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The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet
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About the Author

Colleen McCullough was born in western New South Wales in 1937. A neuroscientist by training, she worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into 10 years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the US. In 1974 her first novel, Tim, was published in New York, followed by the bestselling The Thorn Birds in 1977 and a string of successful novels. In 1980 she settled in Norfolk Island, where she lives with her husband, Ric Robinson.

Reviews

The author of The Thorn Birds and the "Masters of Rome" series here imagines the lives of the five Bennet sisters 20 years after the conclusion of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. McCullough tears apart the romance between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy only to reconstruct it, and she remakes Miss Mary as a 19th-century feminist and advocate for the downtrodden. She makes an unintentional farce out of the story, destroying the charm of the original characters and placing them in ridiculous situations. This audiobook's only positive aspect is the excellent narration by actress/Seattle disc jockey Jen Taylor, who nails the British accent and gives each character a distinct voice. Only for those listeners who don't truly love the original story. [The S. & S. hc was recommended "more for McCullough's fans than Miss Jane's," LJ 1/09.-Ed.]-Johannah Genett, Hennepin Cty. Libs., Minneapolis Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

McCullough's (The Thorn Birds) sequel to Pride and Prejudice vaults the characters of the original into a ridiculously bizarre world, spinning dizzily among plot lines until it finally crashes to a close. The novel begins 20 years after Austen's classic ends, with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy trapped in a passionless marriage, Jane a spineless baby machine, Lydia an alcoholic tramp, Kitty a cheerfully vapid widow and Mary a naOve feminist and social crusader. Shrewish Mrs. Bennet's death frees Mary from her caretaker duties, and, inspired by the writings of a crusading journalist, Mary sets off to document the plight of England's poor. Along the way, she is abused, robbed and imprisoned by the prophet of a cave-dwelling cult. Darcy is the book's villain, and he busies himself with hushing up the Bennet clan's improprieties in service of his political career. His dirty work is carried out by Ned Skinner, whose odd devotion to Darcy drives his exploits, the nastiest of which involves murder. McCullough lacks Austen's gently reproving good humor, making the family's adventures into a mannered spaghetti western with a tacked-on, albeit Austenesque, happy ending. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

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