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Most Ardently

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Member Reviews

Absolutely adorable P&P retelling with (several) modern twists!

Elisa Benitez and Darcy Fitzgerald's story hits all the main plot points of Pride and Prejudice , but does so with plenty of modern touches that help to make the story Ms Mesler-Evans' own. Elisa is bisexual and of Hispanic heritage; Darcy is biracial and a lesbian. Camilla (the second youngest of Elisa's sisters) is trans, and Elisa's parents are divorced (I was especially interested that the author went there--I've read so many analyses re: the elder Bennets and their marriage, and they've been about a 50-50 split between they had a good marriage and their marriage was a disaster; though I'm not willing to commit 100% to one argument or the other, this worked here). I enjoyed noting the differences and seeing how the author made Jane Austen's period piece become more modern.

For the most part it really, really worked--I'd venture to say that even someone completely unfamiliar with the storyline would enjoy this book's plot and characters on their own merit. A few bits felt slightly forced (Lady Catherine's final scenes, I'm looking at you) and others were an improvement (Colin/Mr. Collins and Charlene/Charlotte's eventual relationship is so much more palatable here!) and I turned the final page of the story with a huge smile on my face. Final verdict? I'll get in line to read Ms Mesler-Evans's next book, even if it's not an Austen retelling :)

Rating: 4 stars / A-

I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
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Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to read this book!

Rating: 2.75 stars 
Rep: bi, Mexican, plus-size MC, lesbian & black love interest, F/F romance, trans side character. 
Trigger warnings: divorce, talks on grooming and statutory rape, girl hate, sexism. 


I first saw this book on Twitter and the cover drew me in, but then I read that it was a gay Pride and Prejudice retelling and I instantly added to my TBR and requested on NG. P&P is my favourite classic and I'm constantly on the lookout for diverse retellings, especially modern ones. 

I desperately wanted to love this, it had so much potential and all the right ideas, but it missed the mark as a Pride and Prejudice retelling, for me personally. 

This book follows P&P pretty well, but that was also my main issue because some of the scenes in P&P just don't work in a modern setting. For example, Julieta (Jane) gets a stomach bug while at Bobby's (Charles) house and ends up staying there close to a month? To get over this bug? With Elisa staying too for some reason? Another thing that didn't work was Mrs Bennet's characterisation. She is basically Mrs Bennett from the original P&P, but again this didn't really work because a modern-day mother shouldn't act this way, it's not normal. She lets her 14-year-old daughter go on holiday, ALONE, like it's no big deal, she constantly tells her daughters they have to marry rich and pressurises them and she is a borderline stalker. And finally, making George a paedophile/rapist was...a choice. I have lots more instances from the book that were just really unrealistic. It just didn't really work for me. 

The chemistry between Darcy and Elisa is pretty much non-existent, I only started a feel it a little around the 85% mark. There is really no tension or build-up, which I was expecting lots of. 

The writing was easy and fast-paced, and for a book of over 400 pages, I definitely flew through it! I adored how diverse this novel was, jam-packed full of positive representation with absolutely no homophobia or racism. 

Overall I'm super happy I had the opportunity to read this one, unfortunately, it wasn't for me but I'll definitely be reading more by this author in the future!
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I had a hard time getting into this story. It just didn't capture my interest and I was glad when it was over.
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Most Ardently is a YA retelling of Pride and Prejudice, but it was quite a superficial one. I think of my biggest issues with the book was that the original Pride and Prejudice is chock full of important social commentaries and this one ... tries ... and fails. 

I have never been a big fan of George Wickham but making the guy a pedophile? And a rapist? What is even happening right now? He's just a sleaze. And I get it -- the author had to make it make sense for a modern audience why an unmarried woman running off with an unmarried man is so bad, so she changed it to a 22 year old man running off with a 14 year old girl. And this could have been a great opportunity to teach young women that men like this are evil and should not be trusted, but the book just doesn't go in that direction. 

Moving on, I didn't really like Elisa or Darcy as much as I thought I would. Which is a shame because Elizabeth and Darcy are my favourite book characters ever, so to dislike their retelling counterparts was disappointing. 

