I just wanted to remind my regular readers of the fun that’s going on over at Austenesque Reviews. Today is Fun and Games Friday, and there’s a clever little quiz. If you haven’t had a chance to visit over there in a while, there’s been a lot of neat stuff going on. Go forth and have fun. The events go on all August.

Here’s another snippet from The Unexpected Miss Bennet, just to get you in the mood:

Mary had never begrudged Jane her beauty or her goodness or  the attention she drew from any one, men or women. Jane was all  goodness – even pert Lizzy, whose tongue could make one smart,  knew it, and she softened under Jane’s attentions. No, Mary knew  that she could not match Jane for all those accomplishments a  truly good person had. But she sometimes wished, though a little  forlornly, that she could be the centre of so much attention with  so little effort. And then had come Mr Collins! The man who,  from the moment he walked into their house – his house – was  clearly a match for Mary, was already half in love with Jane! Even  the sober, dour, plain suitors, who should have known better, had  known that Jane was marked for a grander sort of marriage than  they could offer, even they could not see beyond her beauty to  look about them for a better match.


And then. To discover that Mr Collins had transferred his attentions  to Lizzy! That was an idea so ludicrous on the face of it that  it was hard not to repeat ‘Mr Collins and Lizzy!’ in increasing  tones of astonishment; that there seemed never to have been a  thought for Mary was another unpleasant surprise.


When Mr Collins married Charlotte Lucas, Mary thought that  she could at last understand her mother’s nerves. To her it was as  if someone had walloped her in the stomach.


She knew she had not loved him; far from it. Mary was a  Bennet, and she was not the stupidest one. That prize belonged to  Lydia at present, though Kitty seemed likely to make a bid for it.  No, Mary quickly discovered that Mr Collins was ridiculous and  unsuitable for any one, even a one such as she. But was she so  unnoticed, and so preposterous a marriage prospect that even  Charlotte Lucas was a better match? As far as Mary knew,  Charlotte never opened a book and her conversation centered on  the doings at Meryton and her brothers and sisters, with never a  thought about the wider world. What kind of rector’s wife would  she be?


He should have at least looked at me, she thought, as she sat in  the drawing room with the tea, waiting for her mother and Mr  Collins. He should have heard what I had to say. Why would he  not listen?


A conversation caught her attention as her father met Mr  Collins with a rumbling greeting. Before they all entered, with Mrs  Bennet fluttering behind them, chattering about all the preparations  for Kitty, Mary had one last small indulgence in self-pity.  It would have been fine if for once Mary Bennet had had the  attention of even a most unsuitable suitor.


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