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The Other Bennet Sister

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,640 ratings  ·  1,038 reviews
Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice’s five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own.

What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who t
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Hardcover, 480 pages
Published March 31st 2020 by Henry Holt and Co.
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unregretability There are multiple parts in this story, and Part One mainly follows the story in P&P with some background and thoughts from Mary. The rest of the nove…moreThere are multiple parts in this story, and Part One mainly follows the story in P&P with some background and thoughts from Mary. The rest of the novel revolves solely around her and her development from a self-degrading, shy girl to a confident woman. (less)
Julie Lewis Since P&P is pretty much an adult Lizzies' perspective, I can see how Mrs. B would be characterized as shallow, annoying and embarrassing.

But from Ma…more
Since P&P is pretty much an adult Lizzies' perspective, I can see how Mrs. B would be characterized as shallow, annoying and embarrassing.

But from Mary's perspective - especially as a child - those qualities would have been devastating. In P&P Mary is pretty much either ignored or the butt of every joke.

Speaking from experience, having a mother who doesn't understand you as a person is very hard, even as an only daughter. As the middle of five, and obviously her least favorite? Yes that would have felt very harsh.(less)

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Average rating 4.15  · 
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 ·  4,640 ratings  ·  1,038 reviews


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Katie Lumsden
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this – it's a lovely, powerful and sweet book and I just adored it.
Roman Clodia
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There have been numberless revisits, of course, to Pride & Prejudice but so many are sunny romances: this, like Jo Baker's 'Longbourn' takes a welcome critical look at that well-loved classic and at the characters within it. Focusing on Mary, the leftover Bennet who we love to mock, this redraws the whole family, including Jane and Lizzy, and also makes us ashamed of our complicity in sidelining Mary - however pious and dull, it's a terrible thing for a girl to feel unloved and unwanted in her o ...more
Beata
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Bennet sister who does not receive much attention is Mary, always distanced by her parents and sisters. Ms Hadlow gives her a voice and a chance denied by Jane Austen.
The book is a pleasure to read for those who love Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility and both novels are in a way reflected in Mary Bennet's story. The story is somehow predictable but it does not deprive a reader of the pleasure of observing Mary's pursuit of her own happiness.
I listened to an audiobook and the nar
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Joan Happel
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Other Bennet Sister is a transformative story told through the eyes of one of Pride and Prejudices most maligned characters. I am always hesitant to read a Pride and Prejudice sequel or retelling. I love Jane Austen and her books and can find fault with all the many attempts that try to take up the mantel of her characters. The Other Bennet Sister is therefore a surprising delight. The first part of the novel is a retelling of the events in Pride and Prejudice through the eyes of Mary, the m ...more
Heidi
DNF

Oh, how I wanted to love this— I’ve always secretly felt for the under appreciated sister. If this had been set after Pride and Prejudice, I’m fairly certain boredom would not have set in.

What I didn’t want to read was “Pride and Prejudice” through the eyes of an unloved sister. If I wanted that, I would have read the original for the fifth or sixth time again!

Sad. So sad. Must move on.

PS— I’m pretty sure I know the ending, but I returned it without reading the last few chapters so please m
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Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Check out my review on booktube: https://youtu.be/cw678_68IfU ...more
Umut Rados
It would have been soooo much better if it was shorter.
Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨
Oct 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
MARY BENNET FINALLY FINDS HER PLACE

In my opinion, Mary Bennet has always been somewhat of a question mark. Who is she? What does she dream of? And where is she going after the ending of Pride and Prejudice? Austen left Mary's story wide open for interpretation - and Hadlow is a great interpreter. Her story seems plausible as well as relatable. She develops a Mary, that you sympathize with and what the best for. And she adds a layer of cruelty to Mrs. Bennet that I found very credible.

👍 What I L
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Annette
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

Mary Bennet, the middle sister, possesses neither beauty not charm shared by her sisters. The ugly duckling becomes the subject of many conversations. She finds consolation in music as she has no talent for drawing or painting and no patience for needlework. To stretch her intellect, Mary asks her mother to hire a governess, which is met with bleak enthusiasm. She is directed to Mr. Bennet’s library to read to her heart’s content. To her surprise the first book she picks is written by a
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Sophia
The oft forgotten of the five Bennet sisters who may have been a reader’s source of amusement or irritation, engendered pity or magnanimous sympathy comes endearingly alive in Janice Hadlow’s gentle opus to Mary, the other sister who must follow a very different path to happiness.

