pursuit of mary bennetWith warmth, wit, and infinite charm Pamela Mingle brings to the page Pride and Prejudice’s reserved and awkward Mary Bennet and proves that there is always room for another Austen spin-off when it’s this good.

For most of her life Mary Bennet has been an object of ridicule. With a notable absence of the social graces, she has been an embarrassment to her family on more than one occasion. But lately, Mary has changed. She’s matured and attained a respectable, if somewhat unpolished, decorum.

But her peace and contentment are shattered when her sister Lydia turns up-very pregnant and separated from Wickham. Mary and Kitty are bustled off to stay with Jane and her husband. It is there that Mary meets Henry Walsh, whose attentions confound her. Unschooled in the game of love, her heart and her future are at risk. Is she worthy of love or should she take the safer path? In her journey of self-acceptance, she discovers the answer. (GoodReads)


SPOILERS AHEAD!!

I really emphasized with this version of Mary Bennet. The author takes some liberties with Mary’s character who is traditionally portrayed as pompous and foolish. Since this book takes place years later, her spirit has tempered and her tongue is more prudent, if still direct.  This seems to be the direct result of her father’s supervision of her intellectual and personal development, but also aided by Lydia’s removal from the Bennet household.

There is little doubt as per the title of the reader’s knowledge of the intent of the main hero, Henry Walsh, and his probable plans towards Mary but unlike some other Austen sequels I’ve read and reviewed, this relationship transcends the steamy fan fiction capitalizing on the immortal love affair of Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth.

Speaking of Darcy, the author gives him a few choice moments that are laugh-out-loud funny in the awkward situation vein. Fun stuff. Elizabeth is as lovely as ever, but I like the changes made more to Charles and Jane.  Both of the Bingleys have developed more of an independent mind, and a bit of a spine.  I used to think Charles was a bit of a doormat, but he’s really grown in this version of a Pride and Prejudice sequel. Alas, I  suppose that it’s too much to hope that Mrs. Bennet’s character defects shall ever see reform.

The language for the most part is informal with one or two questionably period inaccurate terms. Does anyone know if diapers were called ‘nappies’ in the 19th c.? That sounds terribly modern to me.  Other than that possibly faux paus, I thought it was a good book.  Would I read it again?  Not sure.  The plot is pretty simplified for my taste.  Would I recommend you read it if you are into P&P spin-offs?  Yeah, sure, read it once and see what you think.  There’s such a growing collection of titles in this genre, it’s a good idea to get a feel for the variety and what’s out there.

So, check it out, and check back here and let me know what you think.

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