a reading phase where I read a lot Jane Austen sequels. So many that I've grown tired of them as they all began to seem the same. Then I read some reviews, here on LT and other places, of Colleen McCullough's new book. The reviews have not been that good among those "Janites" that enjoy sequels, which actually encouraged me to give it a try. I wanted to see if McCullough would bring a fresh perspective to this tired genre, and she most definitely did!This is NOT your typical Jane Austin sequel. McCullough makes no effort to copy the style of Jane Austin. She takes the characters from Pride and Predjudice, 20 years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth, and writes a totally unexpected future for them. This book includes much cursing (words that Jane Austen probably never even heard in her life), along with an abduction and several murders. Definitely not themes one encounters in any Jane Austen novel. And the characters of Darcy and Elizabeth are barely recognizable. For example:Darcy to Elizabeth:"I knew well that I was marrying beneath me--oh, the follies of youth! Were I to have it to do all over again," he said deliberately, "I would not marry you. I would have married Anne de Bough, and fallen heir to the Rosings Estate. I do not grudge it to Hugh Fitzwilliam, but by rights it was mine."Hmm...not a very nice Mr. Darcy.And Elizabeth to Jane:"I see my carriage has come. No, don't bother getting up, finish your snivelling in peace. I can find my own way."Hmm...what happened to this loving, sisterly relationship?Overall, I liked The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet because it's different from the typical Jane Austen sequel. The story is interesting if a little disturbing. It's difficult to see these beloved characters from McCullough's different perspective. I recommend it, but with reservations. Purists of the Jane Austen style will probably find it sacrilegious, but that's exactly why I liked it.more
Utter crap. Worst last line I've ever read.more
I am only about 60 pages into this, but thus far I'm loving it. I have tried, but found myself unable to read other Jane Austen follow-ons. This is different, however, instead of imagining a hyper-romantic life for Darcy and Lizzy, Jane and Bingley, Colleen McCullough focuses on the usually unnoticed middle child, Mary, 17 years later, a well-read, intelligent spinster who, upon the death of her mother, decides to take up social crusading.Meanwhile, Darcy, now in the House of Commons, has proven himself a foolish, ill-tempered man who regrets marrying "below his station" and frets that Elizabeth has given him only daughters, save for one bookish, sensitive son whom he considers beneath the Darcy standard of masculinity.Jane, whose temperament makes it difficult for her to be anything but reasonably happy, is not in an unloving marriage, but one in which she lives the live of a brood mare. At 40 she has had 12 children, 8 of them living, and is pregnant again. She dotes on them, has all the help she needs to care for them, but is unlikely to live into old age given the depredations so many pregnancies have made on her. Bingley, surprise, is simply oblivious to this.This is a thoughtful elaboration of a story from a contemporary perspective, infused with a sensibility more akin to that in Mary Wollstonecraft, imbued with Dickensian tendencies, than Jane herself, for whom the trials of lower class, as opposed to genteel, poverty rarely entered in.more
I am only about 60 pages into this, but thus far I'm loving it. I have tried, but found myself unable to read other Jane Austen follow-ons. This is different, however, instead of imagining a hyper-romantic life for Darcy and Lizzy, Jane and Bingley, Colleen McCullough focuses on the usually unnoticed middle child, Mary, 17 years later, a well-read, intelligent spinster who, upon the death of her mother, decides to take up social crusading.Meanwhile, Darcy, now in the House of Commons, has proven himself a foolish, ill-tempered man who regrets marrying "below his station" and frets that Elizabeth has given him only daughters, save for one bookish, sensitive son whom he considers beneath the Darcy standard of masculinity.Jane, whose temperament makes it difficult for her to be anything but reasonably happy, is not in an unloving marriage, but one in which she lives the live of a brood mare. At 40 she has had 12 children, 8 of them living, and is pregnant again. She dotes on them, has all the help she needs to care for them, but is unlikely to live into old age given the depredations so many pregnancies have made on her. Bingley, surprise, is simply oblivious to this.This is a thoughtful elaboration of a story from a contemporary perspective, infused with a sensibility more akin to that in Mary Wollstonecraft, imbued with Dickensian tendencies, than Jane herself, for whom the trials of lower class, as opposed to genteel, poverty rarely entered in.more
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