Emily Ever After

( 20 )


A quirky and quick-witted girl moves to Manhattan and holds on for dear life.

Emily Hinton needs out. She comes from a small town in California where the church handbell choir concert passes for a decent way to spend a Saturday and she’s known all the boys since kindergarten. She dreams of sophisticated people, love, and Louis Vuitton. When she lands a job at the world-famous publishing house Morrow & Sons in New York, she knows that she is finally on her way. She packs her ...

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Emily Ever After

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A quirky and quick-witted girl moves to Manhattan and holds on for dear life.

Emily Hinton needs out. She comes from a small town in California where the church handbell choir concert passes for a decent way to spend a Saturday and she’s known all the boys since kindergarten. She dreams of sophisticated people, love, and Louis Vuitton. When she lands a job at the world-famous publishing house Morrow & Sons in New York, she knows that she is finally on her way. She packs her bags, says good-bye, and sets out for Manhattan, where she will fit in, even if it kills her.

In spite of her naïveté, she quickly becomes friends with the girls at work and begins to learn a thing or two about how things are done in Manhattan. She soon attracts the attention of the handsome Bennett and is swept into a whirlwind romance, but an overnight visit to his parents’ home at Thanksgiving and his seemingly idle flirtations with one of her colleagues give her second thoughts about what Bennett really wants. Her uncertainty about her feelings escalates when one of the hometown boys she left behind reappears in her life. Emily’s days at the office are also becoming complicated: an ambitious editor is breaking all the rules to publish a controversial book that demeans everything she believes in. Will she stand up for what she knows is right and risk losing it all?

Balancing her passion for the glamour of New York City with her determination to live by her morals turns out to be much more difficult than Emily ever imagined. Her roundabout quest for happiness will endear her to anyone who has ever dreamed of making it big, and faced more than a few pitfalls along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Dayton and Vanderbilt are their own demographic: cool and Christian.”–New York Daily News

“Moves past cliches and wrestles with faith… A classic story wrapped in the sweetness and comedy of Chick lit”–Relevant

“Wickedly funny but moral at the core.”–Publishers Weekly

“A refreshing entry in chick lit. It’s all there…but there’s a new twist: a set of solid morals.”–Women’s Lifestyle

Publishers Weekly
When smalltown California native Emily Hinton lands an editorial assistant position at a "world-famous" publishing house, she hangs a Bible verse in her cubicle, vows not to get drunk on weekends and begins her quest to build a glamorous and Christian life in the Big Apple. Her first day results in a meet-cute with one of the company's only other Christians, putative "total goody-goody" Bennett Edward Wyeth III, and pretty soon Emily and Bennett are an item. Enter, via e-mail, her elementary school crush, Jacob, who writes cleverly charming missives even as Bennett's stock is falling because his faith starts to seem insincere. But Emily's own faith is never explored: isn't there more to religion than prohibitions against heavy petting and Jell-O shots? The only convincingly devout Christian around is Emily's uncle, Matthew, who runs a mission in Times Square. Emily natters on, never seeming spiritual so much as prissy and pious, and by the time things come to a head-Emily's boss considers publishing an anti-traditional marriage screed, and she must decide whether to protest or to stay quiet-most readers will have had enough of her. Agent, Claudia Cross at Sterling Lord Literistic. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Chick-lit gets inspirational. Emily Hinton is a small-town girl who's always dreamed of moving to Manhattan, so when she lands a job at a big publishing house, it looks like she's going to make the dream a reality. She'll soon find out, though, that big-city life isn't always compatible with her faith, and the biggest test of all comes in the tall, dark and handsome form of Bennett Edward Wyatt III. Will she succumb to the enticements of New York, or will she make a stand for everything she believes in? Such is the conflict at the heart of Emily's tale, and it signals one of the many ways it differs from standard chick-lit fare. There'll be readers, heretofore underserved by popular women's fiction, who will appreciate the absence of sex. There may also be readers who find Emily's struggles to reconcile her faith with modern existence both realistic and resonant. But there may also be those who find Emily's vision of Christianity narrow and judgmental, and some of them may wonder why Emily is willing to lose her job rather than work for a company that publishes a book attacking God and traditional family-while she has no problem spending her Christmas editing an ultraviolent thriller. And without any doubt, some will find Emily's dogged naivete utterly exasperating. Throughout her cosmopolitan adventures, after all, she remains much given to bemused sentiments of the "only in New York!" variety. And readers with any knowledge of the ways of the world-not to mention the ways of romantic fiction-will quickly recognize Bennett as a straw man. His professed faith never makes sense-old-money and evangelical Christianity don't often go together-and he reveals himself as a cad way early.Christian readers hungry for chick-lit may appreciate the effort, but it's hard to imagine anyone else enjoying this generally irritating entry.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385514637
  • Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/7/2005
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,007,256
  • Product dimensions: 5.49 (w) x 8.24 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Meet the Author

