Family Trust
Amanda Brown
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Buy *Family Trust* online

Family Trust

Amanda Brown
368 pages
July 2003
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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Becca Reinhart is young, she’s beautiful, and this girl from Queens is extremely successful at the Wall Street investment firm she works for. On top of it, she has a wonderful relationship with her mother! She’s constantly working, continuously jetting around the world making more money for herself as well as her firm. But she’s also a good person at heart and beloved by all those who know her. So, it looks like hers is a perfect life.

Edward Kirkland is similarly blessed - a highly eligible bachelor, he’s the only son of fabulously rich parents and has never had to work a single day of his charmed life. Born with a diamond spoon in his mouth, this good-natured playboy leads a lazy, pampered and luxuriously unruffled life among the cream of New York society.

These two diametrically opposite yet similar individuals are brought together when a couple dies and names them as co-guardians for their only child, precocious four-year old Emily. Suddenly Becca and Edward find themselves in the position of parents to a child who herself is an odd mixture of maturity and childishness. Becca finally has to learn to set her work second to her darling charge, while Edward learns to finally be responsible. It sounds simple enough, but the situation involves a lot of juggling which gives rise to comical situations -- and this means fun for everyone reading the book. Factor in some good old-fashioned attraction between the pseudo-parents, and you’ve a romantic comedy in your hands.

Author Amanda Brown first became famous when her novel Legally Blonde was made into a highly successful movie. She’s tried to repeat the magic in Family Trust. While the book itself is enjoyable, it simply doesn’t have that spark, that essence which transcends the mundane. Almost all the characters involved in this tale are over the top - too good in the case of the good guys, and almost comically evil in the case of the bad guys. Also, the eagerness with which confirmed bachelors like Becca and Edward embrace parenthood looks bogus. The situations the trio get involved in while trying to gain Emily admission into a series of snooty upscale New York pre-schools does generate laughter, and Brown accurately captures and pokes sly fun at the pretentiousness, the ludicrous competition and the absolute distance from reality that the rich exhibit – an example would be the "Armani for Everyone" fund drive. The pathos involving little Emily, who’s understandably confused by all this, is touching. Energetic Becca seems to do the most parenting and comes across as mildly interesting; her efforts are laudable. But Edward’s overall lack of involvement and initiative throughout the story renders him a false hero. And the ending is absurdly fantastic.

At the novel's conclusion, it feels like Brown forgot that she was writing a book and instead wrote a larger-than-life, implausible Hollywood movie script. Maybe this book will one day be made into a successful movie, but right now, the same cannot be said of the book.

© 2003 by Rashmi Srinivas for Curled Up With a Good Book

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