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Mary B: An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice
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Mary B: An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice

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2.90  ·  Rating details ·  1,040 ratings  ·  354 reviews
The overlooked middle sister in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice casts off her prim exterior and takes center stage in this fresh retelling of the classic novel.

I will tell you the story of how I knew myself to be plain and therefore devoid of the one virtue which it behooves every woman to have.

What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her
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Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published July 24th 2018 by Random House (first published June 24th 2018)
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2.90  · 
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 ·  1,040 ratings  ·  354 reviews


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Sherwood Smith
Warning, a semi-spoilers rant ahead.

The latest cash-in on Jane Austen, I think, might have been an okay book if it had been set in Austen's period with original characters, instead of wrenching and distorting the plot, characters, and moral substrate of Pride and Prejudice out of all recognition (amid countless details of the period gotten wrong) in order to turn it into melodrama with a contemporary moral overlay.

Chen's narrative voice attempts a period flavor, without being aware of period tur
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Liz
Jul 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley

I still count Pride and Prejudice as my favorite novel of all time. So, it’s always with some trepidation that I tackle any book that’s meant as a continuation or spin off or story told from a different viewpoint. There have been some that have worked well. Longbourn comes to mind. But Mary B, not so much. Told from the perspective of Mary, the plain, nose in a book, middle sister, it was boring in the extreme. Mary longs to be noticed, by her father, by the young officers, by Mr. Collins, by an
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Heidi The Reader
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Mary B is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice (before and after the original story) from Mary Bennet's point of view. It is well written and unique... and probably will be hated by any serious "Austenites".

Katherine Chen takes major characters and adds to their stories in ways that were difficult to swallow. In that way, it reminded me of Longbourn. And I'm not even what you would call an Austenite.

"It was therefore acknowledged, long before my younger sisters and I had any say in the matter, tha
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Erin
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley, kindle
Thanks to Netgalley for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review

It is a truth that must be universally acknowledged that Jane Austen retellings don't always leave me satisfied. Earlier this summer I felt myself very giddy after reading about Kitty Bennett in What Kitty did Next and I couldn't wait to hear about middle sister, Mary. Alas, Mary is the Northanger Abbey of the Bennett sisters. It's going to take awhile before I find an adaptation that will make me grin.

Told in three parts, Mary
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J. W. Garrett
“Gloom, despair, and agony on me… Deep, dark depression, excessive misery…” GLOOM, DESPAIR AND AGONY ON ME From the TV show “Hee-Haw” (1969 – 1992) Buch Owens & Roy Clark

Warning: To those who love P&P and Austen’s characters… this could be hazardous to your blood pressure. What was I thinking? Apparently, I wasn’t. Reading a story that features secondary and even tertiary characters of a popular book is iffy at best. This story focused on Mary, the middle child of Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in
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Juli
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I never really wondered what happened to Mary Bennett after the closing lines of Pride & Prejudice. And I smiled and laughed at the subtle humor Jane Austen used in portraying Mary's opinions, her unattractiveness, and sullen behavior in social situations in comparison with her other four sisters. I glossed over Mary as just a plot point, an unimportant side character. I never really gave her much thought. Until now.

Mary B is a re-telling and continuation of the Pride a
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Kathleen Flynn
Sometimes the disparity between the opinions of professional reviewers and ordinary readers is huge, and that has certainly been the case here. Reviewers seem to love the liberties that Katherine J. Chen has taken with Austen’s characters; an unusual number of early readers are outraged.


For myself, I read this fast, over a midweek 36 hours, and the whole time was in the unusual condition of not knowing what to think. I still don’t.

The idea of Pride and Prejudice from the point of view of the ig
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Shawn
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Okay... So, here’s what we’re not going to do... we are not going to take THE most beloved characters of THE most beloved classic, and rewrite them to be completely and utterly devoid of the virtues and morals that made Pride & Prejudice the masterpiece that it is.

