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Emily Ever After    by Anne Dayton & May Vanderbilt Amazon.com order for
Emily Ever After
by Anne Dayton
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2005 (2005)
Softcover

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Emily Hinton is from Jenks, California, a small town near San Diego. Emily's parents are born-again Christians (after a stint of being hippies in early adulthood) and Emily is also Christian. She has just graduated college in San Diego and her dream is to move to New York and work for a publishing house. Emily's parents are reticent about the idea because they tend to think The Big Apple a dangerous place, also one that is far from their home. Nonetheless, when Emily's Uncle Matthew (also a Christian who resides in New York running a missionary soup kitchen) gives her a lead to a large publishing house, Emily lands a job as an assistant to eccentric editor Xavier and moves to Manhattan.

Emily's life quickly moves ahead as she secures an apartment with an uptight but otherwise relatively normal roommate and starts work. While she feels different from most of the sophisticated young women who lead a fast-paced (and arguably non-Christian lifestyle), Emily soon garners a few girlfriends, with whom she takes lunch breaks at the company's in-house cafeteria. Emily also meets an amazing boy on the job Bennett is also a Christian and has model good looks. They start dating though Emily is unsure where the relationship is headed. When a crush from her elementary school years contacts her via E-mail, Emily begins questioning what she wants and whether Bennett is really true to his faith. Meanwhile, she befriends her lonely but well-meaning Uncle Matthew, who has put his life savings into his soup kitchen.

This entertaining read has a chick lit feel, tempered by more poignant and serious moments as Emily adapts to life in New York and to how it tests her faith in God. While inspirational fiction is generally not my cup of tea, I was engrossed in the story and found it refreshing to read about a young woman who respects her personal values. (Thankfully, the book does not come across as preachy.) Twenty-something fans of both chick lit and inspirational fiction will be particularly drawn to Emily Ever After.

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