'Everyone knows the story of Elizabeth and Jane Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. But what about their sister Mary, she of the atrocious singing voice and the staidly religious bent of mind?
'Master storyteller Colleen McCullough paints a life for Mary Bennet twenty years after Jane Austen's novel closes.
'So far on in time, each of Mary's sisters is settled in her own way. Happily married Jane is the mother of many children; Elizabeth has to cope with an unwelcome social pre-eminence she had not envisioned; Lydia is still entranced by military officers; and Kitty is one of the stars of London's fashionable salons.
'Events transpire that free Mary from her family obligations and dangle the allurements of independence before her hungry gaze. Fired with zeal by the newspaper letters of the mystery man Argus, she resolves to publish a book about the plight of England's poor. Plunging from one predicament into another, Mary embarks upon a mission of investigation that eventually leads her into mortal danger and reveals the surprising identity of Argus.
'The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet is both a page-turning look at the ongoing lives of the Bennet sisters, and a sparkling romance that shows it is never too late to find love. Abounding with beloved characters in new guises as well as people we have not met before, it is funny, tragic, and eminently satisfying. This is a novel for every woman who has yearned to leave her mark upon the world - Colleen McCullough at her lively best.' (Publisher's blurb)