Il club di Jane Austen – The Keeper: Mary Bennet’s extraordinary journey
The Keeper – Mary Bennet’s extraordinary journey is the first book in the The Bennet wardrobe saga by Don Jacobson. As the title suggests, it focuses on the neglected figure of Mary Bennet and her maturation process.
The main story goes from the Regency era, linking up with the final events of Pride and prejudice, up to the years of the industrial revolution. Thanks to the extraordinary powers of the wardrobe, however, there are also scenes that take place in the past and in the future.
This wardrobe, in fact, is not only an object of furniture but a portal that can carry in the future those who have Bennet blood in the veins (yes, even Mr Collins…). Obviously, these time travels are regulated by some rules, which prevent from influencing or modifying the events too much.
I loved Mary‘s story; I especially appreciated the scenes that see her facing a serious calamity and those that see her knowing a mysterious man. The peculiarity of this character is that she goes from being the insignificant little mouse described by Jane Austen in her book, to being a woman of greater depth, able to help others and to make some of the greatest changes of her time…
Along with Mary‘s story, there are also mentioned the events that have happened to her sisters, especially Kitty and Lydia, while Jane and Elizabeth, although present in the work, are less relevant. In particular, Elizabeth seemed to me an almost hateful figure in some moments.
Another character that I really liked is Mr Bennet, here more purposeful and less procrastinating than usual.
The author has included many notes in his book and this is something that I liked a lot because through them you learn a lot (especially I approached the theory by Heinlein, unknown to me). While reading the book, is clear the great culture and the great research work that the author has put in place to write this book. In particular, it is fascinating how he makes appear and find their own place in the story to characters known to the public (for example Mary Wollstonecraft, the future Mary Shelley). This thing does not make the reading always flowing, but enriches it a lot (said among us, having graduated in Japanese, when he noted about the Nihon Shoki I was thrilled!)
A peculiarity of this book, probably because written by a man, is the presence of the theme of war, very often missing in the books of female authors who focus only on the love story.
Overall, the plot is very enjoyable, I would also like to read the travels of the other characters through the wardrobe, and not only those of the Bennet sisters. In fact, it would be nice to see how this extraordinary instrument was used by Mr Bennet and his ancestors.