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Amanda (Thorndike Christian Romance) Hardcover – Large Print, 2 Mar 2009

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 457 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Large type edition edition (2 Mar. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410408620
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410408624
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another modern take on Jane Austen's 'Emma', supposedly set in Tasmania (but reads more like the author's native Texas). The characters' names link to the original - with 'Haley Schmitz' and 'Betty Cates' - but necessary changes are made to translate nineteenth century formality into today's more natural society. Emma Woodhouse becomes Amanda Wood-Priebe, twenty-five year old CEO of the family travel agency, once again educated in America (presumably to excuse the American dialogue). She lives with her diabetic father Henry, and is 'married' to her work. In the office, Amanda's secretary and closest friend is Haley Schmitz, a young orphan brought up in foster homes who is keen to 'belong' to a family (a nice touch to explain Amanda's influence). Mr Knightley becomes Nate Knighton, heir to a chain of department stores. He's ten years older than Amanda, but dresses like he's fifty, in red ties and vests, and tells embarrassing 'dad' jokes. Anne Taylor is now Angie West, lately married to stockbroker Wayne, and she is incongruously still Amanda's former governess. (Do people still have governesses?) Wayne's son Franklyn jets back and forth between his aunt in England and his father in Australia (a rather greater distance than 16 miles!) Betty Cates is the scatter-brained cleaning woman for Wood-Priebe International, who rather randomly has an adopted niece, Janet French, a beautiful and petite Asian girl.

The story is sympathetic to Austen's novel of matchmaking and misguided intentions, but also works well as a stand-alone romance, light and frothy. Amanda's motives in protecting her friend's interests are understandable, and the tangled web of who likes who generally holds up, apart from the 'illicit' pairing of Franklyn and Janet, which isn't really explained.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read! 2 Mar. 2015
By AvengerFreak3 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love Debra White Smith's Austen Series! She did a good job putting a modern spin on the classic tale of Emma! Some people would say it doesn't go exactly by the book, but I don't think that is a bad thing. If she wrote it exactly like Jane Austen's book, it would just be another Emma. I wouldn't have been nearly half as good if she just copied Jane Austen. No, Debra took a tale, spun it into a modern setting, as her own story with the basis of Emma. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 31 May 2017
By Rockin' Robin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fun read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Emma Retold 29 May 2007
By Deborah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Amanda, the fifth book in the Austen series, is a retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. Amanda decides that it is her duty to save her friend Haley from a doomed relationship with Roger and to set her up with someone more suitable. This leads her to introducing Haley to the new pastor in town Pastor Eldridge. Meanwhile Amanda's best friend Nate begins to think more of Amanda than just a friend, but Amanda's too busy with her matchmaking to notice this plus she's also interested in the new guy in town Franklyn. But when the pastor beings to notice Amanda and Haley with Nate, it looks like Amanda's plans need some retouching!

I've always enjoyed Jane Austen's stories and so far have enjoyed Debra White Smith's modern retelling of them especially the Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility remakes. Emma is one of Austen's most well known stories and it ranks as my 3rd favorite. So I was looking forward to reading this book to compare it. I did enjoy seeing the story with all the elements from the original novel incorporated. I liked learning about the Australian culture as well. I did fell though that characters were very stock and I didn't get to understand them completely. Amanda's reasons for Haley ditching Roger are very poor and Haley seems very weak not to stand up to her. Meanwhile Nate never seems to be able to stop being at a loss of words in front of Amanda which got annoying after a while. The main problem I have about books that "retell" another story is that the real book will get mentioned in the retelling. In this book, the characters bring up the story of Emma several times. Why then can they not see that what is going on in their lives is EXACTLY what happens in the book? I mean don't the characters see that everything is completely parallel to the story? This books was also the hardest of the series to picture in a modern setting. I think, though, that the reason may be because I had just watched the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma right before reading this book.

This book was an enjoyable read. If you liked the other Austen books, pick this one up.
4.0 out of 5 stars Emma? Not really. 26 Jun. 2006
By Debbie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If I hadn't been told that this was a 'modern retelling of Emma,' I would never have noticed a resemblance. It's a very tenuous connection. The movie "Clueless" stuck closer to the story as Jane Austen told it.

The reason I like Jane Austen's "Emma" is because Emma is so sure she knows what love is (for other people, mind you), that she doesn't recognize it until it hits her (and Mr. Knightly) hard at the end. I also love that her friendship with and scoldings from Mr. Knightly help her grow into someone worthy of that fine gentleman's love. In Amanda, Nate (Knightly) realizes that he loves Amanda from the start of the book and is frankly a wuss in how he handles it. Amanda is also interested in Nate from the start (though she tries to deny it) instead of realizing it only at the end. Also, Amanda doesn't grow up a lick in this book. I'd give this book about 1.5 stars in how closely it sticks to the heart of Jane Austen's book.

However, if you take this book on it's own and don't compare it to Emma, I'd say it's a very funny story and better than many Christian romance stories out there. I do find it silly that Amanda and Nate, these life-long friends, don't say, 'gee, I love him/her for their fine character qualities' more than once but obsess about their physical attraction throughout the book. I can understand focusing so much on the physical looks if you just met the person but isn't that a bit odd for life-long friends? However, I'd give this book 4 stars when ignoring any comparisons with Emma.
5.0 out of 5 stars Amanda by Debra White Smith 6 Feb. 2009
By S. Mary Kopitar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Amanda" is book 5 out of 6 in the Jane Austen series by Debra White Smith. I have enjoyed all five that I have read, but thus far, "Amanda" is my favorite. That could be because Jane Austen's "Emma" is also my favorite of her novels. "Amanda" is a witty and modernized retelling of the classic, "Emma." The author's use of descriptive words is great and I like her style of expression. The exotic locale of Tasmania caused me to do a little Internet surfing to see pictures of the beautiful lands described in the book. I found the plot very close the original work with the exception that we get to experience Nate's (Knightley's) point of view far more. He does act like a love-sick puppy at times, but that's alright with me! If you enjoyed the movie "Clueless" then chances are you'll also enjoy this funny, romantic tale of "mismatched matchmaking" and true love triumphing in the end!
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