Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Unexpected Miss Bennet

The Unexpected Miss Bennet. Patrice Sarath. 2011. Penguin. 304 pages.

It is a comforting belief among much of society, that a plain girl with a small fortune must have no more interest in matrimony than matrimony has in her. 

I loved this one. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. Set several years perhaps after the events of Pride and Prejudice, this novel shows the transformation of Mary Bennet. And the transformation is both believable and giddy-making. 

One day at a Lucas party, Mary is playing the piano. A young gentleman asks her to dance with him, before she can even start a reply someone cuts in and tells him that she is just Mary, she just plays the piano so others can dance, she isn't there to dance. Mary is puzzled at how this makes her feel. The fact that a man noticed her and wanted to dance with her, the fact that everyone assumed that Mary wouldn't want his attention or to dance, the fact that he took this answer and left to dance with someone else. Mary realizes that everyone has an idea of WHO Mary is and WHAT Mary does, and the ideas are very fixed. Mary wants to change that--one of the first things she does is to give up playing or practicing the piano. She starts taking more walks, she starts reflecting more on who she is and what she wants.

Around this same time, Jane starts worrying about her younger sister, Mary. She's already invited Kitty to spend some time with her and Bingley, so while she's not able to entertain her sister at this time, she's hoping that Elizabeth will be able to invite Mary to Pemberley.

At first, Mary accepts the invitation because she thinks Elizabeth is homesick and in need of one of her sisters, and she's happy to do her duty. But it doesn't take long for Mary to realize that Elizabeth is very happy indeed. For the first time, Mary sees what it would be like to live away from Mr. and Mrs. Bennet. For the first time, Mary reads a novel--or two or three. For the first time, Mary is happy. So when she gets a second opportunity with a certain gentleman who just happens to be an acquaintance of Mr. Darcy, she knows she'll dance. Of course, that's only a hint of what this one is about...

I enjoyed this one. I enjoyed what Sarath did with all the characters! Including Mr. and Mrs. Collins, Catherine de Bourgh and her daughter, Anne, etc. I definitely liked Mr. Aikens, the love interest of Mary, and I thought their courtship was just about right.

Read The Unexpected Miss Bennet
  • If you enjoy Jane Austen
  • If you love Pride and Prejudice
  • If you want Mary Bennet to have a happily ever after
  • If you like clean, historical romance 

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Heidenkind said...

Brilliant! I always thought Mary got the short of the stick in P&P and hoped she found happiness after P&P ended. I will definitely be checking this one out. :)