The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, by Colleen McCullough

Book 12
There is an incredible number of Pride and Prejudice sequels out there and I understand most of them are garbage.  I picked up this one because:
  1. Its focus was on Mary Bennet, the puritanical middle sister, rather than on the mythical children of the Darcys. And;
  2. It was written by Colleen McCullough.  If anyone could make this particular mini-genre not suck, it was McCullough.

I was correct in my thinking.  Mary was a good subject because from the original novel.  We only knew her as her sisters saw her and she was young enough to have evolved into something interesting by the beginning of this tale – 20 years later.

As the novel opens, the horrid Mrs. Bennet is finally dead.  Mary, who has spent her entire life caring for her, is finally free to have her own adventures.  Darcy and Bingley have settled some money on her.  You know, for keeping the old lady out of their hair for all those years.

Darcy and Elizabeth have been in a rut for most of their marriage.  Charles and Jane are ok, but he cheats on her mercilessly and takes off for months at a time.  Kitty married a rather wealthy man that was sporting enough to die while she was still young.  And Lydia is Lydia.   The action commences.

It did not suck.  I enjoyed most of it, although it did feel like the climax of the book came a bit early and tying it together at the end took too long.  I really could have skipped the Darcys’ frank discussion of the failings of their sex life.  But if you find it necessary to revisit Pemberley, this is a good read.

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