MISS BINGLEY REQUESTS, by Judy McCrosky, Crooked Lane Books/Publishers Group Canada


Out November 2018

Beyond Pride and Prejudice – Miss Bingley’s quest for marriage

This is the story of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of Caroline Bingley, who has always believed she will marry Darcy. However, she meets and falls in love with Mr. Tryphon, and becomes torn between what she has always expected her life would be and her desire for Mr. Tryphon.

MY THOUGHTS:

I received this book in exchange for my honest review.

Okay, to the author’s credit I would say that taking on a retelling of one of the greatest Jane Austen’s classic works, well… quite simply, was very brave and a bit wow.  I would never take such a task on, so kudos to her for trying.

Overall, the writing was done very well.  The plot struggled at times to maintain a sense of proportion to the original and even stalled here and there when characterization of those beloved characters was altered to help the plot move forward, changes that just didn’t sit well for me, especially those done to poor Mr. Darcy.

With that said, Miss Caroline Bingley, was not a character that I liked in the Austen’s book, which I suppose was the point. In Austen’s version, Caroline is manipulative, cold and somewhat a snob.  Trying to humanize her in any way had to be done very carefully.  McCrosky gives it a valiant effort, so B+ for that.

One would have to understand the era that this story takes place in, and the position women held within society and in the expectations by the opposite sex to truly appreciate the horrendous task McCrosky had taken on.  I believe the apparent struggle was due to her insisting on remaining extremely close to the order of events seen in Austen’s book, and keeping very tightly fused to Austen’s story itself.

If she had, perhaps, attempted to write another version, one that led up to Austen’s story unfolding, then she would have had more liberties in creating a better setting, stronger plot pacing and easier to understand character development.  She might have shown how Caroline came to behaving as she had, what happened to bring her to the point Austen showed her at.  Why did she not like Elizabeth, or those from Elizabeth’s circle? 

By remaining as close and adhering to the outline in Austen’s book, I think she didn’t give her version of the story enough credit.  There was a whole potential untapped that she could have used.

Even with the problems outlined above, I did find myself enjoying the story most times and thought Caroline is still someone I don’t like.

I gave the book:

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