Ultimately, this book had a lot of potential but didn't develop as much as I wished it would. I think that's because so many people view Pride and Prejudice as a superficial romantic comedy and completely ignore the fact that it features some amazing social commentaries, and unfortunately so many retellings do the same.
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I really enjoyed this book.
I love any retellings of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice but especially one that is queer.
This book had the perfect blend of modern twist and references to the old story.
I can't recommend this book enough!
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2.5 for me. 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.


I love that the main characters include people of color and taken out of the context of this re-telling, I would have really liked Eliza and her sisters in a different kind of story. And perhaps, that was what I was expecting with any remake/retelling to give us something a bit more fresh, unexpected and more layered. 


As the “modern day” twist angle for the story to me doesn’t really work because it’s trying to blend the pieces of the original in with this new contemporary take of the story. There’s a lot of different ways to tell this kind of story but there’s too many ties to marriage and wealth and not enough focus on the what one might expect from a story like this to address popular issues and barriers of today besides the fact that the main character is bisexual and that “Darcy” is a woman. 

I really was hoping to get more out of this book because I do like Pride and Prejudice and I am a fan of the original version of this story but I wasn’t enthralled or excited about this particular spin.
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Was hoping to like this one but it just was not for me. Thank you for the advanced copy in exchange of a fair review.
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Thanks to the publishers for sharing this one. I really liked it. It captures the essence of the original novel in a modern setting. My full review appears on Weekend Notes.
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On principle, I'm interested in anything WLW. I don't know if it's because I'm not a huge classics fan or because I found the LI insufferable that made me not enjoy this book. If you're a fan of the classics, I think this gender-bent spin would be really enjoyable for you. It just wasn't my cup of tea. 

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Entangled Embrace through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.*
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Could not get into this writing style. Wasn’t terrible, just not for me. As I did not finish I will not post public reviews.
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Most Ardently is a Pride and Prejudice retelling starring Elisa, a Mexican-American plus-sized bisexual, and Darcy, an Afro-American lesbian. This is the second book I read that is dedicated to the LGTB community. I was surprised as it is a long book but I devoured in 2 days.
As mentioned already about this book is a adorable, touching, incredibly sensitive, and such sweet re-telling from Pride and Prejudice but it also contains really hard scenes to read as there is sexual predator that goes for teen girls and it really breaks your heart to know those kind of men are out there collecting girls as trophies....
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The review has been published

"Stolz & Vorurteil von Jane Austen in einer frischen und unterhaltsamen Version (f/f New Adult))

Ich habe in den letzten Jahren unzählige Bücher gelesen, die "Stolz & Vorurteil" als Vorbild hatten. Viele konnten mich nicht überzeugen, da sie wie ein billiger Abklatsch wirkten und die Geschichte nicht gut ins Jetzt transportiert haben, "Most Ardently" sticht aus der Masse an Büchern positiv heraus, denn das Buch hat einen ganz eigenen Charme und Witz. Außerdem hat es die Autorin meiner Meinung nach sehr gut geschafft, die Grundidee von "Stolz & Vorurteil" so in eine neue Umgebung und Zeit zu verpflanzen, dass daraus ein Wiese an wunderschönen, lebendigen Blumen entstanden ist. 

Die Heldinnen des Buches treffen sich am College, es dreht sich also um einen New Adult Roman. Elisa und Darcy besuchen einen Literaturkurs und stoßen dort aufeinander. Von der ersten Begegnung an hatte ich viel Spaß mit den Dialogen der beiden, da diese voller Leben sind und authentisch wirken. Beide junge Frauen sind keine glatten Charaktere, sondern sie haben Ecken und Kanten. Manchmal machen sie Sachen, bei denen ich die Augenbrauen nach oben ziehen musste. Aber gehört das nicht zu einem normalen Leben dazu? Ihre Liebesgeschichte hat mir sehr gut gefallen und mir ist beim Lesen immer wieder aufgefallen, dass ich ein leichtes Lächeln auf den Lippen hatte. 

