Welcome to book spotlight where instead of giving you another book review, I’m just going to talk about books I’ve read recently that I enjoyed. Prepare yourself for the fangirl gushing.
For a long time, I always thought I related most to Jane when it comes to the Bennet sisters from Pride and Prejudice. She’s quiet and sweet and practically perfect in every way. As much as I long to be like Elizabeth, I’m just not outspoken enough. But the more I think about it, the more I find myself relating to Mary Bennet, too.
I originally thought this book was a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and not a modern-day sequel reimagining But once I started in on the story, I didn’t mind that it was a contemporary setting instead of historical because Marnie Barnes is super relatable and adorable. The contemporary setting works so much better than a historical one would have.
From her vow to not become Mary Bennet to her creation of a library and animal shelter program called Bark Books, I adore Marnie. She’s such a great type of protagonist. She’s not perfect, she makes mistakes, but she definitely tries her hardest to do what’s right and prove that she is capable.
I also love how the author reimagined the Bennet family in the modern setting and used aspects of all their lives to shape the plot of the book. It was super creative and a lot of fun, and I appreciate that this focuses more on family relationships than the romance. One of my favorite characters is Will, the Darcy equivalent, who is married to Marnie’s older sister, Lindy. So J.C. Peterson did good by him.
Other notable aspects include Adhira, Marnie’s roommate and best friend (everybody needs a friend like her); Whit, the love interest (super adorable, especially when he calls Marnie “Anne Girl”); all of the dogs (even more adorable); and all the Pride and Prejudice references. It’s obvious that J.C. Peterson is more than a fan of the books because she includes references to many of the adaptations as well. I laughed at the reference to “What excellent boiled potatoes.”
The one aspect I didn’t like was Marnie’s infatuation with Hayes. Obviously this was necessary for the plot since it was apparent from the beginning he wasn’t a good guy and Marnie needed to get over him for her own sake. But gosh darn it, I don’t understand why she would still be drooling over Hayes when Whit is standing there being adorable and smart with a puppy in his arms. The drama surrounding Hayes was just so annoying and icky (again, that was the point but that doesn’t mean I have to like it).
Being Mary Bennet is a fun, relatable reimagining of a favorite classic. I love how the author adapted the characters and story into a modern setting and I like how everything unfolds to give Marnie the confidence and hope of being the protagonist of her own story.
One of my favorite quotes, from Marnie’s sister Lindy, is “Every person is the main character in their own story, even the women stuffed in the attics.”