Stevie Carroll's Reviews > The Other Bennet Sister

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow
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really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

Following on from my love of Pride and Prejudice pastiches and re-imaginings, I’m also happy to see sequels to the novel, particularly those focussing on the less central characters from the original story. Mary Bennet, in this case, was often overlooked or a source of humour in the novel, so it’s good to see her take centre stage in this book, whose style would do Jane Austen proud.

The first part of the book is a retelling of the early chapters of the original novel, and while it’s good to see events from Mary’s point of view and gain insight into her character, I am far more taken by the later parts of the book, set two years later and following what happens to Mary after a change in the fortunes of those still living at Longbourne. Having said that, I’m very taken with the description of how Mary got her glasses and saddened to see how her friendship with the son of the oculist who fitted them leads to an eventual decline in her self-confidence.

As with Jane and Lizzy, it is Mary’s aunt and uncle, the Gardiners, who eventually come to Mary’s rescue after she has made several attempts to find a new place for herself beyond Longbourne. They first whisk her off to London, where she explores the city, particularly the area around Cheapside, and is encouraged to try new styles of clothes and patterns of fabric by Mrs Gardiner, and also by Mr Hayward, a young lawyer friend of the Gardiners. Mr Hayward introduces Mary to poetry, particularly that of William Wordsworth, and soon the friends are planning a trip to the Lake District to visit the scenes of some of his most famous poems for themselves.

As with any Austen novel, there is also conflict. Mary finds herself the object of the attentions of another suitor – a friend to Mr Hayward – one in whom Miss Bingley has also declared an interest. When the two parties meet in the Lake District, Mary is faced with a series of dilemmas – familiar to many an Austen heroine – but in the end, love finds a way.

I enjoyed this book a lot, and enjoyed meeting so many familiar characters all over again, particularly in the scenes set after the ending of Pride and Prejudice. It was interesting to see how the various marriages from the book had turned out, and also to find out what had happened to Kitty. This is a debut novel, and I fully expect great things to come from the author in later stories.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 25, 2019 – Shelved
December 25, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
December 25, 2019 – Finished Reading

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