Rating: 4 out 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: Pride and Prejudice Sequel, Minor Character, Time Travel/Time Slip
TIME FRAME: Prologue begins in 1690, Main story occurs between 1811-1819
WHY I WANTED TO READ THIS BOOK:
I’ll be honest, I was a bit hesitant to read being this series as I’m not typically drawn to fantasy/time-travel stories. However, many readers and friends have recommended and praised this series and Mr. Jacobson’s writing, so I decided I should stop hesitating and give it a go!
The first book in this series introduces readers to a specially-crafted wardrobe with mystical properties that allow members of the Bennet blood line to travel into various future times. Made and gifted to the first Bennet of Longbourn, The Bennet Wardrobe has been utilized, guarded, and kept secret for many generations. With several daughters married, Thomas Bennet looks to the future and decides that Mary should become the next Keeper of The Bennet Wardrobe. Mary, who has no idea about any of the special abilities of The Wardrobe or privileges it can provide is about to have her world dramatically changed…
WHAT I LOVED:
- Mary Bennet: First and foremost, I love that this story focused on Mary Bennet. I enjoyed how the author used the fact that she was now ‘Miss Bennet’ as an impetus to do some soul-searching and maturing. It was such a rewarding experience to see Mary grow, gain courage, make realizations about her personality and behavior, and blossom into an admirable and worthy heroine. I appreciated how the author drew attention to Mary’s feelings of neglect and pain, and gave cause to her critical and stern demeanor. And I especially enjoyed the pleasing and and heartening relationships Mary started to develop in this book with various members of her family – particularly her relationships with Mr. Bennet and Lydia Bennet.
- The Wardrobe: What an interesting device and how fun to see it in the hands of the Bennet family! I did enjoy learning more about how this wardrobe became to be in the Bennet’s possession and I loved witnessing some moments in the lives of Bennet ancestors. In addition, the rules of the Wardrobe are interesting – I enjoyed how the time-traveler cannot choose “when” they travel to, and that the Wardrobe “knows” the desires of the traveler and ascertains when or where they need to go.
- Historical Tie-Ins: Throughout the course of this novel we witness various members of the Bennet family encountering famous historical figures, such as John Adams, Queen Victoria, Mary Shelley, and The Prince Regent. As a music-lover and musician I loved the tie-ins with Maurice Ravel and George Gershwin and am wondering if we will see more of these characters in the next book of the series…
- Mary’s Love: I enjoyed seeing Mary’s relationship with the mysterious stranger who she cannot help but feel strong affection and attachment towards. I liked that he was serious-natured and focused about his calling, yet light-hearted and playful with Mary. He seemed a perfect fit for Mary.
WHAT I AM AMBIVALENT ABOUT:
- Multi-Episodic: This first book of the series establishes a lot and covers a lot of ground. And while I greatly enjoyed the action-packed eventfulness of this story, it did sometimes feel a little too fast-paced. And the series of events – while diverse and interesting – sometimes didn’t feel wholly connected under one arc. I did sometimes wish for it to feel a little more unified.
WHAT I WASN’T TOO FOND OF:
- Some Small Quibbles: While some readers may dislike a certain couple marrying, it didn’t bother me. However, I did often wish that some of the romances weren’t so fast-paced – everyone fell in love instantly. Moreover, I did find Mr. Collins character a little too skeevy (shudders), although I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him receive his just desserts. In addition, I could not help but wonder why the Wardrobe wasn’t used more by certain Bennets. Especially those that are fond of reading and exploring (but perhaps that happens in another part of this series).
With The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s Extraordinary Adventure Don Jacobson introduces an incredibly inventive and engaging series that promises to be filled with thrilling action, unforeseen adventures, brushes with history, surprising encounters, and time-traveling Bennets! I cannot wait to see what journeys we embark on next!