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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Mary B: a novel by Katherine J. Chen (*Netgalley Review)

Mary B: a novel
the untold story of Pride & Prejudice
written by Katherine J. Chen
published by Random House
July 24, 2018
Pages 336
ISBN 10:  0399592210
ISBN 13: 978-0399592218

My ReView:

To out-right compare a true classic with any modern novel, is to immediately cast the new work into the shadow of an all time great. Could any measure up? IMO, no. But when an author chooses to use a classic as a stepping stool to the Top Shelf they should have their ducks in a row and facts in line. They owe these basics to the original, to readers, and to themselves.

I opened Mary B: a novel by Katherine J. Chen with an open mind, hoping for a fresh perspective from the author. What I found read like Chen, herself was not at all familiar with the P&P characters, their mannuerisms, period proper manners, phrasing, appearance, etc., etc., etc. 

The star of Chen's story is the over-looked, over-shadowed middle sister Mary. Chen takes middle child syndrome and bumps it to a state of over-reaching. This attempt to make her more sympathetic did not always work for me. One minute I felt bad for Mary. . .the next, I found her cynical and irritating. Easily recognized, popular characters are kindred spirits with hallowed ground. While I applaud Katherine Chen's bravery in taking on The Bennet's she should've done her homework. Changing accepted facts and missteps with characters defined over 200 years ago left me feeling a genuine classic had been used for name recognition.

Chen has a well versed writing style. I feel sure when she pens a new novel, unrelated to any previously published work, readers will see her individual style and enjoy her unique voice. I am anxious to give her next novel a read and see.

*To Serious, devoted Austenites - scroll on by this one.

Happy Reading,


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