Title: The Other Bennet Sister
Author: Janice Hadlow
Length: 510 pages
Publisher: Mantle Books
Are you like me and you wanted to know more about Mary Bennet, the middle sister from ‘Pride and Prejudice’? Then this is the book for you! I was lucky to get sent a proof copy and I couldn’t wait to read it.
Synopsis: 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 any of 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’s 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.
I think it’s fair to say that I adored this book.
This book follows the life of Mary Bennet. Remember her from Pride and Prejudice? The middle sister who wasn’t married? Yep, that’s right, it’s Mary’s turn to shine. And boy, does she shine bright.
Part one of this novel is a bit like a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ recap, but from Mary’s point of view. So you don’t have to have read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to read this, but why wouldn’t you read it? Here’s what made me like this book instantly, you immediately feel for Mary. Her mother, Mrs Bennet, is so harsh to her and her sister almost just put up with her. So I just sympathised with her right away and became invested.
Now when I say I became invested I mean it. I loved Mary’s character. I loved her because she’d been told her whole life she wasn’t pretty, she decided to focus on her education. In parts two and three, you really see her breakthrough and become who’s she meant to be, who she’s always wanted to be. Released from the burden of her mother, Mary finds a new life for herself and it’s truly wonderful to read. It’s one of the many joys of ‘The Other Bennet Sister’.
Now, this book had a romance. And it was a good one. It was a real slow burn romance, which you all know I love. I was willing them to get together. All I’ll say is the ending caused me to shed a few tears. There’s was even a bit of a love triangle, which I’m normally not a fan of, but it was so well done I actually enjoyed it. The love triangle was believable because the characterisation had been done so perfectly, I wondered as reader ‘should Mary turn down this proposal? Or should she wait for true love?’. I told you I became invested! I’ll let you read it to find out which she picked.
This book is brimming with fantastic characters. Mary is obviously the star of the show and I enjoyed her. I loved the sort of modern edge Janice Hadlow gave her. But with all the old favourites returning from ‘Pride and Prejudice’ plus plenty of new characters to expand on the world Jane Austen created, it just works perfectly.
It also works so well because Janice Hadlow has been incredibly smart and used ‘Pride and Prejudice’ as a base but has built up this world beautifully. It’s feel like the big sister to ‘Pride and Prejudice’. I honestly couldn’t put this book down, I was desperate to reach the end. But I also didn’t want it to end. That’s how you know it’s a good book, when you hit the dilemma.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I want shout about how much I loved this book. If you’re a fan of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ you’ll love it. If not, you’ll still love this book, because of its charming story and wonderful characters. I’m so glad I read this.
Thank you to Rosie and Mantle Books for gifting me with a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out January 9th.
Until the next review