ANNE DAYTON graduated from Princeton University and is currently earning her masters in English literature at New York University. MAY VANDERBILT graduated from Baylor University and went on to earn a masters degree in fiction from Johns Hopkins University. They both work in the editorial department of a large New York publishing house and live in Brooklyn.
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Read an Excerpt

new york, new york

The last thing my parents wanted to see before they left New York was a museum, so here we are at the Met. We did the whole museum in about forty-five minutes--they aren't exactly art collectors--and now we're up in the rooftop sculpture garden, and I'm taking a moment to watch the sun stain the green treetops orange in Central Park. It's just like a postcard.

I turn and see my father lumber over to a pop art sculpture, a metal garden spade fit for a giant, and rap his knuckle on it. I take off at a tasteful--well, as tasteful as I can manage in my new strappy sandals--sprint to try to stop him. He rubs his hand over the textured paint job, scratching the metal with his fingernail, manhandling the thing. It's too late. Two museum security guards in blue blazers beat me to him.

"Sir, do not touch the sculpture," the shorter one barks.

I am at my father's side in an instant. He looks at me, wounded and confused, and then back at the men.
"This is the only warning you'll get, sir. Do not touch any of the art," the other one says.

"He didn't mean to, he . . ." I sputter, simultaneously embarrassed by and aching for my poor confused father.

"Sorry about that. It won't happen again," says a deep voice behind me. Uncle Matthew is striding quickly across the roof on his long legs, his brown hair mussing in the wind, his confident demeanor and calming intonation setting the guards at ease. "I'll make sure he behaves," he laughs, winking at them.

They look at each other and, wordlessly, turn away. They walk back to the other side of the roof, stepping with almost military precision. I imagine sticking out my leg to trip them, but I control myself.

I turn and shake my head at my father. I feel how hot my cheeks are, and I glance around to see how many people have noticed. Everyone is staring at us.

I thought it was bad when my parents started singing "Give My Regards to Broadway," in harmony, in Times Square, but this is far worse. We stick out like sore thumbs. The Clampett family in New York. Green Acres all over again. Except that this isn't an old TV show. It's my actual nightmare come true. The Hinton family in New York.

"Daaad . . ." I whine a little. I can't help it. Please God. Please just let my family act normal. Oh please. I count in my head the number of hours until the Hinton family goes home, and Emily Hinton stays behind. Five. I can make it five hours. At least Uncle Matthew is here.

Mom comes up behind Dad and puts her hand on his shoulder. "Honey, Dad just wanted to see what it was made of. He wasn't going to hurt something as big as that." And then she turns around and with her third-grade teacher's voice belts out a warning to my twin brothers, who are currently across the rooftop garden trying to spit on the people below. God, just take me now, I say to myself. Take me now.

I always knew I'd get out of Jenks the first chance I got. Yes, Jenks, like jinx. It's a fitting name actually, like a curse. But technically the town is named after the man who founded it and has nothing to do with how you feel when you live there. Jenks, California. A regular old California suburb, with its regular old identical houses and regular old cars and regular old families. It's just north of La Jolla, the trendy suburb of San Diego with gated communities and a Banana Republic on every corner.

