Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkins

Published: October 25, 2022

St. Martin’s Griffin

Pages: 346

Genre: Romantic Comedy

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Jacqueline Firkins is a writer, costume designer, and lover of beautiful things. She’s on the full-time faculty in the Department of Theatre & Film at the University of British Columbia, where she also takes any writing class they’ll let her into. When not obsessing about where to put the buttons or the commas, she can be found running by the ocean, eating excessive amounts of gluten, listening to earnest love songs, and pretending her dog understands every word she says.

Marlowe Banks’s life has come apart at the seams. Her engagement ended abruptly. Her latest costume design was shredded by critics. Her student loans are overdue. Her parents have never been more disappointed. Desperate to hide from her failures, Marlowe flees New York City to embrace invisibility in Los Angeles as a menial Production Assistant on a popular TV show. While sorting socks and taking care of her boss’ spoiled Weimaraner, no one can confront her poor artistic choices or the end of her engagement, the end her ex refuses to accept.

When a costume mix-up requires Marlowe to step into in a scene, the camera catches a heated look between her and Angus Gordon, the show’s arrogant bad boy, thrusting Marlowe into the spotlight. As the pair is forced together on set, Marlowe learns she’s not the only one hiding. Walls come down for both of them, revealing a life Marlowe isn’t sure she’s ready for, and when her past comes calling, she has to decide if she’s going to stay invisible or if it’s time for a redesign.

“Kindness is a choice, not a default or an exclusive club for the ordinary.”

Marlowe ran away from New York after a show she costumed bombed and got terrible reviews, realizing her relationship wasn’t working. Finding work in the glamorous world of Hollywood wasn’t necessarily the ideal vision, but Marlowe is able to work while blending in. When a simple favor to cover for a friend results in a spotlight she never wanted with a Hollywood heartthrob, Marlowe now has to decide what she wants and to realize she deserves it.

I am currently in tears. This book’s acknowledgments are incredible, and the genuine sincerity in Jacqueline’s words have punched me right in the feels.

I loved this book. I loved the journey we took with Marlowe. I loved the internal struggle of not feeling like you’re enough. I loved the external voices of strangers we allow to influence our lives were portrayed.

The characters in this book were terrific. Marlowe is all of us. We are all Marlowe. We all have the struggle of figuring out who we are, what we want, how to achieve that, and dealing with the unbearable weight of societal pressure. Balance that with the seemingly calm confidence of Angus, and this couple was beautifully paired.

Cherry was such a fantastic side character. Wise, sassy, and loyal, she is the friend we all deserve. Even Babs was a great character who spent the majority of the book being misunderstood, which just further played the plot points home.

This storyline was so sweet. I enjoyed the emotional drive and the rational intentions. There was well-placed humor and heartfelt conversations.

Such a beautifully written story about how finding your voice and using your voice are two very different things. Also, about how choosing the road less traveled isn’t always the right thing to do. Follow your heart, even if it’s messy and unknown.

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