When seventeen-year-old Olivia Davies receives a phone call from her estranged father in the middle of the night, she’s in for a huge shock. Her father is getting married–again–and he wants her to be at the wedding. So over summer break, Olivia packs her bags and makes the trip back to England to meet her future stepmother. But instead of the middle-aged woman she expected, Olivia finds herself introduced to Emmy Balfour, a stunning blonde young enough to be her sister. And if that wasn’t enough, she also finds herself dealing with the disapproval of Emmy’s older brother, Ian, a man for whom “polite” and “respect” seem to be four-letter words.
With only three weeks until the wedding, Olivia struggles to stay afloat while navigating the treacherous waters of wedding planners, aristocracy, and bridesmaid’s dresses–not to to mention the bridesmaids in the dresses. But just when she thinks everything is finally settling down, a few well-timed lies threaten to destroy her father’s chance at happiness. As a last resort, Olivia must work with Ian in an attempt to set things right, a partnership that forces her to decide if keeping him at a distance or disregarding her first impressions of him will cause her to step up and make a few changes in her own life.
Knotted contains a delightful story wrapped in every emotion you can imagine. It’s the ultimate feel-good read, the kind you can put down with a smile on your face, and manages to be so without being superficial, which is quite a feat. Several serious issues appear here, including divorce, parenting, family drama, and of course, pride and prejudice.
Ms. Olson obviously drew a great deal of inspiration from Jane Austen, but she did so subtly. Instead of merely repackaging the exact plot of Pride & Prejudice into a modern story, which must have been tempting, she created an original story quite different from that of P&P and included only partial elements and tidbits, really a tribute woven in so carefully that only Austen aficionados will catch it. The characters in Knotted are fully-formed and fabulous, and completely stand on their own apart from whatever P&P role(s) they fill.
For example, our protagonist Olivia Davies is a far cry from well-composed, self-assured Lizzie Bennet. To put it bluntly, Olivia is a hot mess. That’s what I love about her. So often in YA novels, our main characters are so put together and well-adjusted, and while that’s all well and good, that’s not at all how I was as a teenager. In fact, aside from being “willowy” and having a father who lives on the other side of the pond, Olivia could have very well been me. She wears ratty clothes and slaps on old gas station makeup she barely knows how to use, and she’s clumsy and really down on herself a lot. She hates being on the receiving end of nice gestures because she doesn’t like the attention. I so identify with that, and am only recently coming out of my own similar phase, so it was nice to see her start to come to terms with her own self-worth at the end of the novel. I’m crossing my fingers for a sequel, and soon! 🙂
If you can’t already tell, I definitely recommend Knotted to fans of YA lit and/or Jane Austen. Let’s get real, in an ideal world, that covers everyone. So: everyone should read this book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Quenby Olson lives in Central Pennsylvania where she spends most of her time writing, glaring at baskets of unfolded laundry, and chasing the cat off the kitchen counters. She lives with her husband and two daughters, who do nothing to dampen her love of classical ballet, geeky crochet, and staying up late to watch old episodes of Doctor Who.
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