“The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet” by Colleen McCullough
Rating: 3 out of 5!
How do you define a sequel? This book is a sequel of the beloved and famous Pride and Prejudice. As we all know, it ended in a happy note, Darcy and Lizzy finally together and every scratch and bumps sorted out. If I were to make a sequel of this book, should it also be happy or a little more sad? This book just happens to be a latter and I admit that I am quite surprised with the new turns of events and also that many doesn’t like this book as I did.
Mary Bennet is free of the shackles she’s been tied into since her birth. Her inferiority with Lizzy and Jane, the insecurity and everything that would come to mind of having a very unfair share of beauty is no longer around. Her tooth and face fixed, her mother and father dead, all of her sister’s married, she is left to her own and decide which path she will take. It so happens, that in this story Mary is not a goody two shoes as we thought while reading P&P.
Influenced by a very powerful character in the name of Argus, a journalist who talks of the illness and poverty of the other side of England and of the ignorance of the government, she sets off to find independence. She meant no husband, just herself, the money she is bestowed with and her plans in publishing a book about the same topic as Argus. Do you know where she ends up? In a cave. Now, how rad is that?
I read Laurel Ann’s review of this and she found it to be disappointing while I found it otherwise. I had an open mind while reading this book. The story was entirely different. Just as LA had pointed out, Mary was no longer the Mary we knew. Fitzwilliam was a heartless, cold, unloving man, just waiting for a chance to get rid of his wife’s stupid family, and most cruel to the heir of Darcy properties. Elizabeth’s marriage wasn’t what she imagined it to be. Jane has become a birth machine. Lydia is still a drunken woman, weeping and mourning after the death of Wickham. Kitty, boring. All four sisters took their own, different and strange ways.
So you ask, why do I like it? Maybe it’s because of the stupidity that it portrays that we all went through. The marriages that are broken and shattered which in reality, are marriages that happen anywhere. The love that could spring and bloom from the most unbelievable situations. A poverty that was described in the book which I often see here in my own poor country. The beauty after a storm.
The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet isn’t the story at it’s best but how it was told, how it ended and what happened is amusing and attention grabbing enough for me to give it a rightful 3 stars. To me, McCullough just wrote a whole different story with characters from Jane Austen’s book. I know my review cannot prove my point nor can it persuade you to read the book. A book must have its own well-wishers at least. Book reviews are opinion of the reviewer and so we will never agree nor disagree unless you read it.