So, this is another published Pride and Prejudice fanfiction. I mean, so are all of them I suppose, but even the title screams “fanfic.” And if I had come across this book with this description online, I would have passed it by. But a hard copy was handed to me, and so I set out to read it. So let’s journey together, shall we? *Note – will contain massive spoilers*
It’s bad. Mary has taken to reading novels instead of more “serious” works, her gateway novel being The Mysteries of Udolpho by Ann Radcliff. While I understand this was a super popular book in it’s time, it already had center stage in Northanger Abbey! And even better, the book was a gift to Mary by Wickham, which caused Mary to feel more kindly toward him and believed herself slightly in love with him. Nope. Then she gets a package, which she believes is another novel, but turns out to be a book of magic. And so ends the first chapter of seven pages.
After waffling about, Mary decides to read the book and learn magic. She starts with meditation, which is fine. But the book suggests using plain English for spells, and the spell to move objects is, I kid you not, “Move here, please.” Well, at least magic is polite! Mary learns magic with objectively no real difficulty, and uses it to play small pranks on her mother. Fine. But then she makes a love potion (really just boiled and steeped flower petals) and administers it to her sister Kitty. Kitty falls in love with the elderly gardener, and Mary lets it go on for three whole days! That is unduly cruel to both her sister and the gardener. (Also, a few times the author says that Kitty is “visiting” Longborn. Does she no longer live there? She’s certainly not married, but does she split her primary residences with her two older sisters or something? It’s very odd, maybe not in practice but in wording.)
Mary and Kitty go to visit Elizabeth and Darcy in London, where Mary pulls some small pranks on some deserving people, which is fine. But then she causes the violinist’s bow to fly out of his hand which causes some more chaos, which is completely uncalled for! A Handsome Stranger™ notices her magic and disapproves.
Mary wanders about London, often on her own, which I believe was “not done” during that time. She meets some people and sneaks around, and that part of the book is kind of slow. She hears about a big baddie, the “Glastonbury Sorcerer.” Then she goes home, and their new vicar is from Glastonbury! Gasp! And he is the Handsome Stranger™ from before!
The last quarter of the book moves very swiftly, more than I feel it should. We trust some people, then we don’t, then we trust other people, and then we have a giant battle? And then Mary may flat out kill some people?! Which don’t really seem to affect her at all, and there are no consequences?!? Yeah, no.
If you would like to read some excellent fanfiction featuring Mary Bennet, please let me know and I can point you in the right direction. Which is far, far away from this.
This fulfills the 2020 Bingo square of “Reader’s Choice” and it is replacing the “Shelfie” square. (Wait, I actually do have this book somewhere, so it counts as either one!)
(And that blacks out my 2020 Bingo Board!)