(Review) The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet, The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet Book #1 by Katherine Cowley

Publisher and Publication Date: Tule Publishing. April 22, 2021.
Genre: Austenesque. Regency Period. Pride and Prejudice-Bennet family. Mystery.
Pages: 338.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback copy from the author. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of Jane Austen stories.
Rating: Excellent.

To pre-order the book: April 22, 2021 @ Amazon

About the Author:

Katherine Cowley is a mystery author and a writing teacher. Her first novel is a Jane Austen-inspired Regency mystery. Katherine Cowley read Pride and Prejudice for the first time when she was ten years old, and she loved it so much that she reread it a few months later. She loves history, chocolate, traveling, and playing the piano. She lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with her husband and three daughters. A number of her short stories have been published, and she teaches writing at Western Michigan University.

Katherine is represented by Stephany Evans of Ayesha Pande Literary.

Goodreads/Website/Facebook/Twitter

Summary:

Mary Bennet is the middle sister in the Bennet family. Her older sisters are Jane and Elizabeth. Her younger sisters are Kitty and Lydia.
The Secret Life of Miss Bennet resumes with the Bennet family less than a year since Jane’s marriage to Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth is married to Mr. Darcy. Lydia is married to Mr. Wickham. Lydia is the first of the Bennet sisters who married.
Mr. Bennet, the patriarch of the Bennet family has died. The story begins with the planning of his funeral. Mr. Collins the male relative of Mr. Bennet has already moved into the Bennet family home.
The family is in a whirlwind of activity. They are planning the funeral. Mr. Collins is moving into the home and making changes. The unmarried daughters are left with possibly their only choice: to live with unknown relatives. Mrs. Bennet is going to live with her sister.
Mary is offered a chance for a different life. But, who is the woman behind the kind opportunity?

My Thoughts:

In Pride and Prejudice, Mary is a serious, somber, pianoforte playing young woman. Her appearances in the story is minimal. She is easy to ignore. The older Bennet sisters are close. The younger Bennet sisters are close. Mary is closed-off in the middle. However, Mary is a bare-bone character who Katherine Cowley can breathe a fresh life.

Several reasons why I love this story:

1. The Bennet sisters and their mother are portrayed true to form in the personalities set forth in Pride and Prejudice.
2. I love the focus on Mary. Other characters do not distract my attention from her.
3. Mary has a depth of character that is continuing to be revealed. Even by the end of the book, there is much more to be discovered about her abilities, talents, and character.
4. Mary is an imperfect person. At times, I am embarrassed for her brash mannerisms. Nevertheless, she is a person who is unpretentious. She is honest and direct. She does not allow emotions to overtake logic. To me, Mary is a breath of fresh air.
5. The mystery in The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet is a surprise twist. Mary who seems uncomfortable in her own skin. Mary who seems to have low self-confidence. She shows an understated part of her character that is innovative for serious tasks and to help solve a mystery.
6. At the end of the story, I didn’t want it to end. I thought, “wait a minute, I want to know more-more about Mary Bennet’s continuing story.” I am so glad for books two and three in the future!

Themes:

Family honor, sacrifice, loyalty, honesty, courage, death, grieving, compassion, self-worth, perseverance, and education.

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