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Family Trust    by Amanda Brown order for
Family Trust
by Amanda Brown
Order:  USA  Can
Dutton, 2003 (2003)

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* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Becca Reinhart, partner in the investment firm of Davis Capital, is a proud workaholic. Every bit of her life is scheduled, right down to her walks to the elevator. She's young, attractive, and married to her job - much to the dismay of her mother. Edward Kirkland is, by all accounts, a rich playboy. His role with the Kirkland Philanthropic Foundation is a job in only the broadest sense of the word. Most of his evenings are spent at charity events with one society woman or another draped across his arm. Edward knows the time is coming when he will have to bow to his parents' wishes and marry Bunny Stirrup, but he hopes that it will be far in the future.

Becca and Edward are thrown together when the parents of four-year-old Emily Stearns are killed in a plane crash. Arthur Stearns and Amy Kolasky never married, and each name a different guardian in their will. Arthur names Edward, while Amy names Becca. The two co-guardians meet for the first time at the court hearing, and they could not be more different. Becca is driven, high powered, and obsessive. Edward is laid back, affable, and goes with the flow. Although an unlikely match, the two settle down to make things work for the sake of a little girl who has captured both their hearts. Becca and Edward stumble through scheduling mishaps and hilarious preschool interviews. Growing closer to Emily, they grow closer to each other. But what will happen to their newly formed lifestyle when Bunny decides to force the marriage issue with Edward? Where will Emily call home, and with whom will she live?

Family Trust is a light, engaging novel. The two opposite personalities make for hilarious results. I laughed out loud during the preschool interviews, the first at a pretentious French school and the second at an all-inclusive politically correct school where names are known as 'personal identifiers.' And Becca's experience with 'speed dating' will garner sympathy from anyone trying to find that perfect mate on a time schedule. Both Becca and Edward go through major transformations during the course of the novel. Becca learns to relax, and Edward learns to take responsibility. Readers will cheer for the good guys to win and for the witch to get her comeuppance.

The story's pace makes a quick read, as the reader wants to discover Emily's fate. The timing of some of the chapters is a bit confusing due to the third person point of view alternating between Edward and Becca. At times I couldn't figure out when events were occurring. However, this doesn't detract from the plot flow or the engaging characters. Amanda Brown, author of the highly original and funny Legally Blonde, has penned another winner with Family Trust.

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