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Summary

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 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, she is unloved and seemingly unlovable.

The Other Bennet Sister shows another side to Mary. An introvert in a family of extroverts, a constant disappointment to her mother, who values beauty above all else, fearful of her father’s sharp tongue, with little in common with her siblings - is it any wonder she turns to books for both company and guidance? And, if she finds her life lonely or lacking, that she determines to try harder at the one thing she can be: right.

One by one, her sisters marry - Jane and Lizzy for love, Lydia for some semblance of respectability - but Mary, it seems, is destined to remain single and live out her life at Longbourn, at least until her father dies and the house is bequeathed to the reviled Mr Collins.

But when that fateful day finally comes, she slowly discovers that perhaps there is hope for her after all. 

Simultaneously a wonderfully warm homage to Jane Austen and a delightful new story in its own right, Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister is, at its heart, a life-affirming tale of a young woman finding her place in the world. Witty and uplifting, it will make you feel - and cheer - for Mary as you never have before.

©2019 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd (P)2019 Macmillan Publishers International Ltd 2019

What listeners say about The Other Bennet Sister

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Too long

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a sequel to a classic novel should not be longer than the original. I enjoyed it but it is in need of a good editor.

50 people found this helpful

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The complete Bennet story

Loved this book. Really well written in the style of Austen. Really believable. The narrator was superb and Mrs Bennet sounded so much like Alison Steadman from the BBC production that it brought it even more to life. I can thoroughly recommend it and as I was gardening throughout, it made me spend longer in the garden than I should have!

40 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable!

Completely enjoyed this! Always wondered what happened to Mary and this book shows the evolution of Mary, she starts as a sad, closed off woman and evolves into a happy woman secure in herself. Ended up being so happy for her!
Must also congratulate the narrator, the way she read the book really helps the story - she reads in the beginning in a sharp, biting tone, showing Mary's upset but as the book goes on her tone softens as Mary does. I do think her narration helps you realise and understand the pain she felt and how she changes.

29 people found this helpful

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I love and hate this book in equal measures

Pride and prejudice is one of my fave stories ever and this book is brilliant in how it revisits some of the fringe characters and brings them alive - Mr Collins, Charlotte, Aunt Gardiner and Miss Bingly, I just adore what the author has done with them - 5 stars. And the narrator does great voices for them, very a lá bbc dramatisation which is epic. The new characters are enjoyable too, as is the deeper look into the lives of ordinary people living in those times. But Mary! She is such a stupid, stupid individual. She seems to learn nothing from her experiences. She was merely irritating in part 1. But in part 2, how she behaves with Mr Rider generally, won't speak up or confide in her aunt and gets the hump with Mr Heyward when she is no better GRRRRR! The book is 3 hours longer than it needs to be because of her stupidity - seriously, I feel like pushing Mary off the top of bloody Scarfell. I am almost tempted not to listen to the last 3 hours because Mary doesnt deserve a happy ending. But I will, because everything in this book, apart from Mary, is fabulous! UPDATE: once she had suffered for two long months, and made me suffer along with her, Mary finally learned to say what she was thinking and was much less annoying. Story had lovely ending :)

21 people found this helpful

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Here’s to Mary!

I enjoyed this so much. To begin with it is a very clever parallel to a plot we know well from Pride and Prejudice. It then continues on from where that plot ends and gathers a huge momentum, with hugely enjoyable insights into life during that period en route. Very clever and well done. I will read or watch P&P very differently next time.

The narrator I felt got Mary just right.

20 people found this helpful

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Perfection

This was just perfect and was so well crafted a novel that captures the ambiance of the original

20 people found this helpful

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Novel concept, but so looooooong winded!

Not the first writer to do a Pride and Pred sequel this one is told from the point of view of the most minor Bennet sister - Mary. Ms Hadlow attempts to take a 2D character 3D. She makes a valiant stab at fleshing out the character pre the original novel, touches base where we see her in Austin’s master piece and then moves her life onwards to its own satisfactory, but predictable conclusion. On the way Mary encounters supporting characters from the original book. (Charlotte Lucas has morphed into a bit of a manipulative cow - nice touch), but the whole thing drags and lurches through the plot at snails pace which is a pity. One saving grace is the fabulous narrator whose range of vocals almost had me thinking some of the female actors from the famous BBC production of 1995 were actually speaking.

16 people found this helpful

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disappointing

I was really excited to listen to this , especially as a review said it was written in an Austen like way.
Unfortunately I found it really dull and gave up in chapter 5. The Narrator is very lucklustre and not very lively apart from when she reads Mrs Bennets parts.

9 people found this helpful

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utter rubbish

Background noise to fall asleep to. A real disappointment. Not worth the money/listening time. dreadful.

8 people found this helpful

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Long winded but well narrated

I enjoyed the sorry but felt that it cut have been much better if it was shorter. I appreciated Mary’s transformation but I felt her morose nature in the first half of the story was very heavy handed. Mrs Bennett’s character was very two dimensional and entirely lacked any of the depth that comes across in P&P, I also felt the same for Mr Darcy, Lizzy and Jane.

Overall I enjoyed the story but I don’t imagine I would listen to it again.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 27-07-20

Just like Jane Austen, only more compassionate!

l love this book so much!
Sounds exactly like Jane Austen. Mary's journey from timidity/hopelessness to triumph is very touching.
The narrator is amazing too!
Her voice is really versatile.