September 30, 2008

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet - Colleen McCullough

I finished The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet last night and I'm still not really sure what to make of it.

Definitely a page turner - I have not read any of Colleen McCullough's books before (probably not something a book loving Australian should admit to) so I have nothing of hers to compare the writing or style of this book to. I did have to stop comparing the book to a Jane Austen novel though because that comparison was getting me nowhere!

The premise of the book is that we now get to follow the story of Miss Mary Bennet, 20 years after the end of Pride and Prejudice. The book still however follows the stories of the other Bennet sisters and their illustrious parents and associates. I'm not even completely convinced that Mary Bennet was the focus of the story - and definitely not the Mary Bennet of Jane Austen's story!

The book follows what I thought was a really strange storyline for a "traditional" Austen sequel - kidnappings by religious sects and murder just to name a couple of examples. But maybe that is just the point - McCullough was trying to take the story beyond the traditional.

As I said before - I was completely hooked into this book and finished it quickly - but I had to suspend my belief about this being an Austen story with her traditional characters in order to do so. I would think that Jane Austen purists might have a real problem with this one!


Dina Roberts said...

I've read two of her books (not including the Thorn Books which I read when I was very young....or skimmed through looking for the juicy parts).

I didn't like either of the books too much. I'm trying to remember the names. Okay, still have one of the books. It's "The Ladies of Missalonghi." It was odd, but somewhat interesting. I forgot the other one, but it was about a convict coming to Australia. I liked it at first, but then I felt it dragged on to much. I remember thinking. "Please end already!"

Karen said...

Hi Dina - yes, that's a little bit how I felt with this book. Some of the content I was just left wondering - "Why is that even in the book!".

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

I am currently reading this so your review was so helpful. I must admit that I am a bit befuddled by her take. We shall see how the dust settles.

Thanks, Laurel Ann