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Christine Benson
Marrying Myself
Julia Jones is about to marry her uber-wonderful, uber-wealthy soulmate, ditch her dead-end nonprofit job, and finally focus on her stalled art. But when the wedding doesn't go quite according to plan, Julia's real-life fairy tale is suddenly out the window - leaving her happy ending up to her, and her alone. Looking for a fun, often funny read with substance and a jolt of self-love? Pick up Marrying Myself and fall in love with Julia, with Boston - and, most of all, with yourself.
Debut novelist Benson’s first offering, a contemporary fiction with hints of romance, is filled with surprises and a delightfully off-beat cast. Julia seemingly has it all—a thoughtful, rich fiancé, a job with purpose, and a coterie of supportive friends and family. But just when everything seems perfect, trouble crops up in the most unexpected places, starting with Byron, the new intern at work, and her fairy tale begins to crumble. Before long, her Swiss castle wedding goes awry, her fiancé, Asher, divulges he’s not who she thought he was, and she’s faced with a very different life than the one she planned for.

Throughout the novel’s events, Julia’s theme of self-discovery and journey to understand her needs independent of the others in her life is carefully nurtured. In returning to her first love, painting, after willingly putting it aside for Asher, she reawakens her artist’s heart, in the process re-evaluating her life’s decisions to determine what suits the woman she’s becoming. None of the answers are easy— including whether she should nourish old hobbies or discard them for the sake of trying something new—and her romantic outcome becomes even more uncertain when past high school friend Sean and close pal David throw their hats in the ring.

Benson’s easy writing style paired with carefully curated descriptions provides for a relaxed, captivating read. Julia’s perspective is richly developed, allowing readers an intimate tour of her mental landscape and an almost-voyeuristic glimpse into the mechanics behind her decisions, and her support network offers appealing viewpoints bolstered by occasional words of wisdom—particularly her best friend, Kat, and her slightly unconventional, quirky sister, Jolene. At times heartbreaking and at others purely entertaining, readers will fall in love with Julia’s story—and the idea that life is a journey, not a destination.

Takeaway: A young woman rediscovers herself after her fairy tale life begins to fall apart.

Great for fans of: Jill Shalvis’s One in a Million; Carley Fortune’s Every Summer After.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: NA
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A