• The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet

  • By: Katherine Cowley
  • Narrated by: Alison Larkin
  • Length: 10 hrs and 15 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet  By  cover art

The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet

By: Katherine Cowley
Narrated by: Alison Larkin
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Publisher's Summary

Upon the death of her father, Mary Bennet’s life is thrown into turmoil. With no fortune or marriage prospects, she must rely on the kindness of her relatives. When a mysterious late-night visit by an unknown relative - a Lady Trafford from Castle Durrington - leads to an extended stay and the chance for an education, Mary gratefully accepts the opportunity. 

But even as she arrives at the castle, she’s faced with one mystery after another. Who is Lady Trafford really, and what is she hiding? Do her secrets and manipulations place the small seaside community at risk of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte? Always curious, Mary sets out to discover the answers. But when she finds the dead body of a would-be thief she outed prior to her father’s funeral, she jeopardizes her position at the castle and her family’s good name in her quest for the truth.

©2021 Katherine Cowley (P)2021 Dreamscape Media, LLC

What listeners say about The Secret Life of Miss Mary Bennet

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Surprised- Clean Mystery -good read

I'm not much of a reviewer, but I'll try. I really like listening to Alison Larkin and this book had a good semi-long play time so I spent the credit. I was very surprised. First of all It's a "spin off" of Pride and Prejudice and focuses on Mary Bennett, but it's not a romance. I feel it was worth the credit, and if things start out slow for you, just stay with it, surprises follow.

8 people found this helpful

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Cozy Period Mystery

I've already recommended this as an aromatic-friendly read. I very much enjoyed the premise and I think the author really nailed the characterization of Mary. It was good to see poor Mary take center stage and see how she grew once given a chance to make something of herself.

6 people found this helpful

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Superbly Original!

I absolutely LOOOOOVED this listen! Thank you, Katherine Cowley, for creating an incredibly unique JAFF based on Mary Bennett. The characterization of Mary Bennett stays true to canon (making it not a simple task to turn her into a lovable h) while developing a natural and believable growth in her. It is quite simply masterful! So many writers make the jump too abruptly and drastically that it is merely fantastical and without a measure of realism. Not so with this book! I absolutely can't wait for the next book and hope there will be still more to come! Alison Larkin did an outstanding job of giving the characters their own individual voices. Masterfully done!

5 people found this helpful

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An interesting Mary Bennet

I read and listened to this novel-both excellent in style and narration. I especially like the fact that this is ‘book 1’ i can’t wait to find out how this version of Mary Bennet’s life progresses!

5 people found this helpful

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A lot of fun

A fun new perspective on the Bennett’s and the Darcy’s. An interesting historical insight. Clever and clean

4 people found this helpful

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Not really a Jane Austen fanfic

I love the idea of taking one of Jane Austen's caricatures and flipping her script to allow us to see inside the character's feelings and motivations, to let the character defend herself a bit. I don't even expect the execution to be particularly masterful. Something I think the author did very well in this story is to show Mary learning social skills by imagining what her sisters would do. However, the book overall is a miss. The names are the same, but this character isn't consistent with the dysfunctional family of Pride & Prejudice, and neither are any of the others. Mary in the book overestimates herself and is frustrated about being overlooked. In a family where beauty matters first, and intellect second, she's neither beautiful nor truly intellectual. Like Mr. Collins, she's keeping the necessary courses, but not developing. Austen hints that after her sisters go away, Mary finally has a chance to bloom, and she takes it, and that's the story I would have liked this book to tell, of that character's development taking an opportunity that's opened up after her father's death. Instead, this Mary is overlooked because she's just quiet and awkward. We don't see the ego that would trip her up and might force her to learn. Instead, we see restraint from the get-go, awareness of her awkwardness, and both desire and strategy to improve her EQ.

I didn't get the impression the author particularly likes JA; the P&P component actually felt like a gimmick to pull in a fanbase who might otherwise not be interested in a regency murder mystery.

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Made it to the end

Despite many thoughts to not finish this book as I was somewhat convinced I didn’t like the main character, Mary, and her narrative. But something kept me listening until I started to like and understood the storyline.

Somewhat simplistic, but a good story. I will listen to the next book in the series.