First Impressions – A Delightful Book For The Austen Fan

Friday, June 15, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | First Impressions by Debra White Smith – A Delightful Book For The Austen Fan

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Author: Debra White Smith
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2018 (reissue)
Series: The Jane Austen Series, Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher Provided - thank you, Bethany House!
FIND the BOOK ELSEWHERE: Amazon | Goodreads
Amazon | Blogger | Goodreads | Wordpress
Rating: ★★★ ½

Though she’s a newcomer to this small Texas town, Eddi Boswick isn’t about to take any nonsense – from anyone. No matter how handsome he may be! Such is the case when it comes to the town’s uptight bachelor Dave Richards! As luck would have it, Eddi is cast opposite this infuriating man in the local production of Pride and Prejudice. Wills and sparks fly between the two as Eddi’s dislike of the man grows… until he challenges her always-right track record of first impressions.

If you didn’t guess, this novel is a contemporary re-telling of the Jane Austen novel Pride & Prejudice. Though I don’t know if it’s true or not, information that’s readily available online is the thought that Austen’s tome was initially titled First Impressions. A title that’s certainly befitting of this story, and these characters. This is why this novel bearing the title impresses on the reader a fun little throwback.

Originally published in the early 2000s (by Harvest House), this book held many fond memories from that initial read through. Now, in 2018, Bethany House repackages and republishes the entire 6-book collection. May we also just take a moment to acknowledge how beautiful this repackaging is? (Seriously, I mean I had to add this one to the bookshelf!) Though imperfect, and not quite as I remembered (memories came back the more I read), I did thoroughly enjoy First Impressions. It follows the original narrative faithfully, only of course, in a contemporary setting and without the word-for-word dialogue as a script might use.

The characters are quirky and sassy, though I do feel like some of them (even those we’re meant to root for) make foolish choices. One character in particular disappointed me because I don’t see their choice meshing at all with the personality we know of this sensible and kind character. Beyond this, everyone seems to match their origin characters suitably albeit with shifts to fit in the modern world. The actions and reactions of everyone else seems like something they might have done if not for the confines of the 1800s.

Those looking for the kind of epic love story we know between Darcy and Elizabeth will be disappointed. I don’t feel like the romance is very well developed and written, but what’s there is cute and fun to follow. Despite my few quibbles, I did enjoy this (re)read. It’s easy to jump into and provides a fun bit of escapism for those wanting something lighthearted. First Impressions is sure to give you this experience.

Content note: this one does deal with an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, talk of abortion, drug use, and sexual situations. However nothing is ever graphically depicted.

Synopsis: Lawyer Eddi Boswick tries out for a production of Pride and Prejudice in her small Texas town. When she's cast as the lead, Elizabeth Bennet, her romantic co-star is none other than the town's most eligible--and arrogant—bachelor. – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book; all opinions are my own.


  1. I was at the bookstore yesterday and I saw this on the shelf. Good review. I haven't decided if I will read it.

    1. If you do, I do hope you enjoy, Katie - and if you missed it, there is a giveaway for this one running on Finding Wonderland. :)

  2. I love the cover! It's so pretty! Great review! I've been thinking about getting this novel. I enjoy retellings of Pride and Prejudice.

    1. Isn't it gorgeous? I had the oldie covers, but I simply had to snag this one too!!

      PS: you can enter the giveaway here for this one through Friday if you'd like, Ashley. :)


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