The Other Bennet Sister opens when Mary Bennet is a young girl happy and content with herself and her life until slowly she becomes aware of a miserable truth. She’s plain and unattractive. Jane the pretty sister and Li
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Katherine
I don't really know how to describe how much I loved this.

The Other Bennet Sister is a clear window into Pride and Prejudice and it's beloved cast of characters. But instead of Lizzie, this time we follow the other (rather forgotten) Bennet sister, Mary.

In the classic original story, Mary is easy to make fun of. She's somber, plain, slouches away from others, cheerlessly pious, lacks charm and any liveliness that her sisters all seem to possess. But I never stopped to consider why Mary was this
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Anna Luce
DNF 50% (my first DNF of 2020...).

Janice Hadlow's version of Mary Bennet struck me as a Georgian era version of today's "I'm not like other girls" girl.
Mary Bennet has already been the subject of many sequels and re-tellings (there is a great article on her character called There’s Something About Mary Bennet) but I don't think that Hadlow's vision of her is particularly compelling or improving.
In The Other Bennet Sister Mary is painted as the overlooked underdog (which fair enough, Hadlow want
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Melanie
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
If it wasn’t so long, it would have been better.
Daphne
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Ugh.

I was overjoyed when I saw this book at my local bookshop as I loved the idea of Mary’s story put to the page. It seemed so promising. And it was at first.

Then it turned into Pride and Prejudice 2.0 (Mary’s POV), until Part Two where it jolts two years into the future. I remained hopeful it would not be too fanfic-y.

The latter half of Part 3 and onwards saw an intelligent, burdened, lonely story turn into too much a RomCom for me. Mary gets a makeover! Mary falls in love! It was just waaaayy
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Veronique
4.25*

“Our happiness depends on ourselves”

“If I don’t have the genius to create a thing of beauty myself, at least I have the judgement to appreciate the art of others. It is better to accept what I can do, than to yearn hopelessly after what I cannot.”

While watching one of Pride and Prejudice’s adaptation for the screen (the one with Keira Knightley), I realised that Mary, the middle daughter in the Bennet family, had hidden depths and interests. Talulah Riley portrayed her not as a caricature
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Primrose Jess
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hands down. One of my most enjoyable reads this year. Prepare yourself, this will be a gushing review.

"But I think there is another difference between you and I. I have never hidden from you that I am unhappy with my circumstances and planned to do all I could to change them. But it is my situation I dislike, not myself. I'm not sure the same is true of you. It's hard to persuade anyone, especially a man, that your regard is worth having if you have none for yourself" -Charlotte Lucas

Disregar
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Eric
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pitch-perfect, this is the best continuation of a Jane Austen novel I have read. The author has captured the tone and spirit of the original, and given new life to one of its most sidelined characters, Mary Bennet. Not only that, but she has also enhanced my understanding of one of the least likeable, Mr. William Collins.

I am glad that I read this book, having initially been wary because of bad experiences with other “Jane-lite” novels, which either repeated her plots in plodding prose, or twis
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Louise
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Other Bennet Sister is a very interesting look at one of the more overlooked characters in Pride and Prejudice — the middle child, Mary Bennet.

What I really liked about The Other Bennet Sister was that Hadlow spends a lot of time really taking a good look at some of the minor characters and interactions. Mr Collins, Caroline Lucas, Miss Bingley and the ball at Netherfield are all examined and shown through another light or another point of view. She manages to create a much more three-dimens
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Susan Johnson
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: net-galley
There are many types of books that I do not particularly care for but the top of the chart is people who write for other people's characters. Yet I still fall for it and then am unhappy with myself. How does another author really know what happened to Scarlett? How can anyone else really write for Robert Parker or Rex Stout? Yet I persist in trying them hoping for the best.

And what characters seem to be rewritten the most? It seems to be Jane Austen for some reason. So here I try it again, thi
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Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
An Intimate and Sympathetic Journey with Mary Bennet

TYPE OF NOVEL: Secondary Character story about Mary Bennet, Alternate Point-of-View/Sequel

TIME FRAME: Begins before the events of P&P and jumps ahead two years after the Netherfield Ball

SYNOPSIS: Mary Bennet, plain, awkward, and not rich, with a painful childhood and sober disposition, seemed unlikely to ever achieve the success and happiness in life that blessed her fortunate sisters. From an early age, Mary learned that she is not like them.
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Nancy
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
All any of us want is a little attention, she thought...~from The Other Bennett Sister by Janice Hadlow

Poor Mary Bennett, the 'ugly duckling' sister, the comic foil, the forgotten and ignored child! Portrayed in film as squinting, clueless, socially inept, pseudo-intellectual, and plain.

