Upon the death of her father, Mary Bennet’s life is thrown into turmoil. With no fortune or marriage prospects, Mary must rely on the kindness of her relatives. When a mysterious late-night visit by an unknown relative—a Lady Trafford from Castle Durrington—leads to an extended stay and the chance for an education, Mary gratefully accepts the opportunity.
But even as she arrives at the castle, she’s faced with one mystery after another. Who is Lady Trafford really and what is she hiding? Do her secrets and manipulations place the small seaside community at risk of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte? Always curious, Mary sets out to discover the truth. But when she discovers the dead body of a would-be thief she outed prior to her father’s funeral, Mary jeopardizes her position at the castle and her family’s good name in her quest for the truth.
Never underestimate the observation skills of a woman who hides in the background.
Titles in The Secret Life of Mary Bennet series include – The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet –
Title: The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet
Series: The Secret Life of Mary Bennet #1
Author: Katherine Cowley
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published: April 22, 2021
Publisher: Tule Publishing
My Rating: 4.5 stars
I believe that most romance readers have at some point read a Jane Austen story (or at least watched a film), I could be wrong but it has always felt that she is the ultimate author who was true to the times in Historical Romance… or simply a society read. I would not call myself an overzealous Jane Austen fan, but I’ve read her works and always came away satisfied with a glimpse into another time and place filled with interesting characters and everyday life (even in extremes).
It was with this personal experience with Jane Austen that I picked up The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet. Mary, the sister who we never really knew all that much about aside from always being in the background and overlooked much of the time. Now, Mary gets a chance to shine (and perhaps fill us in on some of her overlooked personality traits) as her curious mind tries to puzzle out exactly what is going on at Castle Durrington.
As Mary’s life changes with her father’s death, it will also be opened up in new, exciting, and perhaps puzzling ways as well. An unknown relative has offered sanctuary, and education… but at what ultimate price? When things don’t add up, Mary will allow her curiosity to take over and her discoveries will affect not only her life but others as well – even her country’s if she is correct in her assumptions. It’s time to step out of the background, leave the shadows behind, and figure out a mystery.
I enjoyed getting to know the “unknown” Mary. She may be the quiet one, the hugger of the shadows in many ways but she’s also learning to be bold and courageous… and to trust her instincts. Oh, she’ll still say the wrong thing at the worst moment, her words will often spill out her mouth without prior thought, but she’s growing and becoming the lady she was always meant to be… herself, in her own right, on her own terms.
It would be so very easy to get into the plot – but to do that means I’d be giving away spoilers. I was easily caught up in Mary’s world, in her changed circumstances, and even in following the clues that she’s discovering. The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet has a few twists, both likable and completely unlikeable characters, and takes us back (in some ways) to the canon of Jane Austen’s books. This is a mystery, not a historical romance… but then, there are two more books on the horizon so who knows what will happen next in Mary’s life. I enjoyed myself, and if you are a Jane Austen fan I believe this look into the quiet, unknown sister will be eye-opening and entertaining for you.
*I received an e-ARC of this novel from Tule Publishing. That does not change what I think of this story. It is my choice to leave a review giving my personal opinion about this book.*
Available in a variety of formats including your favorite e-reader, mine is the Kindle.