I am delighted to be part of Fiction Addiction Book Tours and was thrilled to be asked to read and review this novel from Kate Allan.
No one who has ever seen me would suppose me a heroine. My situation in life, the character of my father and mother, indeed my own person and disposition are all against me.
Mrs Bennet is determined that all five of her daughters must marry. Mary overhears a conversation between her parents that shatters her already fragile sense of self-worth. She knows she is the least attractive of the sisters but to hear that her attempts to overcome this by being intelligent and accomplished are laughable sends her into a deep depression.
Mary and her her sister Kitty are sent to Derbyshire so that their elder sister, Mrs Darcy, can introduce them to suitable young gentlemen. Mary is satisfied to remain a spinster and is shy with gentleman. But she does decide she should try and improve herself.
On the way to Derbyshire she meets a strange gentleman who she considers ill mannered. However she is intrigued by his knowledgeable conversation about old buildings.
On arrival at Pemberley, the home of the Darcy’s, Mary discovers that the stranger is a Mr Sharnbrook of Kent and also a house guest. Mr Sharnbrook is an amateur archaeologist and has come to Pemberley to excavate possible burial mounds as part of his studies. Mary is interested in his work and offers to help him sort out his notes. Engrossed in the work, her spirits begin to lift.
A continuation of Pride and Prejudice beginning eight months after the end of Jane Austen's novel,Mary Bennet tells the story of how the Bennet's neglected middle daughter tries to overcome the disadvantages of her character and find happiness.
I am a huge fan of Jane Austen and especially Pride & Prejudice, which is the one novel I can re-read over and over and never tire of. When I heard of Kate Allan's "Mary Bennet" I couldn't wait to see how she dealt with dreaming up an extension of The Bennet sister's stories. Mary is her main focus but there are still mentions of the other sisters, especially Kitty and Lizzie. We get to view what could have happened after Lizzie and Darcy's marriage, and see how the larger than life Mrs. Bennet deals with the remaining unmarried girls of Longbourn.
The writing style stays true to the period and the author has obviously a love of The Bennets, as it shows in every chapter. A great story, if a tad predictable, but so was Pride & Prejudice. I really enjoyed it and think it's perfect for us lovers of all things P&P !!
About the Author
Kate lives in the Bedfordshire countryside, England, close to the Chiltern Hills. She developed plans to be a novelist at the age of seven after reading about the career of prolific children's author Enid Blyton, whose adventure and mystery story books she read avidly. She taught herself to use her mother's typewriter to try and make her stories look like "proper books". Endlessly fascinated by "the past", Kate took a degree in History before starting a commercial career.
She began seriously writing in 2001, taking a notebook with her on the train to make best use of her commute to work. She wrote two historical novel manuscripts before receiving an offer of publication for the second - a short novel - in 2004 from DC Thomson. Fateful Deception is a romantic adventure set in the early 19th century and was shortlisted for the 2005 RNA New Writers Award.
2006 saw the publication of Perfidy and Perfection, Kate's romantic comedy set in Jane Austen's England, and the publication of two short novels: Fateful Deception and The Restless Heart.
Kate also writes in partnership with author Michelle Styles under the name Jennifer Lindsay. Jennifer Lindsay's first novel, The Lady Soldier, is a romantic adventure about a lady who disguises herself as a man in order to join Wellington's army. It was published in 2005.
The kind of stories Kate writes are those that she would like to read, and she hopes that others will find them enjoyable and entertaining too.
Kate is member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.
Mary Bennet is available in either paperback or ebook format