Mary B: An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice
The overlooked middle sister in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice casts off her prim exterior and takes center stage in this fresh retelling of the classic novel.
What is to be done with Mary Bennet? She possesses neither the beauty of her eldest sister, Jane, nor the high-spirited wit 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.
A truly unique take on the world of Pride and Prejudice, with Mary being the main character. Imaginative and different, take all of your preconceived notions about P&P and hold them back; don’t bring them with you while reading this. If you are a fan of P&P (like I am), you will be shocked by the liberties the author took with all of the beloved characters. There’s already a lot of controversy about this book and all of the negative press that it’s receiving. This actually made me want to read the novel even more and I’m glad I did. Embrace this fresh new look on the lives of these fictional characters.
I had to mull a little bit on my review for this story. I have to say Mary is the least likeable characters from Pride and Prejudice and I always was a bit curious to know her point of view on certain events. While she still did not come off as extremely likeable, I did appreciate the certain realism it brought to the beloved original story. The other sisters (besides Jane) came off as more of a caricature of their original personalities. Lydia and Kitty were more annoying and mean, and Lizzie was not as witty as she should be; she actually came off as selfish.
This story is, after all, about Mary, so my sympathies were always with her character. She easily fell in love and quite easily fell out of love too. Perhaps it’s my growing cynical nature, but I enjoyed the glimpse of the after HEA and how it was not sunshine and daisies for some.
Personally, I enjoyed this different take on the classic. It added more grit and seriousness (in certain parts). While I still prefer the original story, I do believe this brought something entirely different to the table.
Are you a fan of Pride and Prejudice? Do you read re-tellings on classics?