My parents are ex-hippies who "got saved" during the Jesus Movement. You'd never know it now, but they used to have long hair, trendy hip-hugging jeans, and weighed a combined total of 225 pounds. Now my mom's hair is a nondescript color, neither red nor brown, and she wears denim jumpers with wooden-bead necklaces. Essentially, she looks like every third-grade teacher in America. My father is your basic T-ball dad. He's got brown hair, a brown mustache, a barrel chest, and a basketball stuffed in his stomach. They're sweet and I love them, but they're definitely not New York. They're, well, Jenks, I guess.

I knew I wanted to live in New York ever since I saw When Harry Met Sally during my Meg Ryan phase. (The Hinton Family Council, of which there are exactly two members, approves of the entirety of Meg Ryan's film work.) There Harry and Sally were on New Year's Eve at a glitzy party on the top floor of some gorgeous skyscraper reaching toward heaven, and I knew someday I'd be a well-heeled, clever, and sassy New York ing*nue myself. I'd find my Harry, and we'd buy a Christmas tree on the street and crunch, crunch, crunch our way back through the fresh snow to my apartment. That night I announced that I was moving to the "Big Apple." My father told me to remember to write.

I had originally thought college would be my chance to finally transplant myself to New York. By then my room was cluttered with fashion magazines and I had read every book about New York that I could get my hands on. I even had a poster of the skyline at night hung on my wall. Unlike my best friend, Jenna, who would probably end up teaching physical education just like her mother someday and only attended school to keep up with gossip, I got straight A's. My parents worried that I studied too much and always encouraged me to take up sports or join clubs. My mom even suggested I play the handbells with her at church, which was all fine and dandy if you were over forty or married or both, but not fine for a girl like me. I had different things in mind.

I knew my parents wanted to help send me to college, but they just couldn't. My dream had always been to go to NYU, to be right there in the heart of Greenwich Village. I felt in my bones that I would someday go to parties and mingle with art students and attend fashion shows and book signings. Everyone said I was a shoo-in with my grades and my test scores. Jenna and I were already planning her sightseeing visits, during which I planned to whack her over the head with a frying pan and drag her into A.P.C. in SoHo, the shopping capital of the world, and buy her some basics. And even though I needed a hefty scholarship to make it happen, I wanted to only apply to NYU.

At the last moment my mom forced me to apply to San Diego State University as my safety school. The possibility of my staying in Jenks seemed so absurd at the time that I didn't fight her on it too much. I had been saying I was moving to New York the first chance I got ever since anyone could remember.

When I got the letter from NYU saying I had been wait-listed, I didn't immediately lose hope, but the more I looked at the math with my guidance counselor, the clearer it became that it wasn't going to work out, even if I did get in. They allotted 85 percent of their scholarship money to non-wait-listed applicants. I was crushed. My parents tried to make me feel better, pointing out all the positives, but I was inconsolable. I actually began to pray that I didn't get in at all, just so that I wouldn't be tempted to take out loans that I would never be able to pay back. But I did get in. I got off the wait-list in late May. I just threw the giant manila envelope in the trash and never told my parents. By doing essentially nothing, I found myself attending classes that fall at San Diego State University. Go Aztecs.

If in high school I had wanted to get out of Jenks in some idle way, the way most teenagers dream of distant shores, then in my college years, it became an obsession. School was a breeze so I got a job in the dining hall to make extra money. It wasn't a glamorous job, but it paid well because no one else wanted to do it. I slaved away, saved every penny, and lost myself in books. And even though I loved Jenna and we'd been friends since second grade, I became obsessed with the people I knew who had gone away to college, not stayed at Jenks and attended SDSU. In particular, I was dying to see what those who left were wearing, saying, and reading. The Berkeley students were always the best. You could take an average girl from my high school, give her one year at Berkeley, and she would return the following summer to Jenks a fascinating person with her own sense of style. One girl came home wearing a dog collar. She somehow made the dog collar look like a Tiffany choker. But all the time, I was making plans. Plans to get out.