You want to expand and expound upon what happened after the I Do’s at Pemberley? — fine. You want to imagine what it must have been like for a middle daughter to watch happiness appear to pass her by in favor of her more reputedly
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Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Jul 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Die-hard Jane Austen fans, those especially smitten with Pride and Prejudice, may find themselves in a fit of rage or tears (...or both) if they pick up this retelling covering the events before, during, and after the timeline of the original story.

Told by overlooked middle sister Mary Bennet, she explains how she understood from a young age that she was not valued as her older sisters were because she was plain and unlikely to find a suitable husband. 

Mr. Collins, the cousin who will take contr
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Tammy Buchli
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book surprised me. Throughout the first third, I was convinced it was a 2-star book. I caught a number of anachronisms and the descriptions (a slovenly Longbourne and a diminutive Mr. Collins) made me think more of the Keira Knightly film than the original novel. But something happened once the action moved past the end of Austen’s tale — the last 2/3rds of this thing was GREAT! I read a lot of Austen variations and I appreciate one that goes all in and makes some real changes to the canon. ...more
Literary Soirée
Mary finally gets her day in this beautifully imagined story of the most maligned Bennett daughter. Funny, poignant and highly recommended.

Thank you, NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group for the early copy. Opinions are solely mine.

#MaryB:anovel #NetGalley
Amy
Jun 10, 2018 rated it did not like it
An untold story of Pride & Prejudice? More like the most twisted untold (that no one wants to know) story of Pride & Prejudice.

There's an appeal with a book like this, because first, that cover and title snagged my attention hook line and sinker. Mary suffers from the plain, looked over, awkward and shy character she was given by Austen. We all want to see Mary find the dream, because that's what most of us are, ordinary. The book started out encouraging. The writing style is genuine to
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Talia
Nov 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ok, I know, I know. I hear you. But...I thought that the taunting and downright cruelty to Mary in part one was not so much a stretch. I loved the awful interaction or lack of thought of Mary by her sisters. It reminds me of stories where D is portrayed with more accuracy in regards to his treatment of women, servants, etc. When he is less doe-eyed and lovable, people seems to forgive him. The 2 youngest sisters, who are out of control, would certainly terrorize Mary, her mother and father are p ...more
India
Aug 02, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Like the author, I was (and still am) very sympathetic to Mary Bennet in the original novel. I always thought there was more to be explored with her, so I was thrilled try this book. However, while reading this book, my sympathy and curiosity about Mary evaporated.

It's entirely possible to write a novel that critiques Austen-era social structures and assumptions without completely changing the motivations and defining characteristics from "Pride and Prejudice."
If you like the original novel, t
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Judy Lesley
This is not a sympathetic Pride and Prejudice variation. Readers for these books usually fall roughly into three categories: (1) the readers who want a new slant but keeping the main characters intact, (2) the readers who want to go completely off the rails from the original story, or (3) those who are reading for the historical fiction alone with no particular interest in Jane Austen's work. I fall into the first category and consequently found this variation changed too many characters' person ...more
Suzanne
May 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
As I worked my way through the first third to half of the book, I came to the realization that its biggest challenge is Mary Bennett. She is just not that likable. You do feel a little sorry for her, but at the same time, she is her own worst enemy. Honestly, she's irritating.

What I did like about the book is how it makes you truly realize just how limited the choices were for women in those days. Marriage was the goal and women were judged by how much money they might bring to the union and/or
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Barb
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Full review closer to publication date, but here are a couple of quick comments.

In the JAFF world there are many unwritten rules which most authors follow. This story basically breaks almost all of those rules. Chen chooses to demonstrate a few things which may have been hidden from the reader during the main story of Pride and Prejudice. In addition, characters change after Austen’s story ends in ways that pushed me out of my comfort zone.

