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The Other Bennet Sister

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  8,630 ratings  ·  1,759 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, 655 pages
Published January 9th 2020 by Mantle
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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)
Joselyn Martin It may be better if you have little to no knowledge of Pride and Prejudice before reading this. For me, loving Pride and Prejudice made this book unbe…moreIt may be better if you have little to no knowledge of Pride and Prejudice before reading this. For me, loving Pride and Prejudice made this book unbearable. (less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.17  · 
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 ·  8,630 ratings  ·  1,759 reviews


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Katie Lumsden
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love this – it's a lovely, powerful and sweet book and I just adored it. ...more
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 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  ·  review of another edition
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
Umut Rados
Jun 19, 2020 rated it liked it
It would have been soooo much better if it was shorter.
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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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 waaaayy
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Olive Fellows (abookolive)
Check out my review on Booktube! ...more
AnnaLuce
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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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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Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨
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 want 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  ·  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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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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Krystal
This novel is recommended by its relation to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice but I do believe the story suffers for it.

While P&P allowed us to fall in love with love through Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, this novel chooses instead to focus on plain Mary Bennet, who is somewhat neglected by the original.

The first part is a bland retelling of P&P with the focus this time on Mary and the neglect she suffers from being plain and constantly compared to her more beautiful, livelier sisters. The second par
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Melanie
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If it wasn’t so long, it would have been better.
Primrose Jess
Sep 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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Veronique
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
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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Jude: The Epic Reader
Reread of my favorite 2020 book!

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
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Susan
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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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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 twis
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Resh (The Book Satchel)
Loved it! Perfectly captures the Jane Austen spirit and makes you feel warm and glowing as you read. This book speaks to your SOUL. I missed Mrs Bennet. I wanted more of her. But Mary, oh Mary, she has my heart.

You will love this:
- if you love Jane Austen
- if you love good books

You will not like this :
- If you want the Austen heroines to be out of character and time period and become 21st century heroines.
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 three-dimens
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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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Petra
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Caroline Middleton
Apr 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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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liv
Feb 16, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*2.5

i expected to love this book, but it just fell short of my expectations. i think my main problem with this was that i found the characters to be untrue to the source material. i also didn't really think the main conflicts in the latter part of the book were believable. so this book fell short for me unfortunately!
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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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Anna
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
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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Marie Saville
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
"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
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 rea
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Play Book Tag: The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow – 4 Stars 2 10 Feb 28, 2021 10:31AM  
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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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