Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Author
Following her tender and sweet Pride and Prejudice inspired contemporary romance, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match, Marilyn Brant gifts us readers with the sequel we were eagerly hoping for! (We wanted us some more Bing-a-Ling!) After seeing Beth Bennet and Will Darcy come together through a most unlikely medium, readers can now see what happens between the two closest people in their lives – Jane Henderson and Bingley McNamara. While it isn’t imperative to read Pride, Prejudice, and the Perfect Match first before reading Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet, you may want to so you can see how Beth and Will fall in love and meet Jane and Bingley before they meet each other.
Both books in this series are entertaining and endearing reads, and while they do pay tribute to Jane Austen’s characters and novels, they don’t follow the personalities and events too closely. Beth and Will meet through an online dating site, Bingley is a ladies’ man with a proclivity for wagers, and Jane’s outward appearance of sweetness and serenity may just be a mask. Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Match focused on Beth and Will and their tangled web of lies, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet centers on Bingley and Jane and their intense feelings towards each other – whether they be of dislike, irritation, confusion, attraction, or affection.
One thing I’ve always enjoyed about anything I’ve read by Marilyn Brant is her complex, well-drawn, and engaging characters. I greatly enjoyed spending more time with Bingley and Jane, and discovering all their hidden layers. I loved exploring each character’s past, learning their insecurities and relationship needs, and witnessing them overcome all their hang-ups. At times though, I felt Jane still seemed a little unsettled and unable to find her own identity. She was “lost in the crowd” of her big family, taken for granted, used by her ex-boyfriend, and tired of being packaged into a “box of warmth, kindness, and sweetness.”
“But she wasn’t sure she even knew who she was anymore. Or if she could trust herself if she did. Or if she’d ever feel comfortable sharing the deepest secrets of her soul with any man again.” – page 138
I loved this moment of clarity and soul-searching Jane had partway through the novel, but I kind of felt we never saw the answers to all her questions. I wanted to see more of the real Jane.
Another aspect I love about Marilyn Brant’s novels is that they are always so much fun! Whether we are touring Europe with her grandmother S&M club (ahem!…Sudoko and Mahjongg) or celebrating different holidays at a charming small-town inn, Marilyn always includes an abundance of details, descriptions and delicacies that add such a richness to her story! I greatly enjoyed seeing the “dates” Bingley and Jane had together, especially the meal he made her! And I thought the movie night where they watched Casablanca and When Harry Met Sally were superb choices. Loved the parallels – “men and women can’t be friends” and when they both called Will and Beth at the same time! LOL! (I see what you did there, Marilyn!) In addition, I also loved the sweet scenes with Charlie (Beth’s son) and how he thought of Jane and Bingley as his friends. 😉 Awww!
Of the two books in the Perfect series, Pride, Prejudice and the Perfect Bet is my favorite. Bingley was just too adorable…(I know, big surprise…I have a thing for Bingleys I guess!) Loved his sweet boyishness, easy-going charm, his latent protective and serious side, and his decisive, take-charge behavior. Reminded me of someone I know… 😉