This is the second novel in the two book series, Perfect. The first, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet and this one are both just sort of okay. This picks up within six months of Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match and happens over three weeks.
I did really enjoy Brant’s characterizations of the Jane and Bingley characters from Pride and Prejudice, which is who this book focuses on. They’re the best friends of Beth Ann and William from the first book and the story revolves around their being best man and maid of honor at their wedding and the various shenanigans that ensue surrounding various bets they make with each other while trying not to kiss or kill each other.
I do have to give this book a little extra love because Brant gave Wuthering Heights a shout out:
“That strange sense of gratification at being needed fervently by someone. She’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be on the receiving end of that kind of zeal. Like getting to playact Cathy from Wuthering Heights to Trey’s version of a demented Heathcliff. So dramatic. So emotive. How different from Bingley’s raised eyebrows and slow smirks, which were more indicative of a Jane Austen hero with his amused reserve, instead of an obsessed and kind of fanatical Brontë guy. She’d never given Bingley McNamara credit for subtlety before, but she realized her oversight.” (113)
I thought Brant’s comparison of Jane’s former relationship to Catherine and Heathcliff and her budding relationship a la Jane Austen was apt and quite entertaining to think about them. (Even if Austen wrote the scoundrel Willoughby well before Emily Brontë wrote Heathcliff, I still appreciated it.)
The only other thing I enjoyed were the various locations around Chicago the book visited. We went to Chicago last year and it’s always nice to see famous things mentioned in a book that you’ve seen or done. Especially as I had a conversation at a Christmas Eve party about Seaurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” (Wikipedia link) I saw it in June AND it was in this book. I mean come on right?
I’ll keep the rest short because it’s pretty much the same feedback as the last one: it could’ve used an editor. This was self published and you can tell. There appeared to be fewer formatting issues with this book than with the first, but there were still a few points where some concise editing would’ve greatly improved the work.
Recommendation: Pass. Unless you’re obsessed with Jane and Bingley from the original and are curious how they could be adapted this isn’t the book for you. I’m still not sure this is even how EITHER of them should have been modernized, but at least someone tried.
Opening Line: “Bingley McNamara stood near the altar of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, right next to his cousin, Dr. William Darcy—the lucky groom on this lovely September Saturday.”
Closing Line: “‘You took the words right out of my mouth,’ he whispered in return. Then he kissed her again. And again.” (Whited out to avoid spoilers, highlight to read.)