This month Sarah and I decided to do something a little different. We decided each to chose a different novel to read, so instead of one novel this November there are two. For my novel I chose The Mistress’s Black Veil by M.K. Baxley.
It is subtitled A Pride and Prejudice Vagary. For those of you who may not know, have no fear, I already Googled it. A vagary is defined by Google as “An unexpected and inexplicable change in a situation or in someone’s behavior.”
The cover art along with the title caught my attention. The first thing that came to mind was Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Minister’s Black Veil, a short story in which a minister dons a black veil one day to deliver a sermon on secret sin. He subsequently wears it for the rest of his life without ever explaining it, which has the duel effect of losing him his fiance, interestingly named Elizabeth, and elevating him in the eyes of his parishioners.
The premise for Baxley’s novel is how the story of Pride and Prejudice is altered from that which we know by Lydia running off with Wickham while Elizabeth is visiting Charlotte at Kent. This would be after Darcy’s abominably insulting proposal and his letter to Elizabeth. Poor Mr. Bennet dies of a cold contracted during his search for his reckless youngest daughter and we see what becomes of the Bennets from there.
If the cover and the description are any indication this promises to be a dark read of human folly, determination, and secret sin. Remember women without a male relation or any money to speak of often had little hope of comfort in early 1800 England. Will the Bennet ladies find any comfort with relatives or will Mrs. Bennet get on every last nerve they possess? Will Elizabeth and Darcy find their way back to one another? Will there be a happy ending? And where does the black veil fit in? These are the questions I’ll be reading to answer.
What are you curious to learn in this vagary? Read any other variations of Pride and Prejudice you’d recommend?
P.S. Sarah and I will also both be participating in #NaNoWriMo again this month. For those of you who may not remember or know that’s National Novel Writing Month, which is held every November. One month to write a novel of 50,000 or more words. This year my novel idea has nothing to do with Jane Austen, but I’ll be sharing some of it with you later. Wish us luck.