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The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice by [Paynter, Jennifer]
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The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet's Pride and Prejudice Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews

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Length: 440 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

About the Author

Jennifer Paynter is the author of the plays God’s People, Balancing Act, and When Are We Going to Manly?, the last being nominated for a Sydney Theatre Critics’ Circle Award and the NSW Premiere’s Literary Award. Her plays have been produced in Sydney and Canberra and for ABC Radio, and her short story “The Sad Heart of Ruth” is an ABC Bicentennial Award winner. The Sydney Morning Herald hails the Australian edition of The Forgotten Sister as an “impressive literary achievement and a delightful read,” and the Brisbane Courier Mail says it “succeeds in inviting us back into the world of Longbourn and the Bennet family and their preoccupation with marriage, money and social class.” Paynter lives in Australia with her family.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2593 KB
  • Print Length: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (14 Jan. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DB8PEOU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 97 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,181 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I liked the idea of The Forgotten Sister. Mary Bennet is a pretty marginalised character in Pride and Prejudice (so is Kitty, she is basically Lydia’s shadow), but I wonder what makes her so much different from her sisters.

Paynter tries to address this problem, and she does, to a point. However she makes the other sisters (especially Elizabeth) seem pretty horrible in turn, and that just doesn’t seem canon to me. Surely if Elizabeth really disliked Mary that would come up in Pride and Prejudice itself?

For a long time I didn’t really like Mary, although by the end I did. Actually it sort of reminded me of Little Women, but with just one main character. The end didn’t seem quite to fit with the rest of the story either. Mary didn’t seem so much like Mary from it, or at least the Mary of the rest of the story. However I did get more into the story by the end, so I was enjoying it, despite inconsistency.

I think a problem with writing sequels to books by other authors is that it’s hard to get the tone right, and (especially with well known books like Pride and Prejudice) everybody already has their own ideas, and their own like and dislikes about the original book- which are hard not to hit on when another person writes about a book.
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As well as the use of American spellings in this most English of literature, I found the wholesale lifting of some passages and speeches from the original a bit - shall we say startling? It takes a lot to live up to J.A.
If you can get past that, then the characters are developed credibly and behave according to the manners of the period... or break them if necessary.
I did get interested in the plot, but wonder if I would buy another on, say, Kitty
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Oh I love this story. Dovetailing with Pride and Prejudice we see the story of Mary's sisters through her eyes and get a glimpse of their futures too. Mary turns out to be a cygnet who turns into a strong willed swan who flies furthest from the nest. Painter has thought long and hard about why Mary is as she is. What could have happened to isolate her from her older and younger sisters? Well researched and making good use of the social changes that Pride and Prejudice teeters on the edge of, what emerges is a young woman who doesn't quite know who she is or where she belongs, socially gauche yes but sensitive too. In P&P Mary is a foil to her other pairs of sisters adding interest and humour to the narrative but we don't really care about her somehow. Here we discover a real person who's partial knowledge of her own sisters lives contributes to her sense of isolation.

***Spoiler alert ***

One of the things I love about the book is that Paynter has thought carefully about what secrets Mary might know that her sisters do not.
Thus she places Mary in a situation in which she becomes aware of Wickham's true nature BEFORE Lydia has even met him. However her position in the family means that her fragile attempts to warn go unheeded. Mary has been sworn to silence in any case by the sister of the unfortunate victim, whose disgrace must be hidden at all costs, but her understanding about the whole situation is confused since nothing is clearly stated. Her understanding is assumed.

I feel that Paynter has been very successful in putting herself in Mary's skin and seeing through her eyes. Inside the gauche, lonely and rather introverted Mary is a young woman who is sensitive and caring and not afraid to take risks.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Imaginative expansion of the Bennett girls story. It can stand alone even if the reader is unfamiliar with Miss Austen's classic
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I can't quite understand how this book has received unfavourable reviews. I found it to be such a lovely story for Mary, and about time she got a book of her own. The story follows Mary from childhood, growing up in the shadow of her two beautiful elder sisters and the silly younger ones, never really fitting into either group, so it's no wonder she suffered from melancholy in her younger years and felt ostracized.

The book follows through the original P & P story, but from Mary's experience of it, which understandably is quite different from her sisters, so I don't feel that it covers the story as told by Jane Austen as it was never meant to. There's a huge market for P & P variations at the moment, and for me, this was a breath of fresh air and I loved every minute of it. Just don't expect Mary to be another Jane or Lizzie because she never was, and that is probably how she became the forgotten sister.

Well worth a read for any P & P fans and I sincerely hope that the author is working on the next one.
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I thought that this rewriting of 'Pride and Prejudice' was very skilful and must have involved a great deal of research. I noticed many archaic words, current in Jane Austen's time, which gave the story verisimilitude, and completed the illusion of being in the early years of the 19th century. The characters were developed very well, and I found the subplots, involving slightly 'improper' revelations that Miss Austen would not have been able to notice as fully in her time, very interesting and revealing. On the whole a very clever and thought provoking novel. Incidentally it also reflects with great credit on Jane Austen, as her original characters have proved quite sound enough to bear the additional weight of Jennifer Paynter's work on them. If I have anything to criticize, it is that the story seemed to end slightly lamely – there was the obligatory happy ending and Mary got her man and lived happily in Australia, but the narrative seemed to tail off and leave us wondering why the story, excellent though it is, had been written. Maybe Jennifer has thoughts of a sequel, but I don't know that I would find such a book, divorced from its roots, at all compelling.
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