"Is there going to be food at this thing?" Jenna asked, staring at herself in the rearview mirror.

"I don't know. Maybe. Please don't stick your feet out the window." She pulled them in slowly. It was toward the end of our junior year of college, and I was getting excited about spending the summer reading. Jenna was getting excited about catching up on her TV and her surfing.

"So who is this guy we're going to see?" she asked.

"James Collins. My favorite contemporary poet. He's one of the best people writing today." I looked at her hopefully. "He's won all kinds of awards. And he's only in town one night, which he chose to spend at a book signing so people like you could be turned on to the world of literature," I said. She yawned.

"Don't you want to know something about this guy before you hear him speak? Come on. Please pretend to care a little. Just for me."

She looked at me sideways, pasted a fake smile onto her face, and said through unnaturally bared teeth, barely moving her lips, "Just for you!"

I sighed. She was hopeless. She had on a pair of acid-washed jeans, a Coca-Cola T-shirt, and a miserable kelly green and black checkered flannel shirt tied around her waist. I wondered if I could knock some fashion sense into her if I pelted her with Vogue. Sometimes I swore she intentionally dressed cluelessly to get under my skin. Still, she had given up her evening and the season finale of The Bachelor to come with me, and I knew she wouldn't find it at all exciting. I had to give her that.

We pulled into the parking lot of the Barnes & Noble in La Jolla and walked to the store. Stepping inside, I took a deep breath. It smelled delicious, divine--like paper, coffee, opportunities.

I led Jenna to the rows of chairs. We found seats in the back and waited for the presentation to start. The bulk of the audience was older than we were, though there were a few other student types, and they all seemed to be immaculately dressed. Several people had notebooks out, and almost all clutched a copy of Collins's book. I wish, I thought to myself, I could be around people who care about books all the time.

While Jenna fidgeted, I paged through my copy. When James Collins finally came out of the back room and was introduced by the manager of the Barnes & Noble, I was enraptured. He looked a little older than he had in his author photo, his hair grayer around the temples, but he looked dignified. As he stepped up to the microphone, I clapped politely, and Jenna put her fingers in her mouth and let out a loud whistle and clapped enthusiastically. I glared at her, and she shrugged, whispering, "Just for you."

I turned back to the front, and he started to read, his voice low and soothing, a poem about looking at the surface of the water from underneath. The rhythm and cadence of his words came to life as he read. My mouth was hanging open. Jenna was playing a game on her cell phone.

He read several poems, and then asked if anyone had any questions.

A woman in the front row asked where he found his ideas, enunciating every syllable carefully.

"From the world," he replied slowly. "From nature. From children. Music. Art. Democracy. My inspiration is life." He paused, letting us absorb what he said.

"What is he babbling about?" Jenna whispered in my ear. "He didn't say anything at all."

"Shh . . ." I hissed at her. I was trying to ponder the profundity of his statement. I was sure if I just thought about it, it would become clear.

"Who has the greatest influence on your work?" a guy about my age asked.

"Without a doubt, that would be my editor, Roger Cole," he said. "He understands my poems and shapes them more than I like to admit." He laughed. What power, I thought. "For his wisdom I am undeniably grateful." It had never occurred to me that someone did that; that someone made the artist's raw work into art. I was intrigued. How did one become an editor?

After the questions, almost the entire crowd got into line to have their books signed. I waited patiently, while Jenna hit the complimentary refreshment table. I watched her skip over the baked brie and crudites tray and go straight for the potato chips and sodas they set out in case any children came. I groaned inwardly. I looked around at my fellow poetry lovers. These people were educated. They cared about literature, and they saw beyond their own private world. Jenna, over there now browsing the fitness magazines, well . . . as much as I loved her, she was a part of the world I wanted to leave behind. These people represented what I wanted to grasp. "I need to get out of here," I said under my breath.

"And whom shall I make this one out to?" I heard. I turned quickly. James Collins was reaching to take my book from my hand, smiling.

"Emily," I stammered.

