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Review: The Other Bennet Sister

The Other Bennet Sister

Title: The Other Bennet Sister
Author: Janice Hadlow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Page Count: 448
Published by: Henry Holt & Co. 
Date Published: March 31, 2020
You can find it here: Bookshop.org


Let’s take another look at Pride & Prejudice’s Mary Bennet – maybe the plain, brainy, wallflower of the family deserves a better ending? Maybe even one on par with her beautiful older sisters?

Janice Hadlow explores this very concept in The Other Bennet Sister, retelling the iconic story through the lens of Mary and continuing the tale past the Pride & Prejudice ending.

Much like an Austen novel, at it’s core this is a story of discovering yourself and learning to accept who you are to truly be happy, but Mary’s story takes us out of the grande country estates and into the heart of London centring on the social circles, cafes, and regulations of a completely different side of traditional Jane Austen’s stories. Both modern and classic at once, overlooked Mary finally gets the attention and ending she so rightly deserves.


I think this lovely book is going to greatly appeal to a certain audience and likely be a pain in the butt to others. The reader who will love this novel are those who enjoy a slow moving, gently told, purposefully plotted story with a fairly predictable ending. I mean, it’s a Jane Austen historical romance retelling. A romantic ending shouldn’t come as a shock right?

Movies aside, I can’t claim to be a big Jane Austen fan and so it really surprises me that this retelling both appealed to me and that I ended up loving it! I listened to this as an audiobook, which may have played a large part in my enjoyment because the audio narrator is a very calming, excellent voice actor perfectly paired with the dialogue. Without her gentle narration I could maybe see this being a bit tedious and titch too long.

Undemanding and gently told, this heartwarming story of the overlooked middle sister in the Bennet clan was perfection. I loved the modern approach to such an iconic story –  looking past beauty and focusing on intelligence, could Mary, a forever wallflower, find her happy ever after? Mary’s journey from put upon and cast aside, to strong, passionate, and convicted was very rewarding and can resonate with anyone who feels they have struggled to live up to other’s imposed expectations.

Overall it was very entertaining to imagine the continuing world where Pride & Prejudice left off and Janice Hadlow has created an authentic world that will feel genuine to Austen fans. While Mary could come across a bit downtrodden at times, I completely enjoyed her overall storyline, her fight for her agency, her complexity, her sincerity and the conversation of style over substance. Thoroughly enjoyable, heartwarming and charming. I like this Mary Bennet very much.

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