Mary B is such a stretch for this hardcore reader of P
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Jeanne
Mar 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
DNF 65%

Interesting idea but sloppy execution. Slow and wobbly with the characters. While I like this Mary’s spirit and sarcasm (totally in character to me), she comes across as aimless. Something I never associated with Mary. The later half is a haphazardly thrown together romance that doesn’t work because it has all the hallmarks of someone who doesn’t understand Romance and romantic relationships trying to write one.

Also a married dude flirting and “falling in love” with his pregnant wife’s li
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OLT
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
(If you are a Janeite like me, you may well feel that this well-written "untold" story of P&P should have remained untold.)

Was it Orson Welles who said, "If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story"? So author Katherine Chen wants a happy ending for Mary, perhaps the least popular (well, in a tie with the odious Lydia) Bennet sister from Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Poor Mary, not sweet and beautiful like sister Jane, not pretty, lively and quick-
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Linda Zagon
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Katherine J. Chen, Author of "Mary B" An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice, writes her novel on Mary Bennet the middle sister.  The author deals with "What if"about Mary  using a unique and fresh perspective. In the original "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austin, there is very little input about Mary. The other sisters overshadow Mary, and with their mother's aggressive approach to marrying well, is  basically ignored. In Katherine J. Chen's novel, Mary is set stage and center. The Genres for t ...more
Nancy
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It is a bold, and perhaps dangerous, mission to "reimagine" a much beloved classic novel like PRIDE & PREJUDICE. Ms. Chen demonstrated courage in taking on this challenge, as well as skill in presenting her story.

Make no mistake, rabid Austenites may be outraged. The characters in Mary B do not conform to Ms. Austen's script and, although I really enjoyed the book, I did not approve of the behavior of most of the characters. Let's just agree that the reader who enjoys the book, as I did, has
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Kristin Davison
Apr 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
2.5 stars

I would like to thank netgalley and Random House Publishing for a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Just about any tragic thing that could happen to the Bennets did happen to them in this book. The plot became ridiculous and the only redeeming feature is that lots of books from the time period were mentioned.
Tara
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mary Dolan
Aug 06, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tonya
May 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is about exploring different endings than what was envisioned in Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice. The middle sister, Mary, is perceived as plain and that is how she lives her life. Until one day, she decides to escape her boring life and start writing… The writing starts Mary Bennett on a fantastic journey of adventure and heartbreak, love and sorrow as she grows into who she wants Mary B to become. Mary B is a regular pioneer in her time, fighting against the stereotypes of ...more
Ino
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Cora
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: retold-classic
This made me so, so angry. I thought it might be interesting to read a novel from the point of view of the overlooked, oblivious Mary, and looked forward to reading it, but the characters and surroundings are so twisted around as to be almost unrecognizable - if it had been an original novel about a family nobody had ever written about, maybe it would have been good, but you just can't take one of the most beloved heroines in all English literature and turn her into a malicious, selfish, cold wo ...more
Sharlene
Jan 04, 2019 rated it liked it
When I found this on the library's "new books" shelves, I was intrigued. Why would anyone write a novel with Mary Bennet as the main character? In Pride and Prejudice, she's the middle daughter, very preachy, very serious, very down in the mouth. She seems to be surrounded by a perpetual cloud of glum - that is, if her presence can even recalled at all, except for that moment at the party when she's told to shut up and let someone else have a turn. Mary is to be laughed at, in Austen's book, but ...more
Amanda
Jun 04, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Does the B stand for Bennett or B***h?

I love Pride & Prejudice and enjoy reading the various spin-offs, sequels, and fanfics in Austen World. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this book. It's a depressing, ridiculous tale with characters who bear no resemblance to Jane Austen's originals.

The first third of the book is a well-written, Austen style, re-telling of the events of P&P from Mary’s perspective. The author added some touching depth to Mary’s childhood and even managed to make th
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Jessica
Somewhere between a 2.9 and a 3.3? The writing and storytelling were great, but her handling of characters questionable.
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