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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Sep 25, Holly 2 Kids and Tired rated it did not like it Shelves: not-shelf-worthy. Terrifically disappointing. With few exceptions, I haven't enjoyed many Pride and Prejudice sequels, but this one looked promising. While Colleen McCullough, thankfully, doesn't try to be Jane Austen, I think she seriously misses the boat when it comes to these characters. Anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice has their own ideas as to who Mr. Darcy is and how he acts, just as they have pictures in their minds of Elizabeth and her sisters.

Even understanding that, I cannot envision these chara Terrifically disappointing. Even understanding that, I cannot envision these characters where McCullough has placed them, 20 years after Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage. It just didn't work for me. The title is a bit misleading, because it's as much about Darcy and Elizabeth as it is about Mary. I found it to be more of an annoying, social commentary on the mistreatment of the poor than I did to be a truly interesting Pride and Prejudice sequel.

Much of it is far-fetched. I find it hard to see Mr. Darcy involved with people who would murder for him, regardless of whether he asked them to or not. I also don't see him separating the Bennet sisters because of their potential threat to his reputation. In Pride and Prejudice, he helps sort out Lydia and Wickham's situation because of his love for Elizabeth, not because of the damage they could do to his reputation.

Mary's "adventure" was also implausible to me. Her thoughts of being an independent, maiden author were promising, but the rest of it was unbelievable and annoying. I liked Charlie, but the addition of other characters was odd. My only favorite part was when Elizabeth finally insulted Caroline Bingley to her face. Most likely unrealistic for the time, but we all wanted her to do it in the first book too! While minimal, the book included extremely vulgar profanity, which was a real disappointment. Overall, this book is not something I can recommend to people who are fans of Pride and Prejudice.

Obviously, Ms.

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McCullough is not and as she has so eloquently stated she wanted to "tweak the noses of the literati". Well, I think most die hard Austen fans would say she accomplished that goal. View all 5 comments. The sister who has changed the most is Mary: her spots have cleared up, her crooked tooth has been extracted, she's as beautiful as Lizzie if not more so, and she's had seventeen years to read an extensive library that's broadened her mind but not softened her frankness.

If anything, life as a dutiful spinster has hardened her. Now that Mrs Bennet is gone, she feels free for the first time and, encouraged by the impassioned writings of "Argus" in the Westminster Chronicle , decides to set out and see the plight of the poor and working classes in Manchester and elsewhere and write a book on them - no matter what Fitz wants. Declining a female companion is her first act of independence, and moving her money from Fitz's investment into her own bank account the next. She becomes good friends with the publisher of the Chronicle , a Scotsman and friend of the Darcy's, Angus Sinclair, who falls in love with her but wisely doesn't declare it.

With her plans set and in motion, Mary starts off on her travels across England, only to fall prey to the worst sort of man: a highwayman. Left for dead in the forest, she ends up disappearing altogether. I wasn't all that surprised to read mainly negative readers' reviews of this book, which I think stems mainly from the relationship of Lizzie and Fitz. Fitz doesn't come off well for most of this book, having become even hautier and snobbier than ever, and says some rather mean things to Lizzie, such as regretting having married her. He also has a curious relationship with a man called Ned Skinner, who does Fitz's dirty work for him - often on his own initiative.

People have said that they don't think McCullough stayed true to the characters, or took them in a direction that they agreed with - to the first I would disagree, it's just that we don't like to have the romantic bubble burst; and to the second, well, it's just an opinion. I haven't read many spin-offs but they were all dreadful, soap-opera-ish, melodramatic waffle, badly written, straining to be "Austen-like" in prose and style, and skirting around anything remotely interesting.

McCullough's prose, on the other hand, is effortless. Smooth, graceful, flowing, and never dull, I read this book in a day. I couldn't put it down. It was exciting, and because McCullough's a modern writer writing for a modern audience, she could delve into the world better than Austen could, or would want to. It's refreshing, and more honest.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet

People sometimes seem to forget that the "prim and proper" world of Austen etc. We aren't as liberated in this regard as we think we are. Another thing that I loved was the bringing into the story of the lower echelons: the working poor, the orphans, the destitute, the thieves and prostitutes, the practices of slavery and factory. It's all gorgeous countryside, polite dinners and pretty frocks. The biggest concern of the Bennet sisters was finding a husband. The biggest concern of most of the population of the time was having anything at all to eat. This is the only spin-off that even remotely does justice to Austen's characters while breathing fresh and exciting life into their story.

