By: Susan Mesler-Evans
Genre:Contemporary Fiction,YA Fiction, Retelling, LGBT Fiction
Rating: It was ok.
Publisher: Entangled: Embrace
Release Date: October 21, 2019
Elisa Benitez is proud of who she is, from her bitingly sarcastic remarks, to her love of both pretty boys and pretty girls. If someone doesn’t like her, that’s their problem, and Elisa couldn’t care less. Particularly if that person is Darcy Fitzgerald, a snobby, socially awkward heiress with an attitude problem and more money than she knows what to do with.
From the moment they meet, Elisa and Darcy are at each other’s throats — which is a bit unfortunate, since Darcy’s best friend is dating Elisa’s sister. It quickly becomes clear that fate intends to throw the two of them together, whether they like it or not. As hers and Darcy’s lives become more and more entwined, Elisa’s once-dull world quickly spirals into chaos in this story of pride, prejudice, and finding love with the people you least expect.
For me, this book was ok. I think this is the type of book for anyone not familiar or who hasn’t read Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice to be honest. Trying to be as abstract as possible here without giving too much away (as it is technically a re-telling) I will try to stick to the things I liked about the characters and the overall tone.
First, I love that the main characters include people of color and taken out of the context of this re-telling, I know that there is another book titled Pride that came out a few years ago that does the same thing, but I haven’t made it to that one—yet.
Getting back to Most Ardently, our main character, Elisa, in this book has strong opinions about those around her. But at the same time, her character came off as a bit timid and shy while around new people and in school. Her counterpart, Darcy, on the other hand, seemed to carry that same level of indifference that we expect from the archetype of the character. And while I actually expected this, I cannot be sure if that was more upsetting, getting what I expected instead of a character more relaxed, friendly and sociable.
And in all honesty, I would have really liked Elisa and her sisters in a different kind of story about them trying to branch out from their overbearing mother or guardian even. Or maybe just a showcase of how decisively independent each of them was in a story where they perhaps weren’t as close to each other.
And possibly, again, that was what I was expecting in terms of story with any remake/retelling to give us something a bit more fresh, unexpected and more layered. When it came to Elisa’s mother and sisters they basically embody the Bennett family from the original regarding their personalities, even if her older sister Julieta Benitez was starting up her own business from home and well known at Elisa school it was expected that her inner thoughts, opinions, and feelings would be unknown to her sister, etc.
As the “modern-day” twist angle for the story, in my opinion, it doesn’t really work because the story attempts to blend the pieces of the original in with this new contemporary take of the story. When I come across books like this, I always try to remain non-bias and take the new story for what it is.
But I guess my issue while reading this book was the fact that it drew too many similarities in my mind, i.e. the mother’s push for marriage and marrying into wealth running throw the core of the book. And glossing over more prevalent issues of the times that a tale like this could address, besides the fact that the main character is bisexual or that our “Darcy” is a woman.
My thoughts of this book have clearly come across as biased lol XD as I really was hoping to get more of a twist out of this book. And because I do like Pride and Prejudice and I am a fan of the original version of this story, but I just wasn’t enthralled or excited about this particular spin.
Just because it didn’t have me in awe, I would recommend this book to teens of the current generation and other lovers of Jane Austin’s book simply because it keeps the tale alive. Moreover, it presents an opportunity of introducing a classic book to a younger audience who, quite frankly, are likely to get bored reading the original.
Book received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Thank you all for coming over and checking out my thoughts on Most Ardently. If you’ve read this retelling and have a different take on it, I would love to hear your thoughts.
To all those readers who like Jane Austin AND modern twist on her books. Or those who cannot sit through the older books or would love to see a classic with an LGBTQ twist to it, Most Ardently just might be the next book for you ^_^
Until the next post,