Author: Jane Austen
First Published: 1815
Page Count: 255
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Jane Austen creates a story and main character to rival some of her most famous works in this novel.
*Multiple love stories cleverly interwoven together *Classic characters
“It is such a happiness when good people get together- and they always do.” A young woman of fortune, Emma Woodhouse, has made matchmaking her unique hobby. Even though she had some early success, Emma soon learns that she is not the expert she thought she was when it comes to matters of the heart. This leads to much confusion, pain, and displeasure when Emma fails miserably at pairing up her friends. However, Emma’s biggest blunder is her inability to recognize love when it concerns her own heart and it causes her to re-evaluate how she views the world and those around her.
I will fully admit right now that I am a Jane Austen fan. Though I have only read 3 of her novels before this one, I have loved each and every one. So though I try to be objective, I would be lying if I said my love of this author and her storytelling didn’t play a part in my enjoyment of this book. Austen is known for being a major player in the romance genre but Emma deviates a bit from her usual formula. The main character, Emma, is arguably the strongest of Austen’s heroines with her decided opinions and fierce determination. Even though the story centers around matchmaking and the formation of love, the book gives the secondary characters and their respective romances center stage, rather than focusing on the heroines quest for love. It’s a refreshing change to watch other smaller romances unfold and have these couples influence the fate of the main character. And the fact that Emma is far from a perfect person, in fact some might even find her decided nature unlikable, humanizes her. Add to that the cast of unique characters that Austen sprinkles throughout the story, such as the pompous Mrs. Elton or the sweet but talkative Miss Bates, and you have a recipe for a great novel.
I found no flaws in this book. Some people find the pace of Austen’s novels slow or the style of writing difficult to read. However, when I read an Austen novel I expect a certain type of story. I thoroughly enjoy the word play that is unique to this era and the restrained but polite pace at which these romance stories unfold. I was not disappointed after reading this story and felt that I got the experience I would expect when reading an Austen novel. But I will admit, the fact that I found no negatives in this book could result from my never-ending love of all things Jane Austen. Guilty!
Jane Austen fans will find all they are looking for in Emma. For those that are new to Austen’s novels, I would wholeheartedly recommend this read whether you are going to make this your gateway novel into Austen’s world or whether you are slowly starting to experience her books. Austen novels aren’t for everyone, but I can say that I have yet to be disappointed.
*Film Adaptations: (Starring Gwyneth Paltrow 1996), TV Adaptations: (Live BBC TV Broadcast, Starring Judy Campbell 1948), (Live NBC TV Broadcast, Starring Felicia Montealegre 1954), (Live NBC TV Broadcast, Starring Sarah Churchill 1957), (Live Six Part BBC TV Serial, Starring Diana Fairfax 1960), (Live CBS TV Broadcast, Starring Nancy Wickwire 1960), (Six Part BBC Miniseries, Starring Doran Godwin 1972), (ITV TV Film, Starring Kate Beckinsale 1996), (Four Part BBC Miniseries, Starring Romola Garai 2009)