Don't be put off by the disappointments and anger between Lizzie and Darcy - all I can say without spoiling it is that it has a very happy ending. It's just so nice to read a historical fiction like this where the dialogue and prose aren't stilted, stuffy, and awkward because the author's trying for "accuracy" and to mimic a style long dead and which they aren't at all comfortable with.

McCullough has a firm grasp of the period, the bigger picture, the small details and the social customs, and shows a great depth of love for the characters. Most importantly, she really brings Mary alive - poor Mary, the neglected and despised sister - who loses her narrow-mindedness but not her way with words. She's a joy to read. View all 8 comments. Dec 24, Karina rated it did not like it Shelves: historical-fiction.

I hated this book so badly, that when I realized how she had butchered Austen's characters, I couldn't even bring myself to read any further.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet PDF

Anyone who's been married understands there are bad times and bad days, but to tell me that Darcy and Elizabeth have been unhappy since their marriage In addition to this, Darcy apparently practically rapes Elizabeth on their wedding night I hated this book so badly, that when I realized how she had butchered Austen's characters, I couldn't even bring myself to read any further.

In addition to this, Darcy apparently practically rapes Elizabeth on their wedding night, so that she dreads him coming to her bed and eventually alienates her husband so that he prefers politics to her. And this is just about these two characters. I won't even bother telling you what she did to the others, since I may have been able to overlook their distortion Even my husband, who has not read Austen but who saw the movie with me, was outraged at what this author did to this classic story and their main characters and told me to burn the book.

If you love Darcy and Elizabeth and happy endings--don't read this! Even the reconciliation she has at the end of the book I skimmed ahead doesn't make up for their supposed 20 years of unhappiness. View all 4 comments. Jan 16, Tamra rated it did not like it. A truly bizarre "sequel" to Pride and Prejudice. I'm not sure you could even classify it as a sequel. McCullough simply took the characters from the beloved novel and incorporated them into a strange and unbelievable story. I was looking forward to reading how poor Mary Bennet overcame her setbacks, but absolutely detested the futures Ms.

McCullough gave each of the characters. Also, the violence she wove into the story seemed unfitting and crass for a Jane Austen sequel. She very easily cou A truly bizarre "sequel" to Pride and Prejudice. Colleen McCullough is one of those authors that writes one incredible book The Thorn Birds and then can't ever seem to recapture that magic. View 2 comments. Those things don't happen in reality. McCullough had the gumption to write something that could have.

Caroline Bingley. Obviously she isn't his favorit Okay Obviously she isn't his favorite person, and I think I am correct in saying that he knows she is full of it. But yet he believes the horrible things she says about his son? I don't know about that one.

You find out a few things about Darcy's own father towards the end of the story, and I suppose those things could have clouded Darcy's parenting skills. But, I wasn't wholly satisfied on that point. That leads to my second point: the way he treats all his children in general. All but wholly dismissing them from his presence Not cool. Speaking of, his sister was only mentioned in this story, I think in reality they would have had much more contact with each other then this book suggests. My third gripe of the story is with Elizabeth. She has gumption! She loses herself for awhile because she is so devestated by how her relationship has turned out But, in general, I was very satisfied with the story.

It DOES have an extremely happy conclusion, and no one is perfect or has the ultimate ideal life The book is, of course, equally about Mary. I think most reviewers' complaints came from the Darcys' story, so that is where I put in my two cents. View all 6 comments. This book was a tedious read.

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The book focuses on the life of Mary Bennett who has been living and caring for Mrs Bennett her mother since the death of her father. The author completely rewrites the personalities of all the major characters so that they only resemble the original characters of Pride and Prejudice in name alone. The author describes Mary Bennett as having lived years of boredom with her mother, an odd description given Jane Austen described Mary as the type of person who was for This book was a tedious read. The author describes Mary Bennett as having lived years of boredom with her mother, an odd description given Jane Austen described Mary as the type of person who was forever busy reading, playing music.

