Amanda:A Contemporary Retelling of Emma

By: Debra White Smith


Amanda Wood Priebe: Based upon Emma Woodhouse from Jane Austen’s Emma. Amanda is a witty young heiress of both the Wood and Priebe fortunes. She declares herself wholly devoted to her father and “married” to their prosperous tourist company.

Angie Townsend West: Based upon Anne Taylor. Amanda’s former governess, Angie has just married banker Wayne West. Even though her new marriage takes her from the Priebe household, she and Amanda are still the greatest of friends.

Bev Knighton: Based upon Isabella Knightley. Amanda’s sister, Bev, is happily married to Gordon Knighton. She and Gordon live in Brisbane, Australia, where they are raising their four children.

Betty Cates: Based upon Hetty Bates. The housekeeper at Wood-Priebe International Travel, Betty is a scatterbrained clean freak who never stops talking.

Franklyn West: Based upon Frank Churchill. Son of Wayne West and stepson of Angie Townsend West, Franklyn is the charming newcomer to Highland. His mysterious smile, good looks, and glib remarks attract the attention of many females—including Amanda.

Haley Schmitz: Based upon Harriet Smith. Amanda’s dowdy secretary, Haley, comes from humble origins and puts ultimate faith in Amanda’s judgment.

Harold Priebe: Based upon Henry Woodhouse. Amanda’s father and a widower, Harold is the owner of the Wood-Priebe International Travel Agency chain.

Gordon Knighton: Based upon John Knightley. The brother of Nate Knighton, Gordon is married to Amanda’s sister, Bev, and is one of two vice presidents of Knighton’s Department Stores.

Janet French: Based upon Jane Fairfax. Betty Cates’s adopted niece, Janet usually turns heads in every crowd. An elegant young lady of Asian descent, Janet’s good looks and grace could drive even the most accomplished female into a fit of envy.

Mason Eldridge: Based upon Philip Elton. Mason is the minister of music at Highland Metropolitan Church of Tasmania. While his claims indicate his only ambition in life is to be a man of the cloth, his expensive tastes say he’s after a wife with money.

Nathanial “Nate” Knighton: Based upon George Knightley. Nate is the brother of Gordon Knighton. Nate, ten years older than Amanda, has watched her grow up. He’s the other vice president of Knighton’s Department Stores.

Roger Miller: Based upon Robert Martin. Roger comes from a hardworking family who owns a dairy farm outside Highland, Tasmania. He is a man of high integrity and good character.

Wayne West: Based upon Mr. Weston. Wayne is Angie Townsend West’s new husband.

A Note from the Author

Tasmania, Australia, is a major tourist attraction for all of Australia as well as much of the world, and not without reason. The beauty of its beaches and mountains leaves residents and tourists alike breathless. However, if you look on a map of Tasmania, you’ll find Highland, Australia, exists as a suburb of Hobart only in the author’s imagination . . . and yours.


“Oh, hello, Roger!” Haley Schmitz’s voice floated through her ajar office door.

Amanda Wood Priebe lifted her fingers off the computer keyboard, scowled at her secretary’s door, and waited for the rest of the conversation. Haley has been seeing that brown-haired baboon for six months. What she sees in the dairy farmer is anybody’s guess, she thought. She had subtly hinted that Haley could do better, but the secretary never wavered in her fixation. Now the guy was calling her at work.

Haley’s soft laugh preceded gentle words. Amanda strained to catch the gist of the conversation but failed. Roger had been out of town for five days, and he’d called Haley every day. What an average Tasmanian farmer needed to go out of town for was a mystery. But absence was making Haley’s heart grow fonder.

This is moving to the desperate zone, Amanda told herself and decided to break her staunch rule of never eavesdropping unless absolutely necessary. In the last three months, Amanda could count on one hand the number of times eavesdropping had been necessary—that is, if she counted all five fingers two or three times.

Amanda slipped her feet out of her backless heels and scurried across the wool rug until her toes met the cool tile that stretched into Haley’s office. She hovered beside the open door and tried to catch her secretary’s every syllable.