Book Review: Mary B

(Review originally published 10/15/2018.)

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 (JAFF) I can recommend many other stories that are more believable and well-edited, but this is not one of those.

The Book (Major spoilers below!)

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 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.

(Review originally published 10/15/2018.)

Note: I was provided a review copy for this book in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to submit a book for me to consider for review, please email

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