Wer nach einem unterhaltsamen LGTB-Roman sucht, der sich die Idee von "Stolz & Vorurteil" zu eigen macht, könnte mit "Most Ardently" viel Spaß haben.
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I like many love Pride and Prejudice. I looked forward to the idea of reading a modern take on the classic. There were aspects of the book that I appreciated such as the diversity represented from ethnic and identity perspectives. Somewhere in translation, the chemistry between Elisa and Darcy seemed lackluster. Ultimately that is why I din't give it a higher rating. I really wanted to liked this arc that I  read courtesy of NetGalley  and   Entangled more. I would read another work from this new (to me) author.
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I thought this was one of the cutest young adult romances that I have ever read. It's slow burn, hate-to-love romance is just so cute. Watching the characters learn and grow as both individual people and together is a really wonderful thing.  I gave this book four out five stars and would recommend it to all my romance lovers out there.
The writing in this book was honestly not the best. It didn't detract from the enjoyabilty of the story, but if you are a fan of great, swoonworthy writing then this isn't it. I think that the author shows great potential as a romance writer, because, in all fairness, this was a debut. That being said, for a young adult romance, the book, as a whole, is totally awesome. </p>
The pace in the book is done really well. There isn't a lot of fluffing, when nothing of any importance is happening the story, the plot skillfully skips ahead. The story progress in a timely manner and, while it covers almost an entire year,  doesn't feel like it takes place over a great deal of time. It has the enjoyabilty of a shorter romance while also taking the time to make it believable and not at all insta-lovey. 
The plot of the book was also great. Everything is relevant to one plot line or another and all the plot lines come together in the end, even if you don't think the author could possible connect it all. I liked that about this book, that everything had a purpose. 
The characters in this book were very lovable, even if they were annoying at times. Elisa was a very believable character. She worked hard for what she wanted, she made mistakes, she tried to fix her mistakes and didn't always succeed. Darcy was not as well written as Elisa, but the story was not told from her perspective. Darcy also didn't speak like a teenager, until suddenly she did. I thought that that was a writing mistake, not a character mistake, though. 
Part of what made this story so enjoyable was the fact that the author included quite a bit of representation. Elisa is bisexual and latina, Darcy is a lesbian and biracial, one of Elisa's sister's is transgender, and Elisa's parents are divorced. All of this made the story more realistic and therefore more enjoyable. I also really enjoyed the conversations about family and marriage, and how divorced parents can still work together in raising their children.
The other side to the representation is that it does go into a few difficult topics. One of them is child abuse. The topic is handled delicately and is very mild, but if you are at all bothered by any of the above trigger warnings, please be careful when reading. While this does make the story more realistic, it is also a bit dark for a young adult romance and I was happy that the author handled it so well.  
This book, while it does handle difficult topics, is overall a fairly easy to read book. It sucks you in to the story and doesn't let go. The characters are absolutley the best thing about this book and I hope that if you choose to read it, you will fall in love, most ardently.
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Loved the idea of this, but the writing clunky and distracting. I didn’t feel that there was much romantic tension between Elisa and Darcy. They came across as younger than college-age, and Elisa was sometimes dogmatically exhausting. The best part for me was seeing P&P on a modern, queer context. I thought the connection to the original book was clearly and continuous referenced.
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When I first heard about this book, I could not have jumped at the chance to review it any quicker. It was everything I could have wanted in a novel. Pride & Prejudice retelling? Check. Darcy is a woman aka an f/f romance? Check. Set in modern day? Check. What more could a girl ask for? Well, probably to actually have enjoyed the book.

The romance was not believable to me. I didn’t see the connection between Elisa and Darcy at all. It was obvious Darcy had a crush but actually loving Elisa? I didn’t see it. And I really didn’t see Elisa’s feelings. Mostly I’m just confused as to how Darcy managed to develop feelings for Elisa.

Elisa’s character was mean. Elizabeth Bennett was a smart woman who used her wit to her advantage and was at worst a little sarcastic and snarky. Elisa was straight up mean. I can’t believe these words are about to be said, but I actually felt bad for Colin when she turned him down. Yes he was dense, but my god. He didn’t deserve her nastiness in that way.

