Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Book Review: The Pursuit of Mary Bennet

The Pursuit of Mary Bennet: A Pride & Prejudice NovelAuthor: Pamela Mingle
Publication Date: November 26, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow & Company

With 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.

Sometimes anger is a living thing. It rose up in my chest and made me want to chew thorns.

Papa hadn’t moved; it was as though his hands were stuck to the desk. But at the sound of Jane’s voice, he rose. “I never thought Lydia could cause the family any more harm or disgrace herself more than she already has. I see I was wrong. Apparently there is no end to her folly.”

Our hands clasped together. I would have liked to etch the memory somewhere, so no one could take it away from me. I would have liked to hold it inside forever.

I knew I was in a fair way to risking my heart and should flee back to Longbourn.

Mary Bennet truly is the overlooked sister! I must be honest in saying that after I had read a few chapters into this book I actually put in the movie version of Pride and Prejudice just to see how she was portrayed because I did not remember her that well! So this book means that Mary Bennet finally gets some time in the spotlight, and I was intrigued to read it because honestly the only Austen retellings I have read mainly feature Jane and Elizabeth, so reading from Mary’s perspective was a very nice change. In this particular retelling, everyone thinks that Mary is going to end up a spinster, stuck at home with her mother and father, until the handsome Mr. Henry Walsh starts to pay her an extra amount of attention!

As always with Austen retellings, my favorite parts were definitely when one or two of the Bennet sisters were in a room together. I love that their personalities are all so different, and I love that Mingle stayed true to the way that I believe Austen had each sister imagined. I was excited to see and hear more from Mary Bennet. She is sometimes reluctant to speak her mind, but that is just because of the criticism she sometimes receives from her mother and sisters. There were times in this book that I wanted to reach inside the pages and give Mary Bennet a little push!

Mr. Henry Walsh was such a charmer. I was so happy for Mary when I realized the connection between these two. Readers always hear and talk about Jane and Elizabeth, and they are phenomenal characters, but it was nice to see someone like Mary, who usually gets no fame, step up to the plate and find her Prince Charming. I loved their subtle attraction towards each other. This was by no means insta-love, but felt real and brought a cozy feeling to me upon reading about it! I was very pleased with this book and Pamela Mingle’s writing. This was my second read by Mingle, and I believe she has a knack for retellings. Check out her other book, Kissing Shakespeare, after you pick up a copy of this one!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at William Morrow in exchange for my honest review***

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