The author described Jane and Elizabeth as the type of mothers with no interest in the upbringing of their children For naturally Mrs. Darcy and Mrs. Darcy is described as regretting his marriage and being disgusted with his one womanly son. The author seems to lose direction at times and takes to describing odd elements in the room with no purpose. Such as in the first chapter when she writes "Of course I do, Mama," Mary said perfunctorily, pouring milk into the bottom of her mother's cup, and tilting the fine silver teapot to pour an amber stream on top of the milk.

Cook's girl had done well with the sugar, broken it into good lumps; Mary added on of exactly the right size to the tea, and stirred the liquid thoroughly. She also treated the book as a history lesson, much of her historical dialogue felt like it was only included so that the readers could see how much research she had done. Having said this the book does became somewhat better toward the end once the author gave up her pretense of this being a Jane Austen sequel.

Both Mary and her love interest are engaging characters, again especially toward the end of the book. The last few chapters delivered some fantastic lines. I wish the author would rewrite the book based on her own characters, rather than pretending this is Austen fan-fiction. Jun 25, Kandice rated it it was amazing.

I understand why some people didn't like this book, and maybe felt strongly enough to be offended by it. McCullough takes beloved characters Austen created and un-romanticizes them. In McCullough's hands they become more real and believable. She treats the world Austen created a little like Dickens would have, had he written Pride and Prejudice.


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I read Austen as a teenager, and her perfect view of English society was exactly what I needed and wanted at the time. As a middle aged woman, McCullough I understand why some people didn't like this book, and maybe felt strongly enough to be offended by it. As a middle aged woman, McCullough's version of these characters is exactly what I crave. Yes, she could have written this same story without re-visiting Pride and Prejudice, but I don't feel it makes any difference. An excellent tale is an excellent tale, regardless of who it's about, or who is telling it.

If you've built Fitz Darcy up as the perfect image of man and husband material, you may not want to read this. He is a more realistic man here, but still lovable, and by the end of the book, he had recaptured Elizabeth's and my heart. The tale is as much about Elizabeth and Fitz as Mary, but everything that happens to them is in direct consequence of Mary's actions.

Austen made Mary unloveable, while McCullough shows us everyone is worth something and sometimes just takes a while to come into their own. It just happened to take Mary 18 years. A wait well worth it, in my opinion. It is a truth universally acknowledged that many authors have tried to continue the stories of that great literary maven Jane Austen. Some have succeeded to great acclaim, hell there's some fantastic fan fiction that's never seen a bookstore or library shelf that nails everything from the dialogue to the characters and even manages to spin a new and refreshing story.

Rarely have a I read a "sequel" to one of these classic romantic literary triumphs that got so much so wrong so quickly! Without giving this awful book any more attention than I absolutely have to I will say that we begin an undetermined number of years after the original novel with the death of Mrs. Bennett and thus the birth of the independence of Mary Bennett who at 38 is somehow just now a "beauty" and totally ripe for the marriage market and is now free to make her way in the world. We are reintroduced to the original cast none of whom, NONE, remotely resemble their original incarnations.

Elizabeth is a placating, sad little housewife with no backbone and little of the spirit that once set the literary world on fire. Darcy is a maniacal psychopathic politician who dreams of being prime minister and verbally and psychologically abuses everyone around him including his wife, son and heir, and his daughters who he has ignored since their births because he wants nothing to do with the inferior female sex. Jane and Bingley make appearances too, well Jane does, Bingley is busy in the West Indies with his mistress and their children.


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  • Yes you read that right. The story, such as it is, supposedly hinges on Mary but derails quickly and insanely into the strangest subplot on earth. It involves an underground religious cult and a huge number of feral children. I wish I was kidding. Seriously gang the final scene of the book involves the Bennett sisters potty training twenty feral boys and girls en masse who are crapping all over the Pemberly ballroom.

