Mary Bennet is my favorite sister following Elizabeth, and I believe she has a lot of potential as a character with many different approaches and outcomes being possible and believable, so I was very happy to see that a sequel focused on Mary was about to be published by Quills & Quartos Publishing.
In A Learned Romance we will find all Bennet sisters married except Mary who has been residing with the Wickham’s in their London house. Mr. Wikham has somehow gained a fortune which has allowed them to walk among society’s high circles, but which has also brought a lot of attention to Lydia’s behavior. And you know Lydia, right? She is a flirt! So, when society starts noticing her unmeasured attention to geologist Mr. Cole, Elizabeth decides to give Mary a task. Call Mr. Cole’s attention to herself to allow the gossips pertaining Lydia to subside. Trying to conquer a gentleman of the ton is certainly not a comfortable task for Mary, but her duty to her family speaks higher then her natural shyness, and it is an idea provided by Elizabeth, so it’s got to be witty, right?
The storyline will then move forward with Mary trying to abate the gossip linking Lydia Wikham to Mr. Cole, but things are not as easy as Elizabeth would believe. Not only Mary is inapt at flirting, but she is also still learning who she is, what she wants and how to behave to obtain that.
I am not sure if I liked Mary in this novel, nor am I sure if I understood her character, or that of Mr. Cole for that matter, but I certainly loved watching them on their path to self-discovery. In my perspective this book is not solely focused on providing the reader a love story for Mary, but a book that will allow her to grow as a character and to discover her true self and her role in society.
Mary’s character will change throughout the story as her relationship with Mr. Cole, and her friendship with Lady Lucy forces her to see the world through other people’s eyes. She will start questioning if her view and her approach to several situations in life are indeed the best, and I enjoyed that immensely because if we think about it, Mary Bennet was only 19 or 20 years old, and people are still building their personalities at that age. I enjoyed the fact that her character is not a stereotype but an evolving personality, and that both she and Mr. Cole helped each other find their way.
I also loved the fact that I couldn’t predict what would happen next. Because this book is a sequel, the author had to develop an entirely new plot, and the excitement of not knowing what would occur next, and if/when Mary would end up with Mr. Cole made me read it non-stop. I kept reading in anticipation of their next interlude and even if the book is not dedicated to their love story, it did not disappoint, and I really enjoyed it.
A Learned Romance is a novel of self-discovery with a romance that will spice things a little. It is a very agreeable read that I recommend to all who see in Mary Bennet a rough diamond with a lot of potential.
“She had been forced into prudence in her youth, she learned romance as she grew older: the natural sequel of an unnatural beginning”–Jane Austen, Persuasion, chapter 4
MARY BENNET HAD NEVER WISHED for anything more than to be known as the meek and pious Bennet sister, the one who sweetly brought peace to her family.
BEING THE LAST UNMARRIED BENNET SISTER, the pressure to partake of a London Season with the nouveau riche Wickhams was considerable, no matter how little she desired it; but, her young sister Lydia would not hear a refusal. Mary hoped she could pass her days as quietly as a mouse and maybe encourage her still-wild sister to become a more demure wife and stop quarrelling so much with her husband.
BUT WHEN LYDIA’S FLIRTATION with scientist begins stirring gossip, Mary discovers it is not enough to stay meek and quiet. She must protect Lydia’s reputation by drawing the man’s attentions her way, and convincing the world it is Mary, not Lydia, who attracts Mr Cole. If she fails, Lydia’s disgrace will taint every family member connected with her—Bennet, Bingley, and Darcy alike—and Mary will have no hope for her own future. But alluring a gentleman is hardly the sort of practice Mary has a knack for. Though it goes against every fibre of her being, Mary must turn aside from the peace she craves and uncover the belle within—all while finding her heart awakening in the illusion of romance she has created.
You can find A Learned Romance at:
and on Kindle Unlimited
After acquiring a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Arkansas, Elizabeth taught philosophy in the U.S. and co-taught English in Japan. Now she and her husband live in northwest Arkansas, which is over 4,000 miles from Derbyshire. (Doesn’t everyone measure distance from the center of the world, Pemberley?)
She dreams of visiting Surrey (if only to look for Mrs. Elton’s Maple Grove), London, Bath, and of course, Derbyshire. When she has a Jane Austen novel in one hand, a cup of tea in the other, and a cat on her lap, her day is pretty much perfect.
Quills & Quartos would like to offer one ebook copy of A Learned Romance to one reader commenting on this post. The winner will be choosen and announced on the Q&Q Facebook and Instagram pages shortly after the blog tour is over.
Good Luck everyone!