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Book Review: “Marry Me by Midnight” by Felicia Grossman

Editor’s Note: This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors and writers involved in the project(s) mentioned here, Pages and Pictures would not exist. Though this project is a book, it’s important to recognize that all art is impacted in the fight for a better industry. Pages and Pictures stands firmly behind WGA and SAG-AFTRA members as they fight for fair labour conditions. 

Marry Me by Midnight is an enthralling Jewish romance that has a lot of charm. If you, like this writer, are waiting for more Bridgerton content, this story may just help bridge the gap. This delightful fairytale re-telling nearly perfectly combines historical commentary, romance, and humor. This story proves exactly why Regency romance has become so enthralling to readers everywhere. Author Felicia Grossman has carved out a place for the Jewish community within Regency romance.

Isabelle, as a protagonist, is nothing less than endearing. Grossman has crafted a character of the Regency period that has to deal with realistic obstacles and challenges. The fact that she does so and is never afraid to advocate for herself makes her that much easier to love. She’s a strong and capable woman who has to face every obstacle put in her way by the society in which she finds herself. It’s easy to imagine such a driven woman existing and trying to make the best of her situation.

Aaron makes a compelling love interest. He’s sweet and sensitive and doesn’t spend his time complaining about his station in life. Instead, the fact that he’s willing to help Isabelle achieve her goals and warn her about the dangers she faces makes him all the more endearing. This attitude of constantly moving forward makes his story worth cheering for. Additionally, the fact he knows his own self-worth makes him a better prospect for Isabelle in every way. 

Marry Me by Midnight also makes a great effort to highlight the Jewish community’s history in England. Watching each of the characters navigate the realities of surrounding gentile society comes across as incredibly authentic. The conditional acceptance the Jewish community here has from their neighbours is familiar, even in the modern age. It’s clear that each of the characters has to navigate these nuances individually and as a community. 

Relatedly, the story makes the synagogue a character of its own. It is present throughout the entire story. Its presence serves as a grounding influence in what could have very quickly turned into a chaotic story. It’s also a reminder of the importance of community within Judaism. The synagogue is an outward reminder of the community’s existence, regardless of what others want. 

Finally, this story succeeds as a Cinderella retelling with a gender swap. Isabelle, as a benefactress, is enchanting, and her sphere of influence because of her family is evident. She makes a perfect Princess Charming. Aaron, too, makes a lovely rags-to-riches character, again assured of his self-worth in spite of his circumstances. Together, these two capture the sweetness of the original story. It’s a nearly perfect update on this tale that has captured generations. 

Marry Me by Midnight has a lot to love as a historical romance. With compelling characters and thrilling twists and turns, this is a journey worth taking. The Jewish community should absolutely be included in the lexicon of Regency romances. This story makes this case and succeeds in bounds. These characters have magnetic qualities that make them worth revisiting again and again. 

Marry Me by Midnight is available now. 

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