The Other Bennet Sister
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 handsome and poor is misfortune enough; but to be both plain and penniless is a hard fate indeed.
In Jane Austens Pride and Prejudice, Mary is the middle of the five Bennet girls and the...more
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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. Bennets library to read to her hearts content. To her surprise the first book she picks is written by a ...more
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 Theres 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 ...more
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. Shes plain and unattractive. Jane the pretty sister and Lizzy ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I was overjoyed when I saw this book at my local bookshop as I loved the idea of Marys story put to the page. It seemed so promising. And it was at first.
Then it turned into Pride and Prejudice 2.0 (Marys 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 waaaayyy ...more
And what characters seem to be rewritten the most? It seems to be Jane Austen for some reason. So here I try it again, ...more
The writing was beautiful and I loved how Mary blossomed and ...more
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 ...more
Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorite books and one I reread every year since I was seventeen. The characters, the language and the misunderstandings are one I never tire of reading about.
The Other Bennet sister is about Mary Bennet the plain bookish wallflower that is utterly annoying in the original.
Here she emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own.
I really despise sequel as usually there terrible, but The ...more
One of the most spectacular Austen retelling I have ever read! A book about everyday life, it truly dives deep into the emotional and moral compass of the characters. While telling weaving its own new tale, it perfectly struck that Austenesque style of writing.
A Pride and Prejudice retelling from Mary's point of view, this story is a breath of fresh air in a ...more
I needn't have worried. The Other Bennet Sister, Mary Bennet's arm of the story, is altogether delightful. It's honest, raw, and hopeful. It is faithful to Mary's character, loyal to the original book, and always mindful of Regency sense and sensibilities (up until the very end, but I enjoyed the story enough that I politely looked the other way at the small breaches of Regency ...more
I must confess I was quite intimidated by the size of this book the minute I received it. Therefore, I decided to take my time with it and set a certain amount of pages to read per day, to ensure I wouldn't be falling into a reading slump. Spoiler alert: my precautions were not necessary at all.
The writing was utterly delightful; smooth and consistent with the 19th century's writing style. The descriptions are on point with the era, and ...more
I was so excited to be able to read this book as I am a HUGE fan of Austen. I also have very high expectations from authors that use any of her beloved characters to create either a new novel, or a part two concept from a previous novel. Some have not been very impressive I have to say.
BUT, this book definitely fits the bill. There were so many ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
This is not just another Pride and Prejudice spin-off this is excellent quality, ...more
The Other Bennet Sister is definitely NOT a book to be judged by its cover. I really hated that cover and this is one of the rare occasions where the UK cover is just as bad. Both covers seem to picture Mary Bennet exactly as she was in Pride and Prejudice. She seems washed out in the US cover and judgmental in the UK cover.
But I loved the book.
The real Mary, or at least the version I want to be the real Mary, does begin her story as sermonizing and ...more
I will only say it seems plain to me that you long for happiness and freedom. But Im afraid the first is only to be had by embracing the second, and it takes a great deal of courage to do that. Especially for a woman. He rose, brushing the dust from his coat. For you, I ...more
Most people I know who read Jane Austen just detest Mary Bennet, the unlikable, prudish, judgmental middle sister from Pride & Prejudice. However I've always felt a little bad for her. Even in a large family, she's obviously cast out, with no allies to get her through their somewhat difficult life out in the rural countryside with nothing to do, no real prospects for her, and a highly uncertain future. It's lovely of Ms. Hadlow to imagine a different future for Mary than most of us do.
Ive always had a bit of a soft spot for Mary Bennet. She is bookish, unsociable and fails to find enjoyment in discussions about marriage and clothing we have a lot in common!
For that reason I was intrigued to pick up this book, which is not exactly a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but picks up the same characters and events from Marys perspective and ...more