mogdred1 1


Add to my Circle of Trust

Subscribe to reviews

About me:

Member since:17.06.2005


Members who trust:45


Independent of a decent plot!


It ended

The plot, the characters  -  everything !

Recommendable No:

Detailed rating:

Would you read it again?



How does it compare to other works by the same author?

ReadabilityVery poor

How does it compare to similar books?Poor

87 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
very helpful by (100%):
  1. Essexgirl2006
  2. Gooseydyoo
  3. TheHairyGodmother
and 102 other members

View all ratings

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

Share this review on

I should have known by the front cover of this book to avoid it at all costs as it was a bit too pink and girly. However despite my instincts I picked this book up as it was billed as a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” by Austen. “The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet” looked interesting as it was based on the characters from “Pride and Prejudice” twenty years on.

Mary Bennet, as the plain and unmarried Bennet sister, has been left to care for Mrs Bennet in her old age and is only freed from her duty by her mother’s death. The book is based on what Mary decides to do with her “freedom” afterwards.

McCullough presents Mary as plain-speaking and deaf to social niceties – she says what she thinks. Mary is also presented as being pretty in this book as her bad tooth and bad skin have been fixed. She doesn’t even sing badly anymore because her nephew told her how awful she was. Basically she is not the original Mary Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice”!

Elizabeth and Darcy are trapped in a loveless marriage; Jane and Bingley are still happy; Lydia is an embarrassment to them all and Kitty made a good marriage and is now a fashionable widow. The only parts of the characters that are recognisable are their names – McCullough has totally rewritten them and not well either.

I found this book easy enough to read but the plot was fairly ridiculous and not enjoyable at all. Darcy has turned into an ogre who controls everyone’s lives, especially the Bennet sisters, and seems to have reverted to the character he was at the start of “Pride and Prejudice”, only less well written.

Mary has suddenly become socially conscious and intelligent as well as pretty and not only that but she is a feminist too. McCullough has Mary behaving totally unrealistically for her time and situation by defying her rich brother-in-law and doing as she pleases. She lives without a female chaperone and travels about on her own apparently heedless of society and her own reputation.

The other characters don’t fare much better I’m afraid and the plot becomes more and more ridiculous with every chapter. The ending is total rubbish and evil ogre Darcy – sorry- Fitz, as McCullough has all the characters refer to him – suddenly becomes loving and warm. He performs an about-face and blames his earlier behaviour on a bad childhood – the side plot about Darcy’s father is pretty funny as it’s totally unbelievable. McCullough also has the same side plot involving the secret of the closeness between Darcy and another character she introduces, Ned. Well, I’m afraid it’s a secret that’s not a secret at all and was very easy to work out.

I think that McCullough was trying to reinforce the fact that society was patriarchal and that Darcy would have taken over his wife and her sister’s lives after the death of their father. It just wasn’t well written or even thought out though. Even the happy ending is rubbish!

The villains in the book are even worse – especially the highwayman named Captain Thunder – yes really. Then the main villain involving Mary is just really dull!

It’s just a totally unrealistic book and I can’t really convey in a review how awful it was – the characters, plot and dialogue were all shaky at best. Any fan of the original “Pride and Prejudice” would be sorely disappointed in reading this “sequel”.

My advice would be to avoid this book at all costs – even taking the “Pride and Prejudice” element out of the equation, the plot is still terrible and the book is not well written at all. It’s basically a bodice ripper disguised as a sequel to “Pride and Prejudice” and not even a good bodice ripper at that!

  Write your own review

Share this review on


Rate this review »

How helpful would this review be to a person making a buying decision? Rating guidelines

Rate as exceptional

Rate as somewhat helpful

Rate as very helpful

Rate as not helpful

Rate as helpful

Rate as off topic

Write your own review Write a review and you will earn 0.5p per rating if other members rate your review at least helpful. Write a review and you will earn 0.5p per rating if other members rate your review at least helpful.   Report a problem with this review’s content

Comments about this review »

Essexgirl2006 31.01.2011 16:41


Gooseydyoo 19.01.2011 09:53

Sounds dreadful. Very well reviewed.

melinda3536 22.05.2010 22:12

That sounds appalling! I'm not an Austen devotee but you really can't take that many liberties with Pride & Prejudice's characters and remain credible.

Add your comment

max. 2000 characters

  Post comment

Product Information »

Manufacturer's product description

By the author of the hugely successful 'The Thorn Birds' It is a truth universally acknowledged that anyone who lov...

Product details

EAN 9780007271849
Type Fiction
Genre Historical Fiction


Listed on Ciao since 09/06/2009

Show all Product Information

Review Ratings »

This review of The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet - Colleen McCullough has been rated:

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

Are you the manufacturer / provider of The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet - Colleen McCullough? Click here