Book Reviews, Historical Fiction

Review: The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

Hi everyone,

I am continuing to post all of my Goodreads Reviews onto my blog.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

Title: The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

Author: Colleen McCullough

Genre: Historical Fiction, Retellings

Publication Date: December 30, 2008

Length: 337 pages

Goodreads Rating: 2.89

My Rating: 3/5

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone knows the story of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in “Pride and Prejudice.” But what about their sister Mary? At the conclusion of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Mary, bookish, awkward, and by all accounts, unmarriageable, is sentenced to a dull, provincial existence in the backwaters of Britain. Now, master storyteller Colleen McCullough rescues Mary from her dreary fate with “The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet,” a page-turning sequel set twenty years after Austen’s novel closes.

My Thoughts:

I have mixed feelings about this book. In fact, I stopped reading it numerous times and then had to will myself to go back to it. I debated on whether to give it 2 or 3 stars, but ended up choosing 3 because there were parts of it that I genuinely enjoyed.

From reading through the other reviews briefly, I gather that many people don’t like the direction that McCullough chose for the characters, especially the direction of Lizzie and Darcy’s marriage. I myself didn’t mind, because basically anything can happen in twenty years–this novel is just one incarnation.

The plot of Mary’s quest/abduction was trying for me. It wasn’t fleshed out enough for my taste, and there were too many things that just fell into place.

I actually enjoyed the conversations between the characters the most–I particularly liked the relationship between Darcy and Ned. It allowed readers to see an intimate side of Darcy for once.

I have to say McCullough’s characterization of Lydia also thoroughly amused me.

To me this book is an elaborate piece of “fanfiction” and if you go into with that mindset, I think you will find some things that will genuinely make you smile, and perhaps even laugh out loud. But, if that’s not your style, then it will probably grate your nerves. 

Are you a fan of reimagined classics?

Happy Reading!


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