Martin's Must Reads: 'The Other Bennet Sister'

Aug 25, 2020

“It is a sad fact of life that if a young woman is unlucky enough to come into the world without expectations, she had better do all she can to ensure she is born beautiful. To be poor and handsome is misfortune enough; but to be penniless and plain is a hard fate indeed.” 

I’m Betty Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and those are the first lines from Janice Hadlow’s novel The Other Bennet Sister. The first part of this book will be familiar to anyone who knows the story Pride and Prejudice although this time it’s told from the point of view of Mary, the plain and awkward of the five sisters who yearns for love from her family and her father in particular.

As the story progresses Mr. Bennet dies and Mary and her mother must leave the family home that is inherited by the Collins. Mary moves from home to home of her older married sisters and then back to her family home to live with her friend Charlotte Collins and try to figure out her future. It’s not until she moves in with her aunt and uncle,The Gardners, and their happy brood that she begins to come into her own.

Her aunt’s gentle and encouraging manner draws Mary out, but it’s their friend Tom Hayward who helps her to truly discover who she is and what she wants. As the jacket cover says “In this boldly conceived and masterfully delivered debut, Mary Bennet is a fully rounded character - complex and conflicted, vulnerable and supremely sympathetic.” Written in the same style as Pride and Prejudice, this is a wonderful sequel.

If you have always loved the novel Pride and Prejudice, then you must read The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow.