Marry Me by Midnight (Once Upon the East End: Book 1) by Felicia Grossman

Publisher: Forever (Grand Central Publishing), Forever

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Romance, Historical Romance, Historical, Historical Fiction, Jewish, Fiction, Adult, MF Romance, Adult Fiction, Victorian

Series: Once Upon the East End

Marry Me by Midnight—Book 1

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

Every love story begins with once upon a time .
London, 1832 : Isabelle Lira may be in distress, but she’s no damsel. Since her father’s death, his former partners have sought to oust her from their joint equity business. Her only choice is to marry—and  fast —to a powerful ally outside the respected Berab family’s sphere of influence. Only finding the right spouse will require casting a wide net. So she’ll host a series of festivals, to which  every  eligible Jewish man is invited.
Once, Aaron Ellenberg longed to have a family of his own. But as the synagogue custodian, he is too poor for wishes and not foolish enough for dreams. Until the bold, beautiful Isabelle Lira presents him with an irresistible offer . . . if he ensures her favored suitors have no hidden loyalties to the Berabs, she will provide him with money for a new life.
Yet the transaction provides surprising temptation, as Aaron and Isabelle find caring and passion in the last person they each expected. Only a future for them is impossible—for heiresses don’t marry orphans, and love only conquers in children’s tales. But if Isabelle can find the courage to trust her heart, she’ll discover anything is possible, if only she says yes. 

First Line:

If one wanted to hide, the front row of the women’s balcony in the Great Synagogue at Duke’s Place was not where to do so.

Marry Me by Midnight by Felicia Grossman

Isabelle is in a bind. Since her father’s death, her father’s partner, the Berabs, has been slowly freezing her out of the business. And he now has given her an ultimatum: Marry or he will take the company over wholly. Backed into a corner, Isabelle decides to throw three festivals. There, she hopes to find a husband who will be more ruthless than her late father’s business partner. When Isabelle meets Aaron, the temple’s handsome custodian, she makes him an offer: Spy on her suitors and let her know where their loyalties lie. If her chosen suitor is not loyal to the Berabs, then she will give him enough money so he can start a new life. But Isabelle and Aaron were not expecting the attraction that they felt towards each other. Isabelle and Aaron must push their feelings aside if Isabelle is to marry. Will Isabelle marry for all the wrong reasons? Will Aaron be able to do what Isabelle wants without his feelings getting in the way?

When I read the blurb for Marry Me by Midnight, I was instantly intrigued. This book is the first Jewish reverse Cinderella Victorian romance I have ever read. I was intrigued enough to download this book from Forever. I am glad that I did because this was a great read!

Marry Me by Midnight is the first book in the Once Upon the East End series. Since this is the first book in the series, you don’t need to do anything I usually tell you to do in this section.

Marry Me by Midnight is a fast-paced book set in the East End of London during the Victorian Era. The pacing for this book did suit the storyline. There was a little lag in the middle (while Aaron gathered intel) and toward the end. But it did not affect how I liked the book.

The main storyline in Marry Me by Midnight centers around Aaron, Isabelle, her need to get married, their bargain, and their falling in love. I found this storyline to be fascinating. As I mentioned above, I haven’t read many books centered around the Jewish religion/community in the Victorian era. So, I was very interested and excited to read it. I found the storyline well-written (a little unbelievable in places, though) and was completely engrossed by it.

Several more minor secondary storylines helped flesh out the main storyline and characters. They were also well-written.

I liked Isabelle, even if I found her slightly too modern for the Victorian era. Victorian England was not woman-centric (women were still considered property at this point), and what Isabelle was trying to do (have a say in the business) was unheard of. Now, saying this, I don’t know if the Jewish community in that era did things differently, so I gave Isabelle a lot of leeway. Regardless, I liked her and was rooting for her character to overcome her obstacles.

I liked Aaron, but I needed help connecting with him. The author mentioned that he left the Jewish community to live among the Gentiles and returned injured and shamed. The author said nothing more on that matter. I would have loved to know what happened to him. I also found him bumbling and rather clueless when getting information for Isabelle. I mean, everyone was onto him. Still, it didn’t affect how much I liked him.

I liked that the author took the Cinderella fairytale and flipped it. I loved who his fairy godmother turned out to be. I did not see that coming at all.

The storyline with Isabelle, the Berabs, the business, and Isabelle needing to marry was interesting and annoying. It was a situation where everything could have been solved by talking instead of people going to the nuclear option.

The storyline with Isabelle, Aaron, and his spying was amusing. As I mentioned above, Aaron wasn’t a good spy. He bumbled his way through everything, and I was surprised that he even got the information that he got (if that makes sense).

The storyline with Isabelle, Aaron, and their romance was sweet. I liked how Aaron tried to hold Isabelle off as long as he could until he gave in. Also, the sex scenes were wild.

I wish the author had gone into more detail about the Jewish community in London. She did an afterward explaining the basis for the fictional community and its history. I wish more details were given about the temple and what happened there.

The end of Marry Me by Midnight was your typical HEA. I liked that the author wrapped everything up and left everything happy. I am also looking forward to book 2.

I would recommend Marry Me by Midnight to anyone over 21. There is sex, violence but no language.

Many thanks to Forever (Grand Central Publishing), NetGalley, and Felicia Grossman for allowing me to read and review Marry Me by Midnight. All opinions stated in this book are mine.

If you enjoy reading books similar to Marry Me by Midnight, then check these out:

Other books by Felicia Grossman:

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.