The Other Bennet Sister
By Janice Hadlow
Published by Pan Macmillan Mantle
9th January 2020
What it’s about?
What happened to the Bennet sisters once Pride and Prejudice ended?
Mr Bennet has died, the Collinses have inherited Longbourn, and with her sisters all now married, dowdy middle daughter Mary and her mother are dividing their time between the Bingleys and the Darcys. Feeling uncomfortable and in the way, Mary heads first to visit the Collinses and then the Gardiners.
Serious, socially awkward and constantly reminded that she is the ugly duckling if the family, Mary hopes to find a place where she fits it and may even find love.
What I think:
This was a book of two halves for me. I found the first section of the book, which is essentially a revisit of Pride and Prejudice but from Mary’s perspective a bit slow.
Once the writer was beyond the world of the original novel and had more freedom to develop Mary’s character she really came alive for me.
The glimpse into the future world of the Collinses, who had married for mutual convenience rather than love, was revealing and realistic. Charlotte Collins is unerringly pragmatic until she sees Mr Collins’ attentiveness to Mary.
Mary’s own relationships with potential suitors Mr Haywood and Mr Ryder are very much in the tradition of Austen and Mary’s holiday to the Lake District echoes Lizzy’s trip to Derbyshire that led her to Darcy
Caroline Bingley and Lady Catherine De Bourgh are just as horrid as ever. Although you can’t help but have some sympathy for Caroline who is more than aware that her chances of making an eligible match are waning and still holds a grudge against the Bennet sisters.
Mary blossoms in this book. She becomes much more than the figure of fun she is in the original. I was really happy for her and the life she makes for herself at the end of the book.
This is definitely going to appeal to a lot of Pride and Prejudice fans when it’s published next year.
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.
You can preorder a copy of The Other Bennet Sister at:
Waterstone’s: click here