Patrice Sarath is not a writer I had heard of, but picking up the hardback copy of “The Unexpected Miss Bennet” in a library sale, I loved her take on what happened to Mary Bennet, the plain and somewhat overbearing sister of the lovely Jane and entrancing Lizzie in “Pride and Prejudice.”
It’s not often that a sequel to that classic works. I can think of a few horrors that I won’t mention. This novel however, succeeds on so many levels.
The characters are true to the original and Mary’s development from the sort of girl you would take pains to avoid, to someone who shows empathy and understanding ,not only for others, but of her herself and her rather unfortunate mannerisms is truly convincing.
The language too mirrors the book and conveys a sense of period. My only criticism being that the journeys between the various houses seem to be rather shorter than I remember in Jane Austen’s novel.
“The Unexpected Miss Bennet” that I thought to read, then pass on, will remain on my bookshelf as an unexpectedly delightful read.
To tempt you further, here’s an excerpt from the blurb:
“…few expect the third Bennet daughter to attract a respectable man. But although she is shy and would much prefer to keep her nose stuck in a book, Mary is uncertain she wants to meekly follow the path to spinsterhood set before her.
Determined that Mary should have a chance at happiness, the elder Bennet sisters concoct a plan. Lizzy invites Mary to visit at Pemberley, hoping to give her sister a place to grow and make new acquaintances. But it is only when Mary strikes out independently that she can attempt to become accomplished in her own right. And in a family renowned for its remarkable Misses, Mary Bennet may turn out to be the most wholly unexpected of them all…”