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Book Review: The Forgotten Sister-Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice

The Forgotten Sister Review

18247365Jennifer Paynter’s novel tells the events of Pride and Prejudice through Mary Bennet’s eyes. The book starts years before the event of Jane Austen’s novel, and seeks to tell Mary’s story and what made her who she is. Here, readers will see Mary in a new light and even understand her better. She is not just the sister who embarrassed her family at Netherfield; she is so much more in the novel. For instance, Mary had it rough growing up: her father belittled her, she lived in the shadows of her sisters, and she was often looked at as slightly unhinged. Mary was sent away frequently, too. The book paints Mary as the oddball throughout the entire novel.

Her fringe existence with the Bennet family helps her observe events objectively. The book even adds in events that could explain some events in the novel. For example, Lizzie falls for a man similar to Mr. Darcy in her youth. The disaster of the love affair could have possibly added to her initial dislike of Darcy. After Wickham arrives in town, he impregnates the sister of Mary’s best friend. This is covered up and Mary is bound to secrecy. Mary’s morals are shaped when she watches her sisters fall in and out of love. The events make Mary a bit rigid and strict in her own behavior. The one outlet to her passion is music.

Mary loves the piano and is actually very skilled. We don’t see this in the films or even the book. Mary is able to be herself when she plays. I liked seeing this side of her in The Forgotten Sister. And in typical romantic fashion, she has a soulmate. Her soulmate goes by the name of Peter who is a poor violinist. The two have a past, his mother was Mary’s wet nurse, and the two instantly connect after not seeing each other for many years. Of course, a relationship between the two is not socially acceptable. Peter wants to head to Australia to make a name for himself, and wants Mary to go with him. The course of true love never did run smooth. Overall, the romance was written pretty well and believable. I did feel like the ending was rushed a bit. However, I do recommend it for Austen fans who want to know about Mary Bennet. It’s a good read and has enough romance to keep you happy.

Adaptation Recommendation 

I think a movie about Mary Bennet would be great. It would be interesting to see another perspective on Pride and Prejudice events. I’m thinking a short miniseries would be sufficient to cover this book. I can see a Douglas Boothe or Theo James as Peter. As for Mary, there are lots of good, young actresses out there.


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 “You had me at hello.”


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“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

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By on July 21st, 2015

About Mandi Harris

Mandi Harris is a freelance writer and blogger. If she isn't writing, she has her nose in a book. Books are her ultimate addiction. Her other weaknesses include period dramas, chocolate, and her pets. She is working on her own novels now and hopes to one day get published. You can read her book blog over at thepennedpiper.com.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: The Forgotten Sister-Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice”

  1. I heard that Lily James is going to play Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I love her in Cinderella but I’m not sure she’s the right face for E. Bennett. I’ve not read the book – I’m a bit of purist in that respect but I would love to know your comments/thoughts.


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