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  1 The Other Bennet Sister: A Novel
Author: Hadlow, Janice
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Class: Fiction
Age: Adult
Language: English
Demand: Hot
LC: PR6108.A

Print Run: 60000
ISBN-13: 9781250129413
LCCN: 2019028704
Imprint: Henry Holt & Company
Pub Date: 03/31/2020
Availability: Available
List: $27.99
Physical Description: 463 pages ; 25 cm H 9.58", W 6.35", D 1.61", 1.43 lbs.
LC Series:
Brodart Sources: Brodart's Insight Catalog: Adult
Awards: Booklist Starred Reviews
Kirkus Starred Reviews
Library Journal Starred Reviews
Publishers Weekly Starred Reviews
Starred Reviews: Booklist
Kirkus Reviews
Library Journal
Publishers Weekly
TIPS Subjects: Historical Fiction
Domestic Fiction
Regency Fiction
BISAC Subjects: FICTION / Historical / General
FICTION / Family Life / General
FICTION / Romance / Historical / Regency
LC Subjects: Love stories
Sisters, Fiction
Young women, England, Fiction
SEARS Subjects: Love stories
Regency novels
Reading Programs:
ONIX annotations | 01/13/2020
"Jane fans rejoice! . . . Exceptional storytelling and a true delight." -Helen Simonson, author of the New York Times bestselling novels Major Pettigrew's Last Stand and The Summer Before the War Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice's five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own. What if Mary Bennet's life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of Janice Hadlow's The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Jane Austen fans. Ultimately, Mary's journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself-and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love. Mary's destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character-complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.
Starred Reviews:
Booklist | 03/15/2020
Mary Bennet could never compete with her beautiful older sisters, and Pride and Prejudice presents her as a priggish foil to Lizzie's wit and intelligence. Hadlow gets justice for Mary in her debut novel, revealing a girl who is constantly told that she is wrong (directly, by her mother, and indirectly by everyone else), who seeks to rectify that misperception through a deep study of history and philosophy. It doesn't help, as she is ill-equipped to express the feelings stirred by her reading, and, on top of that, she requires glasses. She has a childhood ally in Bennet family servant Mrs. Hill, but it is not until all of her sisters are married and she stays in London with her aunt and uncle that she is empowered to bloom. Hadlow smartly skips over the bulk of Austen's plot, though devotees of the original will be intrigued by Mary's time with the Darcys, the Bingleys, and the Collinses. The writing is dense, but captures the esprit de Austen, immersing the reader in Mary's internal world as she keenly (though, at first, awkwardly) observes those around her, and the result is a page-turning coming-of-age story of an overlooked woman slowly accepting her zest for life. YA/General Interest: Teen fans of Austen's original, especially those of a bookish persuasion, will be moved and thrilled by Mary's gradual and authentic transformation. Susan Maguire. AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION, c2020.
Kirkus Reviews | 01/15/2020
Another reboot of Jane Austen?!? Hadlow pulls it off in a smart, heartfelt novel devoted to bookish Mary, middle of the five sisters in Pride and Prejudice. Part 1 recaps Pride and Prejudice through Mary's eyes, climaxing with the humiliating moment when she sings poorly at a party and older sister Elizabeth goads their father to cut her off in front of everyone. The sisters' friend Charlotte, who marries the unctuous Mr. Collins after Elizabeth rejects him, emerges as a pivotal character; her conversations with Mary are even tougher-minded here than those with Elizabeth depicted by Austen. In Part 2, two years later, Mary observes on a visit that Charlotte is deferential but remote with her husband; she forms an intellectual friendship with the neglected and surprisingly nice Mr. Collins that leads to Charlotte's asking Mary to leave. In Part 3, Mary finds refuge in London with her kindly aunt and uncle, Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner. Mrs. Gardiner is the second motherly woman, after Longbourn housekeeper Mrs. Hill, to try to undo the psychic damage wrought by Mary's actual mother, shallow, status-obsessed Mrs. Bennet, by building up her confidence and buying her some nice clothes (funded by guilt-ridden Lizzy). Sure enough, two suitors appear: Tom Hayward, a poetry-loving lawyer who relishes Mary's intellect but urges her to also express her feelings; and William Ryder, charming but feckless inheritor of a large fortune, whom naturally Mrs. Bennet loudly favors. It takes some maneuvering to orchestrate the estrangement of Mary and Tom, so clearly right for each other, but debut novelist Hadlow manages it with aplomb in a bravura passage describing a walking tour of the Lake District rife with seething complications furthered by odious Caroline Bingley. Her comeuppance at Mary's hands marks the welcome final step in our heroine's transformation from a self-doubting wallflower to a vibrant, self-assured woman who deserves her happy ending. Hadlow traces that progression with sensitivity, emotional clarity, and a quiet edge of social criticism Austen would have relished. Entertaining and thoroughly engrossing. 448pg. KIRKUS MEDIA LLC, c2020.
