Anne of Manhattan by Brina Starler
Publication Date: June 1st 2021
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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 love reading modern retellings of classics, so when I saw this debut of Brina Starler’s would be an Anne of Green Gables retelling, I knew I had to read it! I had just finished watching the first season of Anne with an E, so I was all about Anne, Gilbert, and their families. Anne of Manhattan turned out to be a charming, sweet romance that I adored!
Anne and Gilbert are from Avonlea, Long Island, New York, and they have been rivals since they first met. Well, it was rivalry on Anne’s side and an unrequited crush on Gil’s side. But Gil being Gil, his crush lead him to pull at her pigtails, so to speak, to get any kind of attention from Anne, even the negative kind. They end their senior year of high school with a kiss but she misinterprets something he says and thinks this is another prank of his. Anne ghosts Gil until he leaves for California for college, and they never speak to each other again… until they reunite for their final year of grad school and are forced to partner together for a thesis project.
If you’ve read Anne of Green Gables or watched any of its adaptations, you’ll see some very familiar faces in Diana, Marilla, Matthew, Rachel, and more. Brina Starler brings all these characters to life in modern day New York. The romance between Gil and Anne is lovely – I especially loved that we get inside both their heads with dual POV. Gil is an absolute goner for Anne and has been since the beginning, but I appreciate that he realizes his teasing of Anne might not have been the best way to show his affection. Anne has her own issues to deal with when it comes to trust, after growing up in an orphanage and then being taken in by Marilla and Matthew. I was afraid the romance would be overshadowed in this book, but thankfully it is the highlight of this book! We get to see Gil pining and working his way into Anne’s heart, and it’s sooo adorable.
If you love Anne of Green Gables and want a sweet, sexy, modern retelling, I highly recommend this one. It’s got a great enemies-to-lovers romance and I loved the setting of New York!
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