ADDRESSES: Home— Brooklyn, NY. E-mail— anne. [email protected].
CAREER: Writer, editor, novelist. Worked as an editor for Random House and Broadway Books.
(With May Vanderbilt) Emily Ever After, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2005.
(With May Vanderbilt) Consider Lily: A Novel, Broadway Books (New York, NY), 2006.
SIDELIGHTS: Novelists Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt launched their successful series of Christian novels when a dinner conversation with friends revealed a deficit in the popular chick-lit genre aimed at young adult female readers. A pair of twenty-something professional women and devoted Christians, Dayton and Vanderbilt realized that traditional chick-lit fare, with its abundance of sex and sin, did not reflect their religious values. They “joked that there should be chick-lit for Christians like them, whose faith might be strong but whose single-girl imperfections loom just as large,” observed a reviewer on the Columbia News Service Web site. In response, Dayton and Vanderbilt wrote Emily Ever After, a version of the biblical story of Esther in which the title character struggles to keep her Christian faith intact while living a big-city life full of distraction and temptation. The book proved to be successful not only for Dayton and Vanderbilt, but also became “one of the first Christian chick lit books to ignite a hot market of similar big sellers,” the Columbia News Service biographer noted.
Emily Ever After follows recent college graduate Emily Hinton as she leaves her small-town California home to take on what she believes will be a glamorous editorial job in New York. The job and the move are a dream come true for Emily, who had always dreamed of working in cosmopolitan Manhattan. However, she soon discovers that the risks and temptations of big-city life are in conflict with her Christian beliefs. She makes friends at work and tries to fit in, but realizes that her new pals have wild streaks that Emily doesn’t share. Christians—particularly Christian men—seem to be in short supply. To cope, she goes to church and volunteers in her Uncle Matthew’s soup kitchen. When she meets Bennett Edward Wyeth III, she thinks she may have found the perfect combination of good looks, charm, and Christian identity. However, Bennett’s professed purity and alleged benign motives may be a ruse concealing what he’s really after. Emily must also deal with the possible rekindling of an old romance with former boyfriend Jacob, and reconcile her religious views with controversial material she encounters in the course of her job. “Frank, witty, and funny, this story succeeds in spite of its sometimes awkward reminders of Emily’s Christian faith and upbringing,” commented reviewer Molly Connolly in School Library Journal.A reviewer in Today’s Christian Woman called Emily a “refreshingly real chick-lit heroine.” Dayton and Vanderbilt’s “charming offering will appeal to readers looking for a wholesome heroine navigating big-city life,” remarked Booklist reviewer Kristine Huntley.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES
Booklist, May 1, 2005, Kristine Huntley, review of Emily Ever After, p. 1568.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of Emily Ever After, p. 436; May 1, 2006, review of Consider Lily: A Novel, p. 425.
Publishers Weekly, May 9, 2005, review of Emily Ever After, p. 47.
School Library Journal, November, 2005, Molly Connally, review of Emily Ever After, p. 181.
Today’s Christian Woman, July-August, 2005, review of Emily Ever After, p. 59.
Columbia News Service Web site, http://jscms.jrn.columbia.edu/cns/ (November 15, 2005), Jessica Heasley, “They Love Jesus (and Cute Boys Too!),” profile of Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt.
Daystar eStore, http://www.daystarestore.com/ (November 25, 2006), biography of Anne Dayton.
GoodGirlLit.com, http://www.goodgirllit.com/ (November 25, 2006), biography of Anne Dayton.