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The Other Bennet Sister

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  79 ratings  ·  38 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
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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 9th 2020 by Mantle
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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Roman Clodia
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
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
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Annette
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Daphne
Jan 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Eric
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
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Jenny
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-read, jaff
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
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Louise
Nov 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Dee/ bookworm
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always wonder about Mary when reading or watching Pride and Prejudice, so I was thrilled to get this novel. I really like the authors take on Mary. It brought the Bennett family in focus from a much different view, and while entertaining, it didn't deviate from Austen's novel, only added to it.

I like how Mary, by herself, became a strong character and was very smart. She was book smart and smart with her decisions. I like how you saw a lot of true emotion from her character and how in the end
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Roberta
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is extremely long - it took me 10 hours to read, compared to the 3 or 4 a normal length novel takes me. Parts one and two are largely composed of the melancholy reflections of Mary, (both before and after the marriages of Lydia, Jane and Elizabeth) who seems utterly miserable.

It was interesting to see the Bennet family from a different perspective, and I did enjoy seeing Mary growing up and working out how she wanted to live.

There are many typos and other errors, for example part two
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Pan Macmillan Australia
According to Wikipedia, which has reams and reams of material on Pride and Prejudice, you’ll find nearly 200 years’ worth of reprints, unofficial sequels, spin-offs, plays, TV series and movies, including the Pride and Prejudice-inspired Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and P.D. James’s detective novel Death Comes to Pemberley. There are dozens and dozens of adaptations and continuations.

This is not just another Pride and Prejudice spin-off – this is excellent quality,
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Anna Louise
Jan 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2020
This was an intriguing look into the most unloved Bennet sister from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Mary is often portrayed as the plain, spinsterish music snob without much in depth look into her thoughts and feelings - which we thankfully get in spades in this reimagined Austen world.

Whilst I enjoyed this book and seeing things from Mary’s perspective, I felt that a few characters came across a little unfeeling - I have no doubt that Mr Darcy would have put more of an effort in making her
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Laura
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am a huge fan of Pride and Prejudice but must confess I have never given much thought to Mary and her experiences so when I saw this book available I jumped at the opportunity to experience one of my favourite stories from a new perspective.

The beginning of The Other Bennett sister is set in the same timeline as the events of Pride and Prejudice and offers Mary’s perspective of those events. I enjoyed learning more about how Mary’s character had developed through the effect of her mothers
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Sarah
Aug 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Janice Hadlow’s first novel is an entertaining read, written in the tone of and with the underlying philosophical interests of its very much older sister, ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Poor Mary Bennet who, both in the novel and in its contemporary screen adaptations, is given very little attention, is centre stage in ‘The Other Bennet Sister’.
In many ways Hadlow develops Mary’s character very effectively. The reader can imagine why she suffers from such low self-esteem: very poor parenting, the odd
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Nancy
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Kate
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book does for Mary Bennet what 'The Lizzie Bennet Diaries' did for Lydia Bennet - paid homage to the original text, but made you love her, root for her, commiserate with her, and cheer for her when she won her proper ending. There cannot be much higher praise from me.

I loved the exploration of Mary as a younger girl, seeing the Bennet household through her eyes and how she became the awkward, discomforted young woman that we saw in P&P. Hadlow keeps a few key scenes in so we can see
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cailleach
Jan 06, 2020 rated it liked it
THis book tells the story of Mary, the awkward, plain middle sister out of the Bennet's from Pride and Prejudice. I found the story over long (way, way too over long) and quite dull in that towards the last third it became rather a chore to finish. Howver, there is a good book in here, it just needed a lot of editing and to be a similar length to Jane Austen books not the brick thick book publishers seem to favour at the moment. I'm invariably disappointed with sequels or offshoots of classics ...more
Jo-anne Atkinson
Blessed with neither good looks, wit or vivacity Mary Bennet was the invisible one of the five daughters of Mr and Mrs Bennet of Meryton. When she realises that she needs to wear spectacles her mother despairs of her ever marrying and when she attempts to draw attention to herself at the ball she is humiliated. After her sisters marry and her father dies Mary is dependent on the kindness of family as she has no permanent home and she becomes more introverted as she feels she is a burden. Finally ...more
Vivienne
My thanks to Pan Macmillan/Mantle for an eARC via NetGalley of ‘The Other Bennet Sister’ by Janice Hadlow in exchange for an honest review.

