From Library Journal
Prequels, sequels, and spinoffs rarely are as successful as their antecedents. When attempted by someone other than the original author, beware. Gillespie has chosen to weave her tale around Frank Churchill, a fairly minor character from Jane Austen's Emma . The title character is Frank's 18-year-old half-sister, some 25 years his junior. The Churchills come to spend the summer near Celia and her father. Gillespie's besetting sin is trying to write with Austen's voice. What is dry, delightful, and witty in Emma is drab, ponderous, and stuffy here. When Gillespie sheds her Austen alter-ego, the pace picks up and the plot (if it can be called that) enfolds the reader. Gillespie is a talented enough writer to succeed on her own. If you have her other novels ( Ladys mead , Teverton Hall ) in your library, your readers will probably want this one. Otherwise this is not an essential purchase in the genre. A more successful Austen spinoff is Joan Aiken's Jane Fairfax, reviewed in this issue, p. 123.--Ed.- Paula M. Zieselman, Li brary Consultant, New York
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