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.
Narrator Marisa Calin brings a refreshing voice to the previously barely heard from and often mocked Mary Bennet, the middle and least lovely of the Bennet sisters in Jane Austen’s PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Calin’s clear, prim British-accented dialogue fits perfectly with our understanding of Mary as she speaks with her family. But her inner voice allows listeners to feel the pain of rejection and of being the undesired sister no one takes seriously–as well as her ardent hopes for more. Calin develops Mary’s voice as she ages, allowing listeners to revel in the languid hours spent in the library at Pemberley, where her sister Lizzie has settled with Mr. Darcy. It’s there that listeners hear her awakening passion for writing, for romance, and for creating a world of her own. E.E.C. © AudioFile 2018, Portland, Maine [Published: AUGUST 2018]