(Pocket Books, reprint edition, Nov. 24 2009) Colleen McCullough has long had women’s liberation on her agenda: The Ladies of Missalonghi (1987), is about the blossoming of a spinsterish poor relation. The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet is more of the same – much more, an historical romance straggled together with every imaginable element of a bodice-ripper: a spinster with potential, handsome lords, highwaymen, rakes, royalty, slatterns, orphans, hermits, belated sex, and a no-holds-barred romantic ending. All highly unlikely and rambling, perhaps the author had actually intended it to be a Regency comedy of manners, rather than, as stated on the cover, a plausible sequel to Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice.
Australian Colleen McCullough died in 2015. Read more here.