Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Austen Sequel - Not Too Shabby, Actually!

A Match for Mary Bennet, An Inspirational Pride and Prejudice Sequel., by [Sister] Eucharista Ward.

I have to admit that I was so charmed by the text on the back of the book that I forgot "Inspirational" is publishing shorthand for "Appropriate Reading for Christian Persons, Especially Young Ladies". I do not, as a habit, read Inspirational Books, although I don't avoid them if they look interesting. This book did, and while it placed a much heavier emphasis on religion than the original Austen material (and it was there), it was *completely* appropriate, and in keeping with the character of Miss Mary Bennet. The prose is lighter than Miss Austen's, making the book more accessible to younger readers, but Miss Austen's spirit is present, indeed.

The story takes place a few years after P&P, and follows Mary as, basically, she grows up and learns to understand love and compassion. There are new characters, including Mr. Stilton, a rakish young man determined to secure his fortune by marrying a Proper Young Lady; Mr. Oliver, the companionable young cleric granted a living by Mr. Darcy; the frequently rambunctious girls that make up the choir led by Mary, who - much to her surprise and pleasure - becomes Independent and the organist at Mr. Oliver's church; and the wonderful library at Pemberly). The story deals with the questions of love, the role of marriage in one's life (Mary spends most of the story feeling it really isn't for her), forgiveness, and discovering what is truly important to one. Although one or two of the paragraphs dealing with the role of religion in life read like the author is trying to get a point across, rather than letting the characters converse naturally, in the main, the book feels very much like a continuation of P&P, which is all one really wishes in a sequel.

The Back of the Jacket: Caveat: The blurb on the back of the book is actually much more heavy-handed about the religious theme of the book than is warranted (and yes, the book is fairly classed as "Inspirational" - but really!), and is actually incorrect in the first sentence - and in the rest of its plot description, so I'm not reproducing it here. Whoever wrote it - and it wasn't the author, I'm quite certain - did the book a disservice.
Genre(s): Literature, Historical
Audience: Adults, Young Adults
Online Extras: None
Reading Time: Four days
Recommend: If the idea of Austen sequels usually makes you squirm, try this book. The familiar characters are lovingly and respectfully handled, and ring truer than in other sequels I've read (and I'm an Austenphile; I've read lots of P&P sequels many listed here, and some are barely worthy of the name).
I read a lot. Given how much I knit, I really shouldn't have time for eating - but I tend to eat at least two meals a day at work (by myself), and I don't want food on my knitting, so - I read. I'm not reading as much as I usually do, since the Monster Yarn Pattern Project thing is taking over chunks of my evenings (it's going to be a while before there's little enough yarn left for it to be a "portable project"), so I'll share what I've been reading. It's pretty eclectic, and I'm not a critic. Pretty much anything I pick up, I read; I don't tend to pick up things I don't think I'll finish. Don't expect anything in-depth, but you may find something you hadn't heard of that you might want to track down to read yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your tracks here...