The summer of 2017 will make the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. For better or for worse, book publisher Orion will be releasing a sequel to the classic Pride and Prejudice. UK author Terri Fleming is writing Perception, which takes place 3 to 5 years after the events in Pride and Prejudice. Fleming is charged with a unique challenge that would make even the most masterful authors tremble. Some Jane Austin fans feel slighted by the decision to make a sequel, and how can you blame them – there has been a flood of Austen-esq remakes recently, one even including zombies!
Perhaps we shouldn’t worry too much. The story will cover two other characters in the book who never found love in the original, Mary and Kitty. The narrative of Jane Austin’s original masterpiece was based on the process of finding the right man to love. Having two developed characters whos stories have not yet been resolved leaves room for Fleming to create a narrative.
According to The Guardian By 2018, there will be yet another sequel: The Other Bennet Girl by Janice Hadlow, “which similarly promises to show a hidden side of Mary.”Unlike her more gregarious sisters, Mary was notoriously quiet and nerdy in Pride and Prejudice. Her breakout scene was one of humiliation; she embarrasses the family with her awful singing and dancing.
One of the goals of rebooting the franchise like this is to give a voice to women like Mary. Fleming stated that, “Mary’s silent and futile presence is to me the best testament possible to the ranks of unremarkable women she stands for.” I, for one, am excited to see how this plays out. If you are on the fence about the book, the good news is you still have a year to think about whether or not you’d like to read it.
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