"Emily, what do you do?" he asked kindly, looking up at me. Does James Collins really care what I do? Probably not, but he did ask.

"I'm a student," I said.

"What do you want to do when you get out?"

"I want to . . . get out of here, I guess. I think I want to work with books." I didn't know. I wanted to get paid to read, to work with literature. "I want to . . . be an editor maybe?"

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 20 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2008

    Loved it!

    This book made me laugh so much I had to stop and explain why I was laughing. I am not much of a reader but this book kept me reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2008

    So metaphor my life

    Growing up in a small town population 1,500 and the moving away to New Orleans. I could relate to this book. The situations were exactly how I felt. I love this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2007

    Disappointing Read

    Jacket completely misleading. Thought this would be a fun read. As a CHRISTIAN and a New Yorker, I found the story pedestrian, predictable, and PREACHY. The authors should have tried plot twists or character development-much more enjoyable than vague references to morals. Had they illustrated 'Emily's' background and beliefs more fully, the story would have been less treacly. Oh, and did I mention predictable? I also feel the authors could have spent time in New York City and gotten their facts straight (i.e. Connecticut trains leave out of Grand Central, not Penn Station). If you get this book for free, it might be ok. Don't spend the money otherwise.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2007

    A reviewer

    I loved this book. I was sucked into the life of Emily Hinton the second i started to read it. It is romantic comical and inspiring. I think the autors did a great job and i can't wait to read thier other books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2006

    I loved it!

    Okay, this book probably isn't what most people would except after looking at the cover, which is a ditzy chiclit. And while that may upset some people, it totally excited me! Being Christian, I found myself being able to relate in many ways to emily, and not just because we have the same name. I just couldn't put it down, it is such a feel good book, funny, exciting, inspiring, and I LOVED it! I would recommend this to any girl who is looking for a sweet book and a funny character to wish was real.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2006

    It's romantic and truethful!

    I don't read anything christian at all, and my sister picked this out then a year later I had no money and I needed a book to read and I read this and saw some truthfulness to it. Mainly about how hard it is for people like christians in this world to stand for what they believe in. Especially in the situation she is in. Also yes I know that my name is too Emily but that's why my sister picked it out for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2006

    We need more books like this!

    I picked up this book thinking: I could use an air-headed book about starting out in the work world. What I got was much more!!! I am so pleased that these women were able to write a book about what it means to be a Christian in the real world -- all the pressures and difficulties trying to figure out where the balance lies. It's not Dickens, but it's wonderful for it's genre. Us single Christian working-girls could use a lot more books like this on the market.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 11, 2006

    I wasted two days of my life on this book

    I was very disappointed with this book. I was hoping for a book of a different caliber, instead I felt as though the authors were not together in their efforts. The book constantly reminds you of Emily's convictions and leaves little else to the character development. I wish I never bought this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2006

    I read this book on the beach and threw it in the sand

    What I thought was going to be a good chick lit book turned out to be a religious book. Not that I have a problem with religion, but the book does not hint that it's entirely about that. Also, Emily is such a fantasy charcter....she sounds like a high schooler more than a mature adult.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2005

    Watered Down Christianity

    EMILY EVER AFTER is a book that represents watered down Christianity today and actually makes the reader think this is okay. I am sorry, but it is not. The book makes sin after sin seem small and insignificant. In God's eyes, there is no small or insignificant sin. It all gets in the way of our relationship with Him. And just because the girl stands up for family near the end -- apparently her only Christian conviction is the sanctity of marriage -- did not change my opinion.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2005

    Great Great Great!

    I would recommend this book to anyone. I loved it! Once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. I finally went to bed at 4 in the morning.

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  • Posted January 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Worth your while if you can get into it...