    I could not make this up if I tried. I don't know what McCullough was even attempting here. None of Austen's wit, warmth, story telling ability, or style is in evidence. I don't know if this is meant to be ironic, tongue in cheek or as some sort of attack on Austen all I know is it was absolutely awful and I wish I'd never read it. View all 3 comments. May 14, Wealhtheow rated it did not like it Recommended to Wealhtheow by: Tamara. This novels picks up Mary Bennet's story several years after the end of [Pride and Prejudice]. A lot has changed since then, very little for the better.

    Romantic Kitty is glad her husband is dead and thinks only of her clothes; funny Lizzie has no life and no interests and doesn't understand her young children; Jane constantly weeps; Darcy bribes and outright physically forces the Bennet sisters from seeing their mother until she's dead, hates his children especially his son who is kind and gen This novels picks up Mary Bennet's story several years after the end of [Pride and Prejudice]. Romantic Kitty is glad her husband is dead and thinks only of her clothes; funny Lizzie has no life and no interests and doesn't understand her young children; Jane constantly weeps; Darcy bribes and outright physically forces the Bennet sisters from seeing their mother until she's dead, hates his children especially his son who is kind and gentle so Darcy thinks he's gay, and further thinks this is the worst thing ever , and wishes he'd never married Lizzie; Colonel Fitzwilliam murdered Anne de Burgh?!

    The only character who seems to have improved over the years is Mary, who has become a purple-eyed beauty with strong feminist, anti-classist, anti-racist opinions. I found these developments to be so improbable that I gave up on the book midway through, which means I missed out on even more fantastic plots such as Darcy revealing himself to have a half-black bastard brother that he uses as his henchman to carry out diabolical schemes, Mary writing a book about the plight of the poor so touching that it changes all of England, and Mary getting kidnapped by cultists.

    If this were a regency romance without links to Pride and Prejudice, I might have been able to enjoy it. But as a sequel to Pride and Prejudice it is so mean-spirited, so completely at odds with the original work in both tone and characterization, that it absolutely did not work for me. Oct 26, Sally rated it liked it. This book is fun to read, but it certainly isn't Jane Austen. McCullough is definitely better at writing plot than at creating nuanced characters who grow and develop realistically. I would recommend this book for a day at the beach, or in my case a day off the beach while freezing rain whipped around my house and kept me inside!

    Jan 04, Laurel rated it it was ok Shelves: austen-inspired , austenesque , austen-sequel , historical-fiction , fiction , georgian-era , regency-era-fiction. A wild irreverent ride that will more than surprise Austen fans! I am confident that she will have no problem agreeing with me since she admitted that her motivation in writing a sequel to Pride and Prejudice was to stick it to the literati. Since it is doubtful that the good men and women of the arts and letters will read this nov A wild irreverent ride that will more than surprise Austen fans! If by some slim chance you are reading this Ms.

    McCullough, you have far exceeded your objective and should be quite pleased with yourself. I am a Jane Austen fan, and I am not amused. What about Mary? I had secretly adored Mary, the middle Bennet daughter who only had eight passages of dialogue in the original novel, but made a lasting impact with her pious pontifications and deafeningly out of tune song stylings. Her older sisters may have been mortified by her exhibitions, but I just laughed out loud and wished for more. Well Janeites, be very careful what you wish for, cuz it could very well land at your local bookstore.

    In which Mary gets a makeover! You can blame it all of the Pride and Prejudice miniseries. Many people over the years have credited it for the ignition of Austenmania, fueling many movies and a cottage industry of sequel writers. Inspired to give Mary a new chance, McCullough starts the story seventeen years after the close of Pride and Prejudice with the death of Mrs. Bennet freeing Mary from her role as parental caretaker. Bookish, pious and socially awkward Mary gets a makeover, a social cause, and a romantic adventure.

    In which Mary is emancipated, gets ideas, and into trouble! So, Mary is now thirty eight years old, unmarried, gets a makeover and is quite attractive. Freed from her daughterly duties of caretaker and police woman to Mrs. Bennet, the new and improved Mary Bennet has independent plans for her life that do not meet the approval of her dictorial brother-in-law Fitzwilliam Darcy. Inspired by the writing in the newspaper of a social activist, she is determined to write a book about the plight of the poor and sets off on an adventure of discovery to research the conditions of the working classes in Northern England.

