I've been on a Jane Austen kick for a while so I was very excited to discover White Smith's series. What a neat idea! I did enjoy First Impressions and am such a sucker for romance that I will likely read the rest of the books (plus, I'm just too curious to see what the author has done with the stories) but I also have to agree on some of the negative points raised by other reviewers. The editors, actually, should have done a better job of catching some annoying and distracting repetitions -- for example, too many references to Eddi's french braid (gah!) or the smell of Mrs. DeBloom's cheese dip (bleah). I also agree that at some point the characters could have acknowledged some of the similarities between the play they were performing and their own lives. Maybe it's because I'm from Montreal, but some of the Texas culture and the dialogue seemed a bit exaggerated or forced to me and I struggled to picture the outfits being described because they sounded too 80s to me (a lavender suit? city shorts? french braids on tough, professional 30-something lawyers?) But maybe styles are different in small-town Texas! :) Again, a lot of these were editing problems, but it doesn't help the book much by my pointing that out, does it? Maybe it just makes me feel less guilty about sounding critical of the author. :D
I "hear" the reviewer who pointed out that the Christian element in the book, though present, wasn't overt. Although it is just a romance novel, I agree that the characters' faith and church involvement could have been less incidental and more fundamental.
On a more positive note, I should add that I really appreciated the sub-plot about the youngest sister -- a very tricky topic was handled sensitively.
I struggled with how many stars to give this book because I really did enjoy it, but purely for the entertainment it provided. If you're looking for fine literature, you may be disappointed. But if you just want a feel-good story that feeds your Jane Austen addiction, I think you'll enjoy this book.
I can't help it... I have to read Romance & Reason next! :)