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Review – No Less Than Any Other

Posted in Book Blogger

No Less Than Any Other

by MJ Stratton

Book Cover: No Less Than Any Other

Genres: Historical Regency Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: February 5, 2024
Pages: 235
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★★

Elizabeth Bennet is not the son and heir her mother wished, much to Mrs. Bennet’s despair. But all was not lost, for soon after her second daughter’s birth, Mrs. Bennet delivered a son. Tom Bennet, born just minutes after his sister, was their family’s savior from the moment he took his first breath.

Tom Bennet’s peculiar nature soon sets him apart from others around him. His striking intelligence, key in aiding his family, paired with his many oddities leaves those around him with many differing opinions. None, though, are more dedicated to his well-being than his twin sister Elizabeth.

The closer to reaching their majority the twins get, the more frantic Mrs. Bennet is, for should anything befall Tom, her hopes and security will be dashed. She is determined that her girls must marry wealthy, eligible men as an extra precaution. When Netherfield Park is let at last and is filled with eligible men, Mrs. Bennet sees her chance to ensnare at least one wealthy man for her daughters. But will the rumors of heartless neighbors prevent the new tenants from forming any serious designs on any of the Bennet daughters?

No Less Than Any Other is a sweet and clean Pride and Prejudice variation.


NOTE: While I wouldn’t consider my review to contain spoilers, I do give specific information about some of the characters’ personalities.

No Less Than Any Other (NLTAO) is the first time I’ve read a Pride and Prejudice variation with specifically stated neurodiversity.

As she states in the foreword, MJ Stratton is “the mom of three, likely four, autistic/ADHD children. [Her] husband also has the same diagnosis.” NLTAO “reflects many of the struggles [they] have personally faced…” Therefore, I trust that NLTAO is a realistic representation of living with someone autistic, and the triumphs and challenges they may face.

The biggest change from canon is, of course, that the Bennets have a son, Tom. And, as one would expect, this is the “stone” that causes ripples throughout the rest of the story. Because they have a son, the Bennets hire a governess and tutors, so the girls are better behaved and the family is more respectable. Mr. Bennet applies himself to caring for Longbourn, which results in better income. Further into the story, other situations arise which increases their income even more. And, unfortunately — although likely fairly true to the era — there is a split among the families surrounding Meryton into those that support the Bennets and those that don’t. This split is primarily down to Tom and how the families view his autism and autistic behaviors.

Elizabeth is born a few minutes before her twin brother who is autistic — although, of course, given the era, his neurodiversity doesn’t get recognized as such. Jane, Elizabeth, and Kitty seem to be neurotypical, Mary is autistic, and Lydia is likely autistic, although she is portrayed very differently than Tom and Mary.

Jane, Elizabeth, and Kitty are fairly similar to their portrayals in canon, while Mary’s lack of interest in society and love of music are more pronounced, and Lydia’s brashness is converted to forthrightness and a lack of understanding of the need to adhere to social niceties.

Oddly — in my opinion — Mr. and Mrs. Bennet are virtually identical to canon, personality wise. Mr. Bennet’s laziness is only tempered by his desire to improve Longbourn for his heir. But, as son as Tom is old enough to handle the estate, Mr. Bennet’s laziness reasserts itself. Mrs. Bennet is even closer to canon, regularly making the exact same complaints about facing the hedgerows upon Mr. Bennet’s death and “suffering” from the same “problem” with her nerves. It doesn’t really make sense that she continues to harp on the entail despite having her future secured through an heir and money set aside to support her and her daughters.

Beyond Mrs. Bennet, though, I love how Ms. Stratton altered the various characters to better fit their circumstances to match her story. Unfortunately, although Darcy’s situation is not particularly different in NLTAO, for a significant portion of the book, he’s rather unlikeable.

As a nitpicky detail, Mr. Collins and Lady Catherine both make brief appearances, and both are fairly true to canon. But, given their lack of effect on the story and lack of lasting affect to any of the characters or our understanding of them, they could have easily been left out. They simply aren’t necessary in NLTAO.

In general, I really appreciate the story and the message that Ms. Stratton imparts: “You are different, but no less than any other.”

I highly recommend reading NLTAO and intend to purchase it so I can read it any time, regardless of my Kindle Unlimited subscription status.

About the Author

MJ Stratton grew up in a small town in rural Utah, moving back in 2021 after being away for ten years. Her love of Jane Austen was born at a young age when she read Pride and Prejudice for the first time. Her first ever exposure to JAFF was watching Lost in Austen as a teen. MJ recently left her teaching job to be at home with her four children, and hopefully pursue her passion for writing more fully. After feeding her love of books by editing and beta reading for years, she hopes to commit more fully to penning her own stories. MJ loves food, growing things, and the quiet of the countryside. You can find MJ on Facebook and Amazon.

Author links: Amazon Author Page

NOTE: This review is based on an eBook I borrowed from Amazon on March 8, 2024 as part of the Kindle Unlimited program.

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