I’ve just read this book (which my kids “chose” for me as a prezzie), penned by the redoubtable Colleen McCullough. In it she examines the life of the Bennet sisters twenty years after the events of Pride and Prejudice, especially what happens to Mary after long years of spinsterly duty to her querulous mother are ended and she has some independent means.
I found it a rather rollicking good read, with plenty of social observations (especially on the roles of women) and the relationship vignettes that McCullough does so well. The romantic side of it appealed also. Who else amongst you Janeites has read it? (Did you get it for Chrissie too?)
Let’s have an Open Thread on it, and those who haven’t read it, ‘Ware Spoilers.
Harper Collins has a rather basic reading guide, which asks the following questions (which seem a good jumping off point, although no need to emulate the no-doubt earnestly pedestrian essays that some students would produce in response):
1. How do the ongoing lives of Jane‚ Lydia and Kitty compare to the lives you imagined for them? And how do you think Jane Austen might have felt about these newly created futures?
2. How do you feel about the state of Lizzie and Fitz?s marriage? Is the marriage that Colleen McCullough paints a realistic one?
3. Ned Skinner has a great sense of loyalty to Fitz‚ but also a darker side. After Ned?s actions‚ can there be redemption for him?
4. In what ways do Caroline Bingley?s words affect Charlie and his relationship with his father? How is Fitz and Charlie?s relationship repaired in the book?
5. How realistic is Mary?s quest at the beginning at the book compared to the task she undertakes at the end of the book?
6. In what ways do the women of this novel exert their independence and to what extent is that independence respected by the men around them?