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Mary B: A Novel

An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice
Narrated by: Marisa Calin
Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)
Regular price: £28.89
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Summary

"Ingenious.... Mary B is a tribute not just to [Jane] Austen but to defiant women of any era." (USA Today)

The overlooked middle sister in Pride and Prejudice casts off her prim exterior and takes center stage in this fresh retelling of the classic novel.

Named one of the Best Books of the Year by Real Simple

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 19th-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, listeners 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.

Praise for Mary B

“Charming and smart...a heedless downhill pleasure - plush, ironic and illuminating.” (Newsday)

“Watching [Mary] come into her own is a delight.” (People)

“A new, wholly original perspective on the classic.... This is the ultimate Austen adaptation for our time.” (Real Simple)

“The best part about Mary’s star turn is that it bears little relation to the fates of her sisters. She’s a simmering, churning, smart woman determined to concoct an independent life.” (The Washington Post)

©2018 Katherine J. Chen (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

“Mary is an adventurer, a lover, and a heroine with far more gumption and grit than meets the eye.” (Bustle)

“Perhaps not even a newly discovered Austen manuscript could exceed the delicious pleasure of Mary B. From an unswept corner of literature, Katherine J. Chen has conjured a heroine whose story is heartbreaking, hilarious, and, finally, thrilling. Mary B is a delight.” (Susan Choi, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of American Woman and My Education

“Katherine J. Chen has dipped into Pride and Prejudice to pluck out and celebrate the seemingly most unpromising of the Bennet sisters. In giving Mary Bennet a resonant voice of her own, Chen has fashioned a luminous and enlightening novel that will entrance even, or especially, those who have not read Jane Austen’s masterpiece.” (John Banville, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Sea and Mrs. Osmond

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Mary Bennet tells her story

Mary B's story begins before P&P begins, and carries on after Lizzie and Jane marry and leave home. When Mary is first invited by Elizabeth to Pemberley, Darcy's home, and stays on for four months, she little realises how her stay there will change her own life and the fortunes of her sisters.

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  • carole thorn
  • 28-08-18

LOVED IT! Completely transported me far away.

Listened four times. Didnt want it to end. Wished I could have stayed with Mary.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • celeste curley
  • 14-08-18

Not sure what to say....

I liked parts of this book very much. I disliked parts equally as much. I think I just couldn’t accept the turn the futures, particularly of Lizzy, took in the book. The ending came quickly and rushed. And, although I think it was meant to be uplifting and triumphant I found it a bit mean-spirited and ungrateful .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-11-18

Unfortunate novel

While this book was well written it seems arrogant and foolish to deprecate one of the great classics, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin just to further one character (Mary Bennett). It was difficult to like Mary, who was dour, boring, and just hard to like. While I liked the feminist theme of the novel, the fact that the author had to denigrate everyone else so Mary could shine was unfortunate.

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  • Grandma SS
  • 01-08-18

Disappointing

The story started off good but quickly turned into a terrible romance novel. If you are a Jane Austen fan skip this one.