cover image Anne of Manhattan

Anne of Manhattan

Brina Starler. Morrow, $15.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-302074-0

Adaptations of beloved children’s books are difficult to pull off, but Starler’s debut—a romantic, modern-day riff on Anne of Green Gables—brings impressive heart and sensuality to a classic. Stubborn, fiercely moral Anne Shirley is finishing the last year of her master’s in education at fictional Redmond College in Manhattan when her old nemesis, Gilbert Blythe, has the gall to roll back into town. Gil has transferred from Berkeley to help out after his father’s diagnosed with cancer. He ends up in the same program as Anne and must work with her to lead an after-school writing workshop. As Anne confronts her old prejudices against the charming, handsome Gil, Gil realizes that his teenage love for Anne still lingers. But between old fears, a competitive grad program, and a creepy thesis adviser, can these enemies-turned-lovers make it? Starler manages to capture the original’s wholesomeness while adding a contemporary sexy edge. Unfortunately, the focus on the slow-burning relationship comes at the expense of other important characters—including menacing Dr. Lintford and Anne’s best friend, Diana Barry, whose plotlines are glossed over. Still, this is a sweet update to a classic story with an Anne Shirley fans will recognize and a Gilbert Blythe as dreamy as ever. [em]Agent: Jennifer Udden, New Leaf Literary. (June) [/em]