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Publisher's Summary

"A new, wholly original perspective on [Pride and Prejudice]...the ultimate Austen adaptation for our time." [Real Simple, "Best Books of 2018 (So Far)"]

Named a best summer read by Newsday, Bustle, and Family Circle

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.

Praise for Mary B:

"Pride and Prejudice's beloved story is re-spun through the eyes of mousy, overlooked - and now feminist - middle child, Mary." (Family Circle)

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

Critic Reviews

“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)

“[This] fresh novel of manners... is a reimagining of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the quiet middle sister, Mary Bennet.... But here, Mary is shaped into a feminist hero.... Chen’s work is compelling.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[A] charming and thoroughly satisfying debut... Chen’s lively retelling proves that centuries after its creation, Mary’s story deserves to be told.” (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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LOVED IT! Completely transported me far away.

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

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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 .

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

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

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  • Devaki Khanna
  • 10-14-18

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.