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Telynor's Library, and then some

A woman of a certain age who has three cats underfoot, and has the dream of filling her passport with stamps. Books, classical music, tea, cats, movies, art, fancy needlework,  and anything else I can think of.

Do we really need another Jane Austen sequel

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride and Prejudice Novel - Pamela Mingle

I received this one as an uncorrected proof from the publisher and decided to go on ahead and read it. One of the more popular (and to me, bewildering) trends in publishing has been the sequels to Jane Austen's novels, multiplying like fleas on a stray dog. And most of them have about the same worth as well.


With this one, we once again look at the most unknown of the five Bennet sisters, Mary, the middle daughter. In the original Pride and Prejudice, Mary was pushy about her singing and music, unaware that her pompousness and sanctimonious ways were driving people away faster than a loose semi on !-80. Now several years have passed since the two eldest Bennet sisters have married into wealth and true love, and Lydia having gone off into the future with her disreputable Mr. Wickham.


But just as the novel opens, Lydia turns up on the family door step at Longbourn, very pregnant and even worse, she doesn't know who the father is. Given that this is nineteenth century England, measures must be taken to protect the two unmarried Bennet daughters, Mary and Kitty, and they are sent off to High Tor, the home of eldest sister Jane and her family. It is certainly pleasant there, and Kitty is falling all over herself to attract the attention of Mr. Henry Walsh, a neighbor with a fine estate, and more importantly, no husband. But it isn't the flightly Kitty that he's interested in knowing better, it's Mary...


This was a surprise for me; I generally expect Austen sequels to be boring, terribly derivitive and not worth the time. This one did fairly nicely as an evening's read, filled with all sorts of little details about daily life, characters speaking fairly correctly for the time and place, no silly sex scenes, and a genuinely likable hero in Henry Walsh. One of the best aspects is that Mary actually changes throughout the story, growing up and realizing that the world isn't as black and white as she thought.


Overall, this one gets four stars from me. It's a fairly good story, and while it does help to have read Pride and Prejudice, it can be read as a stand alone. If Austen sequels are something you enjoy, this one should do nicely.