    For a chick lit story in the first person, this was a pretty decent read. I'd gotten spoiled by Billerbeck's and Baer's excellent use of the first person, so Emily Ever After didn't turn me on very much in regards to the authors' style and voice at first, but once I got started on the story, I became quite engrossed. I'm glad Emily made mostly wise choices. And when she made bad ones, she reaped the natural consequences. I enjoyed experiencing some of those lessons with her. Emily's attitude was so honest and her flaws so human, that I couldn't help liking her and wanting to see her do well in life and have a happy ever after ending. Overall, this was a pleasurable experience for me. I think the attempts by Bennett to manipulate her was very realistic, and that Jacob was a real Godsend for her. I think Bennett was more of an alcoholic than a Christian from what I could tell. Glad Emily figured out he wasn't right for her. I'd like to see another book by these ladies. Like maybe an Emily Ever After II. :)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2005


    Haven't finished and I never will. Weak story line and so predictable. I bought it because of the back cover which is completely misleading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2005

    I was misled

    I was completely misled in buying this book. I thought it would be like Berdorf Blondes, but it was nothing like it. The character misrepresents Christian values. Christian is a very broad term which is used in a very narrow way in this novel. Not all Christians are prudes, and most of us can handle real life and the 'sins' of others. I was offended not only by the image of a 'Christian' that was presented, but also because there was no warning of the religious content on the back of the book. The only allusion to the relgious content is evasive and fails to mention that the beliefs it refers to are reglious at all.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2005


    To put it simply, I hated this book and it was a waste of both my time and money. After I finished it (and it was painful to get through) I threw it in the trash. The main character is completely self-righteous and is a poor role model for women everywhere. I was mis-led and thought this would be a fun read, I only wish I would have read the reviews before buying this book. If I could give this book zero stars, I would. The main character is unrealistic and unrelatable, especially in today's society. If you are looking for a fun chick-lit novel with a heroine you can relate to, then don't pick up this book!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2005

    A Great Read

    I don't usually read fiction books but I picked this one up and read it. It thought it was spectacular. Emily dealt with everything I did when I moved to NYC and it was interesting to see how we both handled situations. I was a little disappointed with the ending though because I wanted something else to happen.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2005

    weak, disappointing

    Okay, what a waste of reading time. I love girly novels about office gossip, love, sex, cheating, etc..., anything to keep me entertained. This book made no reference that it was religious based. If you're looking for a religious read, this is your book. This book certainly shouldn't have been in the fiction novel section, but rather the christian section. This book is definitely faith based, and the author pushes her views on the christian way of life onto the reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2005

    A complete waste of time!

    I picked up this book on a whim on my way to the check out line -- I should have saved my money. The title character is a judgemental nitwit, completely unsympathetic and uninteresting. I kept putting down the book because she was so mindnumbingly self-important. It was difficult to finish, and I wish I hadn't bothered. What was most disturbing to me is the portrait painted of so-called 'Christians'. I am a religious person and found the characterization appalling. This is not a fun read and I hope that no one else accidentally buys this tripe like I did; misled by the packaging of the novel which is made to look like fun, chick-lit fluff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2005

    Not Another Move to NYC and Leave It Book!

    Pages 1-5 mistakenly set the stage for our heroine, Emily (aptly named because everyone from California is named Emily, right?) to follow her lifelong dream to NY. However, after page 6, her painful, joyless character wilts quickly and she trashes whatever and whoever she observes in NY. Snide comments and lack of personality seem to be Emily's keynote traits. Add a dose of rampant fundamentalism (because all Californians are born again, right?) and the reader just wants to rip the pages out in utter frustration. If there's any redeeming feature, it's the writing style, which is easy and goes fast. Looking forward to a better character and a unique story next time, ladies! Lucky for us who experience New York daily, the Emilies are getting fewer and fewer, and are remaining in their part of the red states...or is that blue states!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2005


    I cannot understand how anyone could not fall in love with Emily our sharp witted and 'quirky' heroine from the first. I loved the way she 'lived' and 'showed' her morals and Christianity by being who she was and not a phoney in any way. She comes up against some tough situations for anyone to face and in the end she ties her life together as an extreme growth in character and morals lead her to make some super decisions and life changes. I loved this book and could not put it down!!1 I highly recommend it to everyone. Christian and non alike! I read it in two and a half days! So? Keep your calendar open!

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