Library Journal | 03/01/2020
DEBUT The "other Bennet sister" in this delightful semi-sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice is Mary, the plain middle sister between the beautiful Jane and Lizzy and the pretty, flighty, and irresponsible Kitty and Lydia. But instead of the moralizing and slightly censorious spinster of the original, this Mary is shy and withdrawn, deeply wounded by her mother's constant comparisons between her and her sparkling sisters. Instead of turning into a prig, Mary takes her life into her own hands as is possible for her time and finds her own way to love and happiness. This is a charming and enchanting story featuring one of the overlooked characters of a beloved classic. While the cast feels very much as remembered from the original, Mary comes into her own after being browbeaten by her overbearing mother at every turn. In adulthood she manages to find the inner fortitude to make her own path once she emerges from her family's shadow. VERDICT Readers with fond but not necessarily exhaustive memories of Pride and Prejudice will love this story, as will historical fiction readers looking for intelligent heroines with agency and heart who belong to their time and place without quite fitting in. Marlene Harris, Reading Reality, LLC, Duluth, GA. 448p. LIBRARY JOURNAL, c2020.
Publishers Weekly | 04/20/2020
Mary Bennet, the overlooked and unlikable fifth sister in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, learns to see herself and others clearly in Hadlow's spectacular debut novel (after A Royal Experiment: The Private Life of George III). Born without the beauty her mother prizes or the wit needed to win her father's attention, Mary takes refuge in books and study. By the time her sisters marry and her father dies, Mary's self-esteem, optimism, and trust in others have vanished. Then a happy stay with her aunt and uncle Gardiner in London offers a new perspective, suggesting that she must value herself in order to be valued by others. Naturally for an Austen-inspired novel, with self-awareness comes the possibility of true love. Writing in prose with the crisp liveliness of Austen's own, Hadlow remains true to the characterizations in Pride and Prejudice without letting them limit her. Mary's emergence from priggish insecurity is beautifully imagined; Austen's smarmy Mr. Collins gets a surprising but convincing rehabilitation, the Gardiners are joyously fleshed out, and London, never visited in the Austen canon, comes vividly to life. Equal to the best Austen spin-offs, including Jo Baker's Longbourn, this will delight Janeites as well as lovers of nuanced female coming-of-age tales. (Mar.). 480p. Web-Exclusive Review. PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, c2020.
Journal Reviews
BookPage | 05/01/2020
Janice Hadlow's absolutely magical The Other Bennet Sister invites us into the world of one of the less celebrated sisters from Pride and Prejudice, Mary. The middle child, Mary is plain, bookish and completely outshone by her beautiful older sisters, Jane and Lizzy, and her lively younger sisters, Lydia and Kitty. One by one, the other Bennet sisters are married and settled. Yet Mary struggles to find her place in a world oriented around the belief that marriage--not knowledge--is the only path to happiness for women. The sisters are "all read well enough and knew enough history and geography not to look absolutely foolish in company. Anything more was not only unnecessary, but probably unwise." Education is not included in Mrs. Bennet's list of wifely qualities, and she has "no desire to add to her daughters' disadvantages by burdening them with a reputation for cleverness."Mrs. Bennet is borderline abusive to her least charming daughter, and Mary withers in a family that neither supports her thirst for knowledge nor shows her any affection. After her father's death turns the family estate over to a male cousin, Mary finds herself without a secure home or future. She lands with her aunt and uncle in London where, in the bustling city, she takes the first tentative steps toward choosing her own life trajectory. Hadlow is a former journalist, having run two of the BBC's major television channels. It is a marvel that The Other Bennet Sister is her first novel. Her writing is elegant and wry, the story wise and engrossing. I had to keep reminding myself I wasn't actually reading Austen. BOOKPAGE, c2020.