by Brina Starler
Published by William Morrow
Release Date: June 1 2021
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format Read: ARC, eBook
L. M. Montgomery’s classic tale, Anne of Green Gables, gets a romantic, charming, and hilarious modern adaptation, set in New York City.
After an idyllic girlhood in Avonlea, Long Island, Anne has packed up her trunk, said goodbye to her foster parents, Marilla and Matthew, and moved to the isle of Manhattan for grad school. Together with her best friend, Diana Barry, she’s ready to take on the world and find her voice as a writer. When her long-time archrival Gilbert Blythe shows up at Redmond College for their final year, Anne gets the shock of her life. Gil has been in California for the last five years—since he kissed her during a beach bonfire, and she ghosted him. Now the handsome brunette is flashing his dimples at her like he hasn’t a care in the world and she isn’t buying it.
Paired with the same professor for their thesis, the two former competitors come to a grudging peace that turns into something so much deeper…and sexier than either intended. But when Gil seemingly betrays her to get ahead, Anne realizes she was right all along—she should never have trusted Gilbert Blythe.
While Gil must prove to Anne that they’re meant to be together, she must come to terms with her old fears if she wants a happily-ever-after with the boy she’s always (secretly) loved.
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Way back in March 2020, when the pandemic first began and we all turned inside using books and binge watching to escape the looming doom of a global health crisis, I became slightly obsessed with tracking the hashtags #SaveAnnewithanE and #RenewAnnewithanE. Seriously, Netflix could not post a single promo for Tiger King or Ozark without hundreds of accounts filling the comments section with these hashtags. Fevered fans even crowdfunded billboards in Toronto and New York City, empathetically declaring the need to SAVE ANNE WITH AN E! I share this with you not only to illustrate my deep, unending love of the little CBC drama, Anne with an E (available on Netflix, too!) and the story of Anne of Green Gables, but also because I loved the optimism of these hashtagged efforts. The persistence! The perseverance! The commitment! It was a beautiful spot of hopefulness in an otherwise dark and uncertain time.
Of course, these fans had some justice in trying to save Anne with an E, a show which I consider one of the most underappreciated, yet remarkably brilliant, shows of the last few years. Do you get it yet? I love Anne with an E. And it was with that same passion that I enthusiastically shot up my hand in the metaphorical IIR classroom and volunteered to review Brina Starler’s debut novel, Anne of Manhattan.
Anne of Manhattan follows a 24-year-old, modern day Anne Shirley living in Brooklyn. One night, hanging out a local bar with her roommate and best friend, Diana, she runs into her high school archnemesis (Anne’s word), Gilbert Blythe (or Gil, as Anne refers to him). Gil and Anne are both finishing their Masters’ degrees in education and are unwillingly paired as thesis partners. As any fan of Anne of Green Gables can predict, witty banner and mixed assumptions ensue.
I am biased as I love and adore Anne of Green Gables, but I thoroughly enjoyed Starler’s modern take on Anne. Starler’s managed to retain some of the quintessential Anne traits (her act-first attitude, her romantic idealism, and her boundless passion, to name a few), while also modernizing the story, creating space to imbue diversity into a century’s old story.
As a redhead, there is nothing more that I identify with than Anne’s temper and passion. Something else I think that is important to share (have I not already shared enough personal information?) is that I am not typically a fan of romantic comedies, or really any romance-forward book; I much prefer historical fiction or fantasy with a side of romance. But I really enjoyed this book, in part because it felt like hanging out with an old friend. I missed Anne so much after Anne with an E ended, but I’m so happy to have this book to reunite with her and to watch her relationship with Gilbert unfold.
Hi, I’m Caitlyn! During the day I’m a graduate student, so you can usually find me hiding in the corner of a coffee shop (iced coffee always in hand) reading, writing, or lesson planning. But, come nighttime, I’m always trying to squeeze in a few extra pages of whatever I’m reading for fun. I love to decorate with books and antique trinkets, light a musky woodsy candle, and curl up with my cat, Mercutio, to devour fantasy, historical fiction, literary fiction, or, really, whatever I’m feeling in the moment!