From the desk of Jenny Haggerty:
With only half a dozen speeches in Pride and Prejudice Mary Bennet still manages to make an impression. Bookish, socially awkward, and prone to moralizing, it’s hard to picture her as the heroine of a romance novel. Though I’d laugh along at her cluelessness Mary has always had my sympathy, so when I discovered Jennifer Paynter’s The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice I couldn’t wait to read it. Would this book rescue Mary from the shadows of Pride and Prejudice? I hoped so.
The Forgotten Sister opens before the events of Pride and Prejudice, with Mary recounting her story in her own words. She begins with an admission of early worries, “For the best part of nine years–from the age of four until just before I turned thirteen–I prayed for a brother every night.” (8) By then family life is strained, but early on Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are carefree and happy. Young Jane and Elizabeth are doted on by their parents, who are optimistic there is still time to produce a male heir and secure their entailed estate. Everything changes though when Mary, a third daughter, is born. Worries set in. The Bennets begin bickering. About a month after Mary’s birth Mrs. Bennet has an attack of nerves so acute that Mary is sent away to a wet-nurse, Mrs. Bushell, with whom she stays for several years. From then on, neglect by and separation from her family become recurring patterns in Mary’s life. Continue reading
It’s time to announce the 3 winners of a print or digital copy of The Forgotten Sister, by Jennifer Paynter. The lucky winners drawn at random are:
- Ruth Clapp who left a message of January 30, 2014
- Lynn S. who left a comment on February 4, 2014
- Carol Settlage who left a comment on January 31, 2014
Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by February 13, 2014 or you will forfeit your prize! Let me know if you want a print or digital copy. Mail shipment to US addresses only.
Thanks to all who left comments, to author Jennifer Paynter for her guest blog, and to her publisher Lake Union Publishing for the giveaways.
Cover image courtesy of Lake Union Publishing © 201; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2014, Austenprose.com
Please join us in celebration of the new release of author Jennifer Paynter’s debut novel, The Forgotten Sister: Mary Bennet’s Pride and Prejudice, published this month by Lake Union Publishing.
Jennifer has joined us to chat about her inspiration to write her book, a revealing look at one of Jane Austen’s most misunderstood characters from Pride and Prejudice, Mary Bennet. Her publisher has generously offered a giveaway chance for a paperback or Kindle digital edition of The Forgotten Sister to three lucky winners. Just leave a comment with this blog post to enter. The contest details are listed below. Good luck to all.
What first led me to think of Mary Bennet as a possible heroine was an observation by Jane Austen scholar, John Bayley. In his memoir of his wife, British novelist Iris Murdoch, Bayley wrote that ‘the unfortunate Mary is the only one among Jane Austen’s characters who never gets a fair deal from the author at all, any more than she does from her father.’ Continue reading