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The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

Postby Divia » Sat February 21st, 2009, 4:03 pm

When I first heard of this book and the hatred that Austen fans had for it I thought I must read this! I never liked Austen and so when I heard he author was taking the characters in a direction that had some Austen fans knickers in a knot I knew this book was for me!

I can understand how some Austen fans may not like this book. Elizabeth's marriage is on the rocks. There is strain there and the passion is gone. Darcy questions why he married Elizabeth and why he married below his station. Life, he believes would have been so much easier if he hadn't married her or into her family of misfits.

I found this very plausible. I mean how many marriages are passionate throughout the years and are filled with love, butterflies and puppies. Darcy is trying to make a political name for himself and Elizabeth has freaks for sisters.

Jane has a brood of children which is draining the life out of her. And again I thought this was spot on especially for the time period we are taking about.
Lydia is a drunk(big surprise there) and Kitty is a young widow of means. Mary, a spinster, has been taking care of her mother until dies and then she goes out on her own, much to Darcy's dismay.

I thought this was all great, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next, but then the story took a strange path and we have Mary being kidnapped by a "brother." He holds her captive and tells her to write a book for him. I lost interest after this, but plowed through the story anyway which ended with a nice little bow at the end was sappy and childish.

So many good things could have happened in this book, but I think Ms. McCullough failed. If her intention was to shock readers, then she should have went with that idea and stuck with it instead of losing her wits and writing such a lame ending.

I really wanted to like this book because the book sounded very interesting. I thought that this would be unlike other books and the author would be daring enough to take these characters in a different direction, a real, true to life, direction. I was very disappointed.
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Carla
Compulsive Reader
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Postby Carla » Sat February 21st, 2009, 6:11 pm

Thanks for this review, Divia. I'm not generally keen on the Jane Austen sequels but had thought of giving this one a try because of the author.
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MissMarplestein
Reader
Location: Ormond Beach, Florida USA

Postby MissMarplestein » Sun February 22nd, 2009, 1:55 am

"Divia" wrote:When I first heard of this book and the hatred that Austen fans had for it I thought I must read this! I never liked Austen and so when I heard he author was taking the characters in a direction that had some Austen fans knickers in a knot I knew this book was for me!

I can understand how some Austen fans may not like this book. Elizabeth's marriage is on the rocks. There is strain there and the passion is gone. Darcy questions why he married Elizabeth and why he married below his station. Life, he believes would have been so much easier if he hadn't married her or into her family of misfits.

I found this very plausible. I mean how many marriages are passionate throughout the years and are filled with love, butterflies and puppies. Darcy is trying to make a political name for himself and Elizabeth has freaks for sisters.

Jane has a brood of children which is draining the life out of her. And again I thought this was spot on especially for the time period we are taking about.
Lydia is a drunk(big surprise there) and Kitty is a young widow of means. Mary, a spinster, has been taking care of her mother until dies and then she goes out on her own, much to Darcy's dismay.

I thought this was all great, and I couldn't wait to see what happened next, but then the story took a strange path and we have Mary being kidnapped by a "brother." He holds her captive and tells her to write a book for him. I lost interest after this, but plowed through the story anyway which ended with a nice little bow at the end was sappy and childish.

So many good things could have happened in this book, but I think Ms. McCullough failed. If her intention was to shock readers, then she should have went with that idea and stuck with it instead of losing her wits and writing such a lame ending.

I really wanted to like this book because the book sounded very interesting. I thought that this would be unlike other books and the author would be daring enough to take these characters in a different direction, a real, true to life, direction. I was very disappointed.


I agree with this review completely. I am a fan of McCullough's and thought I couldn't go wrong. I felt this was not one of her best novels. The ending left much to be desired, and I felt a lot of the conversations were contrived.

"I have dreamed thee too long,
never seen thee or touched thee
but known thee with all of my heart.
Half a prayer, half a song,
thou hast always been with me,
though we have been always apart." Man of LaMancha

MissMarplestein

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Sun February 22nd, 2009, 10:09 pm

I do enjoy Jane Austen, but I also enjoyed the way McCullough's take on a sequel veers in a darker direction. My review of this novel is at http://www.HistoricalNovels.info/Independence-of-Miss-Mary-Bennet. I'd have to agree that the ending is too pat after the dysfunction of aristocratic family life in this period of English history is so aptly explored. I'm not surprised so many Austen fans reviled this novel - almost from the beginning, it departs dramatically from Austen's genteel and restrained style, and rejects the happily-ever-after ending of Pride and Prejudice. Since I love books that surprise me, I found it worth reading just for that.
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info

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Telynor
Bibliophile
Location: On the Banks of the Hudson

Postby Telynor » Sun February 22nd, 2009, 10:44 pm

I found this one very enjoyable, especially the depiction of Darcy as a real whirling SOB. Compared to most other Austen sequels, this one at least had some depth and real problems to overcome. I did feel rather sorry for Lydia, however, but not at all surprised. Here's my take on the novel if anyone is interested:
http://www.epinions.com/review/Book_The_Independence_of_Miss_Mary_Bennet_Colleen_McCullough/content_455751339652

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Mon February 23rd, 2009, 1:42 am

The fact that this novel wasnt nicely wrapped with a nice tidy bow was one of the reasons I wanted to read it. I loved the fact that Darcy was an SOB. I loved the fact that Lydia was a drunk. I wanted a darker story, but in the end everything was nicely wrapped with a tidy bow that I wanted to vomit.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.

http://yabookmarks.blogspot.com/

User avatar
Margaret
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: I can't answer this in 100 characters. Sorry.
Favorite HF book: Checkmate, the final novel in the Lymond series
Preferred HF: Literary novels. Late medieval and Renaissance.
Location: Catskill, New York, USA
Contact:

Postby Margaret » Mon February 23rd, 2009, 6:46 am

I enjoyed your review, Telynor - it's almost as lively as the book!
Browse over 5000 historical novel listings (probably well over 5000 by now, but I haven't re-counted lately) and over 700 reviews at www.HistoricalNovels.info


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