Mary Bennet gets a voice thanks to Leighton writer

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A member of the Leighton Buzzard Writers has launched her new novel, Mary Bennet, at the town’s library.

In unveiling the book on Friday, Kate Allan gave some readings and answered questions about her inspiration for the story and her writing.

She said: “Mary Bennet is the story of what happened to the neglected middle daughter from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. I wanted to give Mary a voice and a chance to shine and find her own happiness.”

At the launch, Kate explained how she used close analysis of the text of Pride and Prejudice and every appearance by Mary in Jane Austen’s novel to build and deduce her character so that she could bring her to life and give Austen’s minor character her own novel.

She spoke about her research of the early 19th century period which, she confessed, had got easier as she has written a number of novels set in the period.

She also recommended first-hand research to help bring different historical experiences to life, such as trying on a whalebone corset or tasting gunpowder.

At the event, Kate wore a day dress, the kind of dress that Mary Bennet might have worn. She had the dress made to authentic period pattern to wear to reenactments and period events.

Mary Bennet is available in paperback at £7.99 from all good bookshops and as an ebook for Kindle.