Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix
London, 1812. Oliver Bennet feels trapped. Not just by the endless corsets, petticoats and skirts he’s forced to wear on a daily basis, but also by society’s expectations. The world―and the vast majority of his family and friends―think Oliver is a girl named Elizabeth. He is therefore expected to mingle at balls wearing a pretty dress, entertain suitors regardless of his interest in them, and ultimately become someone’s wife.
But Oliver can’t bear the thought of such a fate. He finds solace in the few times he can sneak out of his family’s home and explore the city rightfully dressed as a young gentleman. It’s during one such excursion when Oliver becomes acquainted with Darcy, a sulky young man who had been rude to “Elizabeth” at a recent social function. But in the comfort of being out of the public eye, Oliver comes to find that Darcy is actually a sweet, intelligent boy with a warm heart. And not to mention incredibly attractive.
As Oliver is able to spend more time as his true self, often with Darcy, part of him dares begin to hope that his dream of love and life as a man could be possible. But suitors are growing bolder―and even threatening―and his mother is growing more desperate to see him settled into an engagement. Oliver will have to choose: Settle for safety, security, and a life of pretending to be something he’s not, or risk it all for a slim chance at freedom, love, and a life that can be truly, honestly his own.
I absolutely LOVE the Remix Series of classic novels. Where authors paint their novels with bold and bright characters and give a fresh inclusive version for a new generation of readers. Making a space for young readers who want to see themselves reflected in the fictional characters they can call their own.
Most Ardently is a remix of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, where a trans boy, Oliver, works through his identity, trying to find a way to be himself, be accepted by his family, and enjoy all the thrills and twists of falling in love.
Nova’s novel focuses largely on the internal struggle Oliver has between his true self and the person society (and some of his family members) deems him to be. Readers will feel the sting whenever Oliver’s deadname is mentioned, and the sickening way he is forced to wear clothes that make him feel uncomfortable. Or how hard it is when his mother adamantly constricts Oliver to a version of himself that is not his own.
A Few More Thoughts
While Novoa provides a fresh new take in his reimagined version of Pride & Prejudice, I would have loved more pages dedicated to Oliver exploring his world and interactions as himself. I fully enjoyed the chapters where he was able to interact with the other main characters like Bingley and Darcy (especially Darcy). I wish there had been more page time dedicated to these experiences. Flushing out insecurities (both for Oliver and Darcy) and fully developing that budding relationship between Oliver and Darcy.
Where readers experience that thrill of clashing rivals-to-lovers, both strong willed and stubborn, but also discovering new characteristics of these two boys that make them both beloved characters.
Happy Reading ~ Cece
RATING: – Satisfyingly Inked
|Pub Date||ISBN||Page Count||Publisher||Age Group||Source & Format||Review Posted Online|
|16-Jan-24||978-1250869807||304||Feiwel & Friends||Young Adult||NetGalley, Digital ARC||October 15, 2023|
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I’m Cecelia and I’m so glad you’re here! You’ll find honest reviews, book recommendations, along with other bookish essentials. So happy you stopped by!