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Sense & Second Chances based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
(4.5 Stars) I LOVE re-tellings, especially when a story takes a life of its own, exactly as this one did. This modern version takes on characters belonging to two different religions, which I found fascinating. Emily steps in as a parent when her parents die and deals with all kinds of drama, from an older half-brother kicking them out of their home, to a difficult younger sister, to a spunky little brother, to a forbidden love interest, to a new job opportunity. To be honest, there were enough little changes that I had to second guess the outcome. The characters are strong and solid, which really adds to the flavor of the tale. There's plenty of tension, romance, and excitement as Emily and her family, co-workers, and friends navigate their way through the ups and downs of life. I love characters that are easy to relate to, especially when they have such inspiring ways to deal with their challenges. The plot moves swiftly, yet is believable and I felt that I was a part of things, which made it all the more fun for me. My only complaint--the ending was a little rushed and I wanted an epilogue or something to tie the thing off with a nice, tidy bow. Content: mild romance (clean kissing), mild-moderate religion (nothing preachy, but rather informative) *I received a copy from the publisher. A positive review was not required and all thoughts are my own.*
I enjoy Jane Austen adaptations for the most part, except when it follows the original story and dialogue too closely and just changes the setting. Fortunately, that was not the case here, and the details of the story felt new and original while giving a nod to the plot it was based on. Instead of wealth and social class being a hindrance to the romantic relationships of Emily and Annie, it is a difference in religion that prevents Emily from pursuing Joel, while Annie is dealing with the dynamic of having high moral standards and a spotlight on her acting career when Drew sweeps her off her feet. I liked that the ranch Emily inherited provided a way for her to be self-sufficient, even though she had to leave L.A., and it was the renovation projects there that kept her interacting with Joel. The grief Emily and her siblings are still dealing with brings a depth and poignancy to the emotion of the story, and I connected with the feelings of the characters as they navigate the new circumstances they find themselves in. The special friendship Emily shares with Joel is complicated by their chemistry and attraction for each other, and even though I was frustrated with her choices about their relationship, I was glued to the pages to see how everything would come together in the end. This is an LDS fiction novel, and it was definitely written with a Mormon readership in mind. Readers who appreciate clean romance may also enjoy it, but might not understand the significance behind Emily's conflict over starting a long-term relationship with a man of a different faith. (I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)