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Book Review: Marlowe Banks, Redesigned (ARC)

Expected publication: October 25th 2022

Author: Jacqueline Firkins

In Marlowe Banks, Redesigned, Jacqueline Firkins wonderfully captures the messiness of failure, forgiveness, and embracing a second chance on life and love.

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.

Marlowe Banks, Redesigned is my first novel by Jacqueline Firkins. The main character, Marlowe, is looking to escape her life in New York City after a series of disasters. She lands the role as a Production Assistant on a TV show after her relocation to Los Angeles. While her dream is to work her way up to a costumer, for now, she is running errands. Marlowe fills in on set one day for a scene with famous bad boy actor, Angus Gordon. As Marlowe is potentially asked to return to act alongside Angus, the two of them begin to get to know each other.

The longer Marlowe is trying to make a new life for herself in Los Angeles, the more she realizes how much she needs to confront from her past. She has some negative incidents with costuming from her past in New York plus a complex relationship with her ex-boyfriend. Angus is trying to deal with an ex of his own plus the daily struggle of his tough exterior persona. The concept of the Angus becoming fascinated by the hot mess girl and the girl falling for the misunderstood star is not new, but it still was an enjoyable story. Marlowe’s journey to empower herself after running away from her past has been done in other stories as well, so I do wish that there was something a little more to make her stand out to me.

The chemistry between Angus and Marlowe was well-done and I did love their slow burn enemies to lovers romance.  The two characters were enjoyable, and I liked their storyline. The standouts for me were the exploration of social media and the meanings behind costumes. There is a lot to love in this story, though, and it is perfect for those who love pleasant and well-paced romance and personal growth stories. There is a nice balance between the romance and the growth of each character so neither storyline detracts from the other. Overall, this was a nice introduction to the author, and I look forward to reading more from her in the future!

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, St. Martin’s Griffin, for the opportunity to read this enjoyable novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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