Mary B

Mary B

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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The overlooked middle sister in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice c asts off her prim exterior and takes center stage in this fresh retelling of the classic novel. I will tell you the story of how I knew myself to be plain and therefore devoid of the one virtue which it behooves every woman to have. What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high-spirited charm of second-born Lizzy. Even compared to her frivolous younger siblings, Kitty and Lydia, Mary knows she is lacking in the ways that matter for single, not-so-well-to-do women in nineteenth-century England who must secure their futures through the finding of a husband. As her sisters wed, one by one, Mary pictures herself growing old, a spinster with no estate to run or children to mind, dependent on the charity of others. At least she has the silent rebellion and secret pleasures of reading and writing to keep her company. But even her fictional creations are no match for the scandal, tragedy, and romance that eventually visit Mary's own life. In Mary B, readers are transported beyond the center of the ballroom to discover that wallflowers are sometimes the most intriguing guests at the party. Beneath Mary's plain appearance and bookish demeanor simmers an inner life brimming with passion, humor, and imagination--and a voice that demands to be heard. Set before, during, and after the events of Pride and Prejudice, Katherine J. Chen's vividly original debut novel pays homage to a beloved classic while envisioning a life that is difficult to achieve in any era: that of a truly independent woman.
Topical Term: Courtship
Sisters
Romance fiction
Electronic books
Publisher: [Place of publication not identified] : Random House Publishing Group, 2018
ISBN: 9780399592232
Branch Call Number: eBOOK
PS3603.H4485 M37 2018
Characteristics: 1 online resource

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From Library Staff

“Pride and Prejudice” told from the perspective of the plain, overlooked middle sister. Mary Bennet has always been considered “less” everything compared to vivacious Lizzy, gorgeous Jane, and even the lively youngest sisters. But now “Mary B” gets a voice – and it’s fascinating! -- Recommended b... Read More »


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LisaLou4405
Jan 06, 2020

As a fan of Pride and Prejudice I will admit that I am very protective of my view of the characters. I read this in the hopes of seeing Mary have more of a role in things. For the most part I was able to accept Ms. Chen's choices except for Elizabeth's future. I am not sure of a couple of other things but I can live with them. Brava for giving Mary some time in the spotlight!

j
jolymac
Nov 14, 2018

I have to confess that I started the book but did not finish it. And I don't normally leave a review for a DNF but this book.
I'll begin by saying I love Pride & Prejudice. I love it so much that I'm happy to read the various continuations or variations of the story. So when I saw this book, I was really excited to find something new.
At the beginning of the book, there is an encounter between Mary and Mr. Darcy at the Meryton assembly. They discuss how much they don't like to dance. When I read that my thought was 'this is not Mr. Darcy.' There is no way he would have carried on any kind of conversation with Mary. When he first appears, he is a snob and thought everyone in Meryton was beneath him. And, as he tells Elizabeth in P&P, he's 'ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers.' But I can handle making Darcy less of a snob.
As I was reading, I set the book down without a book mark and the pages flipped. When I picked the book up and I glanced down at the page and read a bit. What I read made me realize that the author of this book was taking readers to a place where Jane Austen would never have taken her characters and would not expect her characters to go. That made me skim a bit more ahead and I only got angry. That is the only word I can think of to describe my feelings.
This is not Darcy. This is not Elizabeth. This is not Colonel Fitzwilliam. The author virtually makes the Colonel into Wickham 2.0.
If an author is writing a continuation of a much loved book, they can't make the characters totally unrecognizable to readers. At the end of Pride & Prejudice, you know Darcy and Elizabeth have a lifetime of happiness but this author decides they must be sacrificed for Mary's story.
If you love Pride & Prejudice, I'd avoid this at all costs

j
JILLYJELLY
Oct 17, 2018

This took a little bit for me to get into, but once I did I had a hard time putting it down. Loved the conclusion...

w
WoodneathLaura
Aug 31, 2018

Interesting perspective with Mary's take on Pride and Prejudice. Ultimately, though, I found it unsatisfying.

e
EmilyEm
Aug 26, 2018

Mary, the middle sister of the Bennet girls of Jane Austen’s 'Pride and Prejudice' tells her side of the story and continues it after her older sisters Jane and Lizzy marry. Imaginative. Entertaining. Found unbelievable on several levels. I’m probably too familiar with the original.

SPL_Brittany Aug 17, 2018

Step into this retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice featuring the unassuming and misunderstood Miss Mary Bennett. Told from Marys' perspective, we follow her before, during, and after the events in Austen's Pride and Prejudice. As we learn on the onset, Mary has loved three times, which is more three more than anyone would have thought of her to have. But who were they?

Written in a tone that emulates Bronte's Jane Eyre and Austen's Mansfield Park, it is a leisurely read with an honest look at the realities that face a woman who is considered by others to be unattractive and dull, who finds little comfort in social settings, and little wealth to help her further the circumstances that she is born into.

Die hard fans of Austen's Pride and Prejudice will enjoy revisiting the story and beloved characters, however be forewarned that Chen has taken some liberties with Austen's text and that there are some plot twists and turns throughout this retelling.

debwalker Jun 28, 2018

It's been a while since there's been a well-reviewed re-telling of P and P. This looks like fun!

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