Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Have you ever given thought to what Longbourn was like after Jane and Elizabeth left? Have you ever wondered how Mary and Kitty got on with each other? Do you think with three daughters married – two of them very well established – Mrs. Bennet’s nerves have settled a little? (nah!)
Where most Pride and Prejudice sequels focus on Darcy, Elizabeth, Georgiana, and Colonel Fitzwilliam, The Unexpected Miss Bennet – an absorbing and inviting sequel by Patrice Sarath – uniquely follows the oft forgotten and little loved Mary Bennet and tells the story of her life at Longbourn post-Pride and Prejudice. Because poor Mary does not flirt, dance, or have beaus, it is assumed by her family that she has no interest in matrimony and most likely will never marry. Because of Jane and Elizabeth’s successful matches, Mrs. Bennet is really not that worried about finding Mary a match. In fact she is quite content with the idea of Mary remaining at home and becoming a spinster.
With Longbourn being a much quieter and emptier home, Mary Bennet finds that the solitary pursuits she used to love are no longer a source of comfort or interest for her. After years and countless hours of practicing the piano, Mary is frustrated that she is still not an “accomplished” performer. And lately, while rereading Fordyce’s Sermons for Young Women, Mary has found herself uncertain and dissatisfied with the teachings of Reverend Fordyce. Poor Mary is at odds with herself and cannot find solace or happiness in anything…
What a engaging and endearing tale about Mary Bennet! I love when authors write about the forgotten and neglected characters of Jane Austen! I truly loved this closer look into the heart and mind of Mary Bennet. She captured my interest from page one. I loved witnessing her gradual transformation, her realization that she can never be something she isn’t, and her newfound understanding of men and relationships. Yes, there is romance in this story! And the hero is just as unexpectedly charming as Mary Bennet!
Readers will not only be able to observe Mary’s ugly-ducking-to-beautiful-swan transformation, they will also get the opportunity to travel to Pemberley, Rosings, and Hunsford Parsonage and reacquaint themselves with all the inhabitants there! I especially loved seeing Lady Catherine and her outrage at meeting yet another Bennet! And Mr. Collins – well, he is always a good source of entertainment!
I have never thought of how unpleasant life must have been for Mary, with two older sisters that are all beauty and charm and two younger sisters that are wild and immature. The poor girl didn’t fit in with her family, let alone her community. The Unexpected Miss Bennet was the perfect novel to help me understand and learn to admire Mary Bennet! 5 Big Stars!
The US edition of this book will be released December 6th 2011! A perfect Christmas gift, wouldn’t you say?