The thing about modern retellings of older stories is that not everything is going to translate into current day. Some things need to be changed in order for them to be believable and to work with the story. One example was some of the dialogue. I get that the author wanted to keep some of the speeches, but no one talks like that in 2019. Unless they’re Mark-Francis Vandelli on an episode of Celebrity Juice (seriously, that was all I could picture the entire time). A second example was when Bobby left Julieta after Darcy intervened. He just takes off without a word because Darcy said her opinion of “hey she might not like you as much as you like her” without any tangible proof to back it up? I just can’t see that in today’s world.

Maybe my expectations were too high, I don’t know, but unfortunately, this book just was not for me.
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DNF at 65%. I love P&P retellings and there are a lot of great winks and nods to the original that I’m enjoying very much. However I’m not feeling any sparks in the tension between Darcy and Elisa.

Got to Valentines Day and it is not ringing true for me. Stopping here.

Thank you to Entangled for the advance reading copy in exchange for my honest review.
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It's a long time since I've been this disappointed by a book. Austen is one of my favourite authors of all time & of course any LGBT retellings of her works are immediately put at the very top of my anticipated releases. But this one did not live up to the hype I gave it in my head.

The main issue for me is the writing. I didn't enjoy it at all, frankly. It felt choppy and weak and fake. And only got worse for the dialogues. Writing is a difficult craft and sadly, not everyone has what it takes.

Then there is the problem of this being a retelling. It's a very faithful one, plot-wise. Only that's exactly the problem. Because 1) not all events from Regency era make sense in a modern world & 2) Austen's power doesn't just rely on what's happening in her books. "Most Ardently" doesn't seem aware of that second fact. It tries to retell an Austen story word for word, only with an inferior style and without any of the wit, of the social commentary, of the magic. 

It's an attempt. That's what it is.
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*Thank you to Netgalley and Publisher for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.* 

Representation: Lesbian love interest, Bisexual MC, Trans women side character,  fat MC.

Content warnings: Discussions of abuse, pedophilla, mental abuse, misogynistic language. 

Not only is Most Ardently a retelling of my favorite classic but it’s also got sapphic characters and a hate-to-lovers f/f romance. I didn’t just adore it, I freaking loved it!! 

One of my favorite things about this whole book, apart from how oblivious Elisa is, was the family theme. Like the original, this book also includes a big family of sisters for Elisa. I loved how close they all were. Mrs Benitez was hilarious. While at times I found how she needed her daughters to marry rich annoying, I’ve got to begrudgingly admit: I admired her tenacity.

I loved the slow burn build up to Darcy and Elisa’s romance. You all know how I love me some slow burn and this was perfect. Mix it in with one sided pinning, Darcy fell so hard for her girl, hate-to-love, Elisa isn’t having a bar of her, and obliviousness, Elisa is very obtuse to what’s in front of her, and you’ve got the romance of my dreams. 

On top of good family themes, we also have friendships that stole my heart. Especially Bobby and Darcy. It’s horrible how rare it is to see a guy and girl as best friends in YA, without one having feelings for the other. However, Most Ardently is another I can add to list that doesn’t. While at times, Bobby listens to Darcy a little too much! Their friendship was so refreshing and it was obvious how much they cared for each other. 

Overall: I could point out close to a thousand more things I adored about this retelling but alas I’m trying to shorten my reviews. I love retellings and while this is a new favorite, I do have to say, I wasn’t a fan on how sometimes the side plots overtook Darcy and Elisa’s romance. Even though it’s a big part of the plot I feel like we could have had a little less attention on Bobby and Juliette’s relationship. 

I still highly recommend this. Especially if you’re looking for a sweet slow burn, f/f romance.
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So, unfortunately this book just wasn't one that I enjoyed. I got to 97% and I just couldn't finish it. So technically a DNF, but since it was at 97%, I'm counting it as finished. 

I have not read Pride and Prejudice, so I can't speak for how it compares to that, but if it's a good retelling then I dread reading Pride and Prejudice.

I couldn't connect to the romance, I couldn't connect to the characters, I couldn't connect to the story. I was super excited for this f/f hate-to-love but I just didn't like it.

I'm sure that people who like Pride and Prejudice will probably like this as a retelling, though.
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