Her story must be depressing. She watches her older sisters marry well for love, and her silliest, youngest sister at least snags a handsome rake. Even Charlotte Lucas gets her ever after--happy to have a home if
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Jude: The Epic Reader
I don't usually read false sequels but this one was too tempting to resist. As someone who always considers herself as more of a Mary than any other Bennet sister, I am so happy that this was written. I never felt Jane Austen gave Mary any story of her own in Pride & Prejudice and that she looked Mary over more than any other sister. I found this novel to be written beautifully and not so far off from Austen's own writing. The thoughts of Mary are very interesting to read and definitely more mel ...more
Amanda
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a sad fact of life that if a young woman is unlucky enough to come into the world without expectations, she had better do all she can to ensure she is born beautiful. To be poor and handsome is misfortune enough; but to be penniless and plain is a hard fate indeed.

This was my third Jane Austen July pick this year.

I was excited to read a book about Mary Bennet, the most overlooked and neglected character in Pride and Prejudice, and this book did a superb job filling in the background about
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Marie Saville
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"She would never have believed she would come to take so much pleasure from losing herself in the city’s crowds. There was freedom, she concluded, in being one amongst so many, knowing you might never again see the people who passed you so closely with such uninterested eyes. You could be anyone - no one knew who your family was, or where you came from. It could not be more different from Meryton, where your name and history were common knowledge, and your past would always define you. Here, no ...more
Ana
There was a “twist” I did not expect. Had a good chuckle! But lawrdddd, Mrs. Hadlow is as subtle as Mr. Collins trying to get your attention in a crowd.

description
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Petra
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Other Bennet Sister is without a doubt my favourite Austen retelling. I loved how it gave space for characters like Mary Bennet and Mr Collins who are quite unappreciated and laughed at in Austen's work. I also loved all the references to Austen's other works and how they were weaved into the story. I highly recommend this brilliant book to everyone who loves Austen and especially Pride and Prejudice.
Charles Edwards-Freshwater
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
It is a truth universally acknowledged that those who attempt to pen spin offs to Austen's enduring classics must do so with a great deal of care. Janice Hadlow, authoress, assumed Janeite and charming wordsmith has managed to artfully follow in Austen's footsteps with her debut novel, forging the life of Mary Bennet into something rather riveting. This is a great triumph, as, as anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice will know, Mary Bennet is giving very little page space and is portrayed as a ...more
Caroline Middleton
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
SO GOOD. Hadlow manages the (impossible?) task of capturing Austen's wit and warmth with a slightly anachronistic introspection that really lends itself to the story - even the Austen purists will be impressed! She borrows plot points from other works, Emma in particular, to give a thread of authenticity, but otherwise the story is Hadlow's own creation.

The first part (which takes up roughly 1/3 of the novel) covers the events in Pride and Prejudice from Mary's perspective and Hadlow wastes no t
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Jenny
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: jaff, 2019-read
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It is due for release in January 2020.

When the book starts, the style of narration is so interesting. You can almost hear the author making observations about all the goings on in the Bennet household at the time of the Netherfield ball. It invites a really thoughtful examination of all the Bennets and their relationships to each other - particularly to Mary. What becomes very evident early on is that Mary has no rea
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Vonda
Mar 27, 2020 marked it as to-read
The story is about Mary Bennet, the almost forgotten Bennet sister. What a beautiful historical fiction that pays homage to Austen. . Hadlow does a great job of capturing Austen's style and details of the time period. The first part of the story drags a bit, in part because you are re-reading Pride & Prejudice from Mary's point of view. The pace picks up during the second half of the book when Mary starts telling her own story. A brilliant debut novel. ...more
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Janice Hadlow has worked at the BBC for 28 years, including more than 10 years as a top executive. She was educated at comprehensive school in Swanley, in north Kent, and graduated with a BA in history from King’s College London. She currently lives in Bath. A Royal Experiment is her first book.

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“Our happiness depends on ourselves” 8 likes
“But it is often difficult for us to recognise what virtue looks like because we so readily confuse it with pleasure. Pleasure can deliver is enjoyment - the feelings we derive from good food, good conversations, the contemplation of beauty - but these things do not last. Enjoyments are transient, but true happiness endures. That is its distinguishing quality.” 1 likes
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