The Watsons and Emma Watson: Jane Austen's Unfinished Novel Completed by Joan Aiken Paperback – 1 Mar 2008
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Jane Austen wrote the untitled fragment that was later called The Watsons in 1803-5, and it was published posthumously in 1871. Joan Aiken, well known for her Jane Austen sequels and children's books, finishes the fragment, introducing a new hero and seamlessly continuing where Jane Austen left off to a satisfying ending for all Austen fans. Emma Watson returns home after 14 years spent with a beloved aunt, whose re-marriage has caused a significant change in Emma's circumstances. Used to a life of ease, warmth and intelligence, Emma is thrust back into a home where, with one exception, her sisters are petty and jealous, if not vulgar, her father is ill and weak, and her brothers are not men of fine minds. This is a poignant exploration of a young lady's endurance in the face of reduced circumstances, and in true Jane Austen fashion, there is an admirable hero to make all right in the end.
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Top Customer Reviews
It says something for Jane Austen's brilliance that she never had to resort to murder, intrigue or the salacious to make her books fascinating; she found drama in the small routines of genteel life; whist parties and country dances and strawberry-picking. Death, when it occurs, takes place off-stage, likewise elopement, the production of 'natural' children and war. Louisa Musgrove's fall at Lyme is the closest she comes to high drama.
As far as I know none of her mimics have been so brave or so clever. Murder, adultery and sex usually worm their way in to the numerous Austen prequels and sequels and spin-offs and immediately they disqualify themselves to be considered Austenesque.
Of all the writers who try to emulate Jane Austen I think Joan Aitken is probably the best although even she does take the plots off in some pretty left-field directions at times (Emma a lesbian? Never!)However her language has something of Austen's acerbic wit and economy and there is sufficient preoccupation with the small but important details to give readers a distinctive - though inevitably dilute - flavour.
Here, Joan Aitken takes Austen's fragment The Watsons and completes it as Emma Watson. She plays out the characters in a way which is reasonably true to their original creator's style and adds others from Austen's arsenal: there is a bevvy of awful sisters , a shy, inarticulate baronet, a dashing, unreliable bachelor, a handsome but weak-willed vicar and a valetudinarian father.Read more ›