Book Review: Mary B

This book sat on my TBR pile pretty much all summer. I saw promo for it in a lot of places and the cover seemed to follow me at every bookstore I’ve stopped in.

But when I finally sat down to read ‘Mary B: An Untold Story of Pride and Prejudice‘ by Katherine J. Chen I was really let down. If you want good Jane Austen fanfiction I can recommend many other stories that are more believable and well-edited, but this is not one of those.

Major spoilers below!

The Book

You know that feeling you got when you read anything from ’50 Shades’ for the first time, and you thought ‘what a shame this was published over XYZ authors who have written really amazing stuff but didn’t get picked up by a publisher’? That’s how I felt reading this. This is pretty much the most Mary Sue of Austen works that has been mass-marketed recently.

In this story Mary Bennet is the better reader among her sisters, the most helpful in a home, the most sisterly in her family, the most enticing to every major male character that comes her way.

She’s Mary Bennet (Sue). Don’t get me wrong, I think Mary Bennet deserves some hopeful story, but this is too perfect. It reads as a fanfiction.net wish-fulfillment that just goes too far. Sure, in many people’s head-canon Collins is a good fit for Mary. But Mr. Darcy falling in love with Mary? Mary becoming an author? Lizzy being more concerned with parties and money? Mary having a fuck buddy outside of marriage?

There’s a whole lot going on here and after the first part of the book, when Collins marries Charlotte, I think the story didn’t need to go on, at least not in the way it did with Mary being a complete Mary Sue.

What you should drink with this:

I’d recommend something too sweet, like Moscato.

Who should read this:

If you honestly just want wish fulfillment, pick this up. If you relate really hard to Mary and want her to be the most enticing of the Bennet sisters, this is your book.

If you don’t like your Austenesque to stray too far from believable, avoid this. Here’s a better place to start.

– Admin B

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Mary B

  1. Not a happy read for me either, though I thought the author was a talented writer – just not her plot for Mary. It was enjoyable in a bus accident sort of way. If you are into jaw dropping Austenesque, this is your book.

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  2. My thoughts exactly. I actually couldn’t write a review about this book because I was so angry at it. I have been looking for a good Mary-centered book but this was not it. Mr Darcy and Mary?? *side eyeing skeptically*

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  3. I was trying and trying to get into this book. I finally deleted it from my Kindle (via my local Library) when I got to chapter 4. I just could not. I glanced at the last pages and saw the hint of the Darcy and writing that you mention above. I deleted it the day before your review hit my inbox. I had such high hopes for an underdog-reader character, much like myself, and was sad to see such a failure. Thanks for making me aware of what I might have missed.

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  4. I really loved the first half of this book, I adored the glimpse into her relationship with Mr. Collins and I laughed so many times. The second half disappointed for sure, for the reasons you mention. But I don’t wish it unread..it was too fun a ride.

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