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Review by Kelly Jarvis: Marry Me by Midnight by Felicia Grossman


Marry Me By Midnight is an enchanting romance novel that twists the pattern of a Cinderella story. Isabelle Lira, a Jewish heiress living in London, 1832, is looking for a husband. Because her father, a prominent businessman who occupied a seat on the community Commission, has recently passed away, Isabelle must find a partner who will allow her to retain control at work. Instead of relying on a matchmaker as her family tradition dictates, Isabelle decides to host a series of festivals that announce her desire to marry, and she invites all eligible Jewish bachelors. When she meets Aaron Ellenberg, a poor synagogue custodian, she enlists his help to spy on her potential matches to ensure she will find a husband she can “control at work and enjoy in bed.”


The romantic tension between Isabelle and Aaron fuels the plot of the book. Both characters are much deeper than their surface images imply, and their dynamic and spicy relationship will keep readers turning the pages. Grossman manages to both recreate and subvert a Cinderella tale by giving readers a woman who longs to be a prince because “princesses are gazed at and act as ornamental elements of desire.” Isabelle and Aaron’s relationship is a traditional one, but they manage to come together as equals despite their gendered and economic differences.


In addition to being a fun romantic fairy tale retelling, Marry Me By Midnight offers excellent representation of the Jewish culture in 19th century England. Fans of historical romance, the Regency era, and fairy tale retellings will find much to love in this gem of a book! I enjoyed it! You can find the book here.


Thank you to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair review.

Kelly Jarvis works as the Assistant Editor for The Fairy Tale Magazine where she writes stories, poems, essays, book reviews, and interviews. Her poetry has also been featured or is forthcoming in Blue Heron Review, Mermaids Monthly, Eternal Haunted Summer, Forget Me Not Press, The Magic of Us, A Moon of One’s Own, Baseball Bard, and Corvid Queen. Her short fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine and the World Weaver Press Anthology Mothers of Enchantment: New Tales of Fairy Godmothers. You can find her at https://kellyjarviswriter.com/

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