This one has taken some interesting turns 👀👀👀
Lunch date with my beloved, @BookishMarginalia at our non-book-related happy place, Artisan Cheese Company in Sarasota.
After dinner coffee and dessert with book.
In Orlando for a conference that starts tomorrow. Getting some reading done at the hotel before dinner.
When I found this on the library's "new books" shelves, I was intrigued. Why would anyone write a novel with Mary Bennet as the main character? She‘s preachy, serious, plain. It starts out rather charmingly seeing the P&P plot from Mary‘s POV but as Chen imagines a future for the Bennets, she treads shaky ground. It's never easy retelling (& extending) a beloved story and this is an especially beloved one.
I was a bit worried when I started reading this book that takes in the world of P&P from the perspective of Mary, whom really never interested me at all. Also it has pretty bad reviews on Goodreads! However I‘m rather enjoying this Mary-centric story and it‘s really quite charming.
Did not enjoy this book like I thought I would. I would actually give it a thumbs down, but the writing itself is not bad. And for the most part, I didn‘t dislike the way Mary was characterized, to me she made a lot of sense. However, I DID NOT like the way the rest of the characters were presented and did not come off as truthful representations of the original P&P.
Just picked these up for the library today... to add to the 24 I had checked out already... 🤷🏻♀️🤓
‘But if you are sitting behind your sisters and occupied with a book, it is as if to say to the guest, “I would rather spend time with the litigious husbands, gamblers, and spendthrifts of this novel than with you, dear sir, even if you had no interest in wooing me in the first place.”‘
This was ok. I was excited to see this story from the perspective of Mary, but while enjoyable, I found that the characters seemed to stray too far from Austin‘s for me to like as much as I hoped to. I definitely think it‘s a good book to read, maybe more so for those not too attached to the original, but ultimately I was disappointed with many of the choices Chen made in how she evolved these beloved characters.
Pro‘s: I liked that it was a fresh interpretation and a behind the scenes look at the sisters lives and relationships. I also like that Mary became a writer with Darcy‘s publisher friend‘s help.
Con‘s: Most everyone came across as shallow, mean, or selfish. Mary B herself veered between naive romantic and bitter cynic.
Original, but rather bumpy.
There were things I liked and things I didn't but overall Chen provided a really great look into Mary, the overlooked younger sister that is worth reading.
As I feared, September starts with a bail. The writing is okay, but I‘ve found being inside Mary‘s head to be tedious and dull. I could tolerate the author‘s unpopular characterization of Lizzie, but I draw the line at making Colonel Fitzwilliam an unmitigated jerk. There‘s not enough to enjoy here to keep me going, and just enough to irritate me beyond reason. Poor Mary. I‘d love a GOOD book about her. I even tried switching to audio. Nope.
Just saw an article about this book. Definitely a must read!
I was very excited for this book. No one‘s ever seen Mary Bennett like this. I was instantly hooked by Chen‘s lively and lyrical writing.
I didn‘t like some of the plot twists, but that has more to do with my obsession with the original than anything else. It‘s impossible for me to be unbiased when it‘s Jane Austen. Careful, Austen fans, she put her own twist on some of our favorite characters!
#JaneAusten #Retelling #NetGalley #BookReview
I‘m on page 234 and still not sure how I feel about this book.
Everything you thought you knew about the Bennet sisters in P&P? Throw it out the window for this dark retelling! Shocking behavior, scandals, and betrayals are parts of their fate as told by middle sister Mary in the timeline before, during, and (mostly) after the original Jane Austen novel.
Major fans will probably rage or cry (...or both) if they decide to read the story of Mary B. Check out that overall rating on Goodreads!
It is a beautiful (not too hot🎉) evening so I‘m doing some post-dinner, back-deck reading while the kids are with the grandparents.
Limited space here so just a couple of things: I enjoyed this book but don‘t think all will. The writing is simply beautiful. However there are some tweaks to some of the characters that some may find disconcerting. Me? It‘s fiction and the way one author saw things develop from P&P.🤷🏻♀️ Heartbreaking, poignant, victorious. As for Mary? She finds her voice. She‘s amazing here. 4.3/5⭐️
Thanks to #NetGalley & #RandomHouse.
Must stop requesting ARCs! One more for July!
Up next...here‘s the blurb:
“Beneath Mary‘s plain appearance and bookish demeanor simmers an inner life brimming with passion, humor, and imagination—and a voice that demands to be heard.
Set before, during, and after the events of Pride and Prejudice, Katherine J. Chen‘s vividly original debut novel pays homage to a beloved classic while envisioning a life that is difficult to achieve in any era: that of a truly independent woman.” 🔽
Do you ever wonder about philosophical middle sister Mary Bennet, from Pride and Prejudice? Well, in this book she gets her own story!
Set to release JULY 24, 2018!!!