The third Bennet sister, Mary, steps into the spotlight in this graceful retelling of Pride and Prejudice.
As a middle child flanked by two pairs of closely bonded sisters, marginalized by her mother, and ridiculed by her father, Mary Bennet feels isolated within her own family. She retreats to her room to read and play the pianoforte and, when obliged to mix in society, finds it safer to quote platitudes from books rather than express her real opinions. She also finds it safer to befriend those who are socially “beneath” her. When wealthy Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley glide into her sisters’ lives, Mary becomes infatuated with an impoverished young musician, the son of her old wet-nurse, who plays the fiddle at the Meryton assemblies.
It is only after her sisters tease her about her “beau with the bow” that Mary is forced to examine her real feelings and confront her own brand of pride and prejudice.
An elegant accompaniment to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, The Forgotten Sister plucks the neglected Mary from obscurity and beautifully reveals her hopes and dreams.
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.