Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix

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Age of Revolutions

Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix
Author: Novoa, Gabe Cole
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Time Period: Age of Revolutions
Time Frame: 1812
Geographic Area: Europe
Country: Great Britain
Topics: Regency Era, Retelling, LGBTQ+
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2024

Content Warning
transphobia, deadnaming

World History > Age of Revolutions > LGBTQ+

In the Remixed Classics series, authors from marginalized backgrounds reinterpret classic works through their own cultural lens to subvert the overwhelming cishet, white, and male canon. This bittersweet Pride & Prejudice remix follows a trans boy yearning for the freedom to live openly, centering queerness in a well-known story of longing and subverting society’s patriarchal and cisheteronormative expectations.

London, 1812. Oliver Bennet feels trapped. Not just by the endless corsets, petticoats and skirts he's forced to wear on a daily basis, but also by society's expectations. The world―and the vast majority of his family and friends―think Oliver is a girl named Elizabeth. He is therefore expected to mingle at balls wearing a pretty dress, entertain suitors regardless of his interest in them, and ultimately become someone's wife.

But Oliver can't bear the thought of such a fate. He finds solace in the few times he can sneak out of his family's home and explore the city rightfully dressed as a young gentleman. It's during one such excursion when Oliver becomes acquainted with Darcy, a sulky young man who had been rude to "Elizabeth" at a recent social function. But in the comfort of being out of the public eye, Oliver comes to find that Darcy is actually a sweet, intelligent boy with a warm heart. And not to mention incredibly attractive.

As Oliver is able to spend more time as his true self, often with Darcy, part of him dares begin to hope that his dream of love and life as a man could be possible. But suitors are growing bolder―and even threatening―and his mother is growing more desperate to see him settled into an engagement. Oliver will have to choose: Settle for safety, security, and a life of pretending to be something he's not, or risk it all for a slim chance at freedom, love, and a life that can be truly, honestly his own.

Emily's Review

Oh my gosh - I cannot explain to you how much I adored this book. I love Pride and Prejudice. It is one of my favorite classics and one that I've returned to many times over the years. I adore the book, but I also love the film adaptations. I think a lot of women my age consider Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy to be the definitive Darcy. I won't pretend that he wasn't the image I had in my mind when I conjured up Novoa's version of Mr. Darcy. It's the ultimate romantic comedy.

So when I saw that a new remix was coming out and it was based on Pride and Prejudice, I knew I had to read it. I expected to enjoy it, but I had no idea that I would end up absolutely loving it.

In this remix, the character of Elizabeth Bennet is a trans boy named Oliver. This whole story is now about his experiences dealing with the expectations his mother has for him, that society expects, but wanting desperately to live his truth. I worried that it could potentially derail the story, but not at all. If anything, the new context made it somehow better. I loved this version of the Bennet family, Mr. Bennet especially.

The characters were all done well, Wickham is particularly heinous, and the relationship between Oliver and Darcy was fantastic. The way the author was able to not just retell Pride and Prejudice, but enhance it, and create a whole new story while still hitting all the main beats...I loved it, most ardently.

If you haven't picked up anything in the remix series yet, please do!

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