It was published on 9 January and as the audiobook, narrated by Kristin Atherton, was available when I began reading, I listened to this in conjunction with reading the eARC.

“In Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Mary is the middle of the five Bennet girls and the plainest of them all, so what hope does she have? Prim and pious, with no redeeming features,
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Rona Nimmo
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The other Bennett sister by Janice Hadlow
This the story of Mary Bennett from the Bennett Family of Pride & prejudice fame. As the very plain quiet scholastic middle daughter of 5 daughter the other 4 very beautiful. She is very much teased ridiculed and unloved in a very narcissistic household. She is also very clever and misunderstood. As the other daughters find suitors of good fortune. The family circumstances change when Mr Bennett dies and Mary must leave Longford the family home. As we
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Loves
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an early review copy from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review and all thoughts are my own and freely given.

This book is written in the same vein as Pride and prejudice and the first part of the book mirrors the storyline from the original but this time told from Mary Bennets POV . You can't help but feel empathy for Mary's situation . Mrs Bennet is indifferent to her , Mary's lack of good looks a continuing annoyance to her mother. After the death of Mr Bennett ,Mary is the
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Lindsey
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mary Bennet of Pride and Prejudice is plain and actually somewhat sympathetic since her parents are less than stellar and she's the often overlooked sister. This book gives her depth that P&P does not, and right off the bat, I sympathized with this version of Mary. This is almost a coming of age story, Mary is trying to find a long term plan for herself, with her own interests. Along the way, she develops relationships of different varieties and grows as the story progresses.

One of the
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Louise
Oct 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sharyn
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley-2020
Firstly I want to thank NetGalley and the publishers for the opportunity to read and review an unproofed e_ARC.

I thought this was an excellent Pride and Prejudice continuation, one of the best I have read. The development of Mary's character really worked for me and it felt like an almost seamless progression from Austen's classic. I enjoyed the new characters and the new locations. I am hoping the much needed editing and proofreading doesn't alter the final offering too much. It would make a
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Jewels
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable read featuring many familiar characters from Pride and Prejudice. I found it a little hard-going to begin with but once I got into it made good progress.

It was interesting to see how the author extrapolated various strands from the original novel and developed them, as well as introducing new characters and storylines.

Without giving anything away I was also pleased by the final outcome.

I'd be interested to read more by this author.

My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for an ARC.
Marianne
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beautifully and sensitively written, I did enjoy this view of the Bennet family from Mary’s perspective. Initially it was a pleasure to slip back into Longbourn, and I frequently forgot I was not reading Jane Austin. However, I did feel part one was overlong and I got impatient for the story to advance. Thankfully the story got more interesting as Mary gathered confidence and learned to accept love from the warmth of the Gardiner family, it was to be a life changing experience for her.
Fans of
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Mrs Penelope A Cottell
Dec 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lovers of Jane Austin will love this book.
The first part is a reprieve of Pride and Prejudice but from Mary’s perspective and then it continues to tell Mary’s story and the problems this strong willed lady had to deal with not only from her family but also the confined rules of society in Regency times.
The delight is that the way it is written you could actually believe that it was written by Jane Austin herself.
Beautiful story cannot recommend it enough
Lorri Steinbacher
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mary always deserved a happy ending too and now she has it. I'm a sucker for P & P retellings so this was right up my alley. Hadlow remains true to the characters while allowing that things may not have been exactly as they seemed at Longbourn. Any writer who can make you sympathize with Mr. Collins has done a great job.

Recommended for Pride and Prejudice fans who are not purists.
Kathrin Peters
Nov 30, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What is the point of this book? A pastiche following on from Pride and Prejudice, without Jane Austen's wit. It is full of predictable and one-dimensional characters, either very worthy or very objectionable. I plodded through to the end because of a book group meeting but I would not recommend it. It seems written to become a costume film. Watch this space.
Kristin Davison
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs
3.5 stars

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

I enjoyed this continuation of P&P following Mary, especially with the characters visiting the Lakes. I found it quite a long book, it could have done with cutting down on the parts that take place during the original novel.
Zubeth
Sep 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
A nice, gentle read full of both familiar and new characters. The tone and style of the book was spot on. The story was undemanding yet also held my interest. It was a pleasant change from the usual gory crime stuff I read.
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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.