    Yes, a religious cult! In which we witness the defamation of beloved characters! Not everything for all four other Bennet daughters has improved as agreeably over the years. Only Kitty unexpectedly hits pay dirt and marries an elderly peer who promptly dies and leaves her a pile of dough and social clout. Since her story is too happy, we do not hear much of her.

    Ambitious, scheming and underhanded, this Darcy has gone Gothic villain on us and it is not pretty. This caustic rendering of Darcy alone will catapult many a book across living rooms and bedrooms across America. In which dubious, dastardly and devious characters dapple the plot! They are two positive allies for Mary and her cause of independence and come to her aid more than once. Other daunting characters that make Charles Dickens imaginings look lighthearted are a woman beating cutthroat Highwayman named Captain Thunder and a cave dwelling body snatching religious cultist Father Dominus.

    Could this cavalcade of characters possibly be any father from the witty, honorable, and propitious populous penned by the gently reproving Jane Austen? In which a wild ride screeches to a hault! Even though I did not agree with the direction that McCullough chose to take her sequel, her skill at story telling is amazing and a galaxy beyond fan fiction with flair. Her dialogue is crisp and succinct, her historical references well researched, and her descriptions of late Georgian life accurate and realistic. With so much talent and international renown, one wonders out loud whatever was she thinking?

    If you can get past the first three chapters and totally suspend your disbelief, The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet is a wild ride that screeches to a halt with one repugnant last line which I leave readers to experience for themselves. Laurel Ann, Austenprose View 1 comment.

    Mar 13, Melissa rated it liked it Recommends it for: "Fanfiction" Fanatics. Shelves: 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 anythi I have mixed feelings about this book. I myself didn't mind, because basically anything can happen in twenty years--this novel is just one incarnation. 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. Jul 26, Vicki rated it did not like it Shelves: austen-spinoffs. Look, no offense to the one person who apparently liked this book, but mother of all that is good on this planet, how this book disappointed me! Where to begin? That Mary Bennet has become a woman of great sense, and yet thinks it's a good idea to off on her own in England without any help?

    She's independent, and it's beyond awful that any woman ever needed accompaniment outside of her own door, but for the sake of safety, I think she'd be sensible enough to see the need to have somebody with he Look, no offense to the one person who apparently liked this book, but mother of all that is good on this planet, how this book disappointed me! She's independent, and it's beyond awful that any woman ever needed accompaniment outside of her own door, but for the sake of safety, I think she'd be sensible enough to see the need to have somebody with her.

    Or should I start off with the barely concealed contempt that Darcy has for Elizabeth? With the fact that he more or less raped her on their wedding night?

    In Defense of Mary Bennet

    With the fact that this book talks about excrement? More than a few times? Just, come the hell on. You know what's an interesting idea? Mary Bennet gaining some modicum of happiness in her life. You know what's not? Destroying the point of the original book -- Darcy and Elizabeth changed for the better for having known each other. I fail to be convinced by McCullogh's portrait of the two of them. Just, no, no, no. Aug 16, Elaine rated it really liked it Shelves: spring-challenge.

    After a rocky start with this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added. Reader Reviews Click here and be the first to review this book!

    Colleen McCullough was born in Australia. A neurophysiologist, she established the department of neurophysiology at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. In she moved to the United Kingdom where she met the chairman of the neurology department at Yale University at the Great Ormond Street hospital in London, who offered her a research associate job at Yale. In the late s she settled on Norfolk Island in the Pacific, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson, to whom she has been married since She now lives in Sydney. Her writing career began with the publication of Tim, followed by The Thorn Birds , a record-breaking Full Biography.

    It's also compulsively readable. A heartwarming memoir of motherhood and adoption told through an African American lens. Reader Reviews. Illuminating and deeply human, Today We Go Home shines a light on the brave military women of the past and present. Have you ever wanted to solve a murder? Gather the clues the police overlooked? Put together the pieces? Identify the suspect? BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.

    Subscribe to receive some of our best reviews, "beyond the book" articles, book club info, and giveaways by email. About this book Summary Read a sample. Book Summary. Read a Sample Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page. Reviews Media Reviews Reader Reviews. Media Reviews 'McCullough's Author Information Biography Books by this Author.