Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Debra White Smith Review: Amanda

Though quirky, this one was rather well done. Perhaps that’s because the novel Emma was rather quirky as well.

At 25, Amanda is the youngest CEO in Australia, running her father’s travel company with the help of her dowdy but efficient secretary Haley. After realizing Haley is on the cusp of being married to a local farmer, Amanda decides drastic measures are in order, gives her a makeover, and tries to hook her up with the pastor of their church, Mason Eldridge. This simultaneously amuses and exasperates long-time family friend Nate Knighton.

This translated quite well with only minor changes. Haley, for example, is much more intelligent than Harriet, and seems to mainly suffer from lack of confidence. Amanda, like most Emma incarnations, is a somewhat softer, friendlier version, although she is still done quite well overall. And of course, the Mr. Woodhouse expy isn’t ailing in the least, though his daughter still clearly spoils him.

What can I say? It’s one of the ones I like to go back and read over, simply because it is well-written, entertaining, and translates well from the original novel. Amanda is loveable, exasperating, pitiable, sweet, snobbish, and the complex character we expect. As usual Smith makes it more obvious than in the original novels that the main characters are in love (though Amanda, like her counterpart, is just as oblivious till the end). The main failing is that the “Frank”/”Jane” pairing seemed rushed rather than subtly hinted at throughout the book.

Overall, a very good read, and the one I would place second on the list.

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