Book: The Pursuit of Mary Bennet by Pamela Mingle
Genre: P and P fan fiction/spin off
I've never been very big into the Pride and Prejudice spin off books. Sometimes they actually make me cringe. I can't stand seeing the original story perverted overly much, know what I mean? But when I saw this one pop up on Edelweiss I thought, that sounds fun. I've always been worried about Mary and wanted good things to happen for her, so I wondered what this particular author had in store for her.
And it was a fun story, but it didn't blow me away or anything. In fact, it was sort of a repeat of Pride and Prejudice really.
So basically, we join the family about three or so years after P and P. Jane and Elizabeth live nearby each other and have kids. Lydia is off being reckless as usual, and Mary and Kitty are falling in love with the same man, someone who hangs out at Jane's a lot. So when they visit, they have gotten to know him. So poor Mary, she figures she is out of luck.
Meanwhile, Lydia comes home to have a baby. But who's baby is it really? Is it Wickham's? Maybe. Maybe not. And she and Wickham are having issues and blaming all sorts of crap on each other, which is really not a surprise right?
She has the baby and Mary ends up taking care of it and basically being the nanny. And Lydia pretty much has nothing to do with it. This ends up being a problem later. So yes, Lydia is just as awful as always and pretty much does crazy things and everyone has to run off to rescue her.
And who does the man (sorry I read this quite awhile back and forgot his name! Ah.. Mr. Walsh!) fall for in the end? Well, you'll have to read it to find out! :)
I liked that this story shows Mary having grown up quite a bit. She is still shy and bookish, but not obnoxious and weird. She cringes thinking back on how she used to act. She has a great relationship with Jane and Lizzy, and sort of moves away from understanding Kitty. The guys in the book are... okay... but not swoon worthy. (See.. and why NOT? I don't know!!!)
The integrity of the original tone and feeling of the book is maintained, but as I said before, except of seeing things from Mary's point of view and having her grown up a bit, there really is nothing much new about this one.
Bottom line: It was fun. It was okay. It was enjoyable.
This is not imitation Austen but a nicely written homage to one of her lesser characters and Austen fans will enjoy getting to know and like a more palatable Mary. From BookNAround
It was an interesting sequel to Pride and Prejudice, but it wasn't without it's issues From A Girl, Books and Other Things
I grew so fond of her Mary, I didn’t want the book to end. From Diary of An Eccentric
Pamela Mingle did such a flawless job, I felt Jane Austen herself had written this one. From Reviews from the Heart