“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.
“I am free. And happy.”
Oh, I do love a good Mary story! There is something so satisfying about seeing her have a HEA. She has the potential for such a magical transformation. A Learning Romance was a delightful transformation story for Mary!
One of my favorite parts was the fact that Lydia and Wickham were a large part of the story. We don’t see them very often AND in a post-marriage setting. I found it fascinating to see them in a different light.
Mary was everything I wanted her to be. Overall, her story stayed true to her character, with room for her to grow to find her HEA. I recommend this one for anyone who enjoys a statifying character arc and that enjoys seeing Mary have her moment to shine.
I do wish we would have seen more of the main couple together at the end, but the addition of the epilogue does allow insight into their future. Who is your favorite Bennet sister to read about?
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. Elizabeth Rasche is the author of Flirtation and Folly, as well as The Birthday Parties of Dragons. Her poetry has appeared in Scifaikuest.
Don’t forget to check out the other blog tours along the way! Thank you to Quills & Quartos for allowing me to be a part of this tour and gifting me a copy of ALR. All opinions expressed are my own.
Happy Reading! Melissa