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on 13 September 2016
Mma Ramotswe meets Jane Austen, I think I would have enjoyed this a lot more if I had never read either. There is nothing wrong with his writing and a modern re-telling of "Emma" is fine but it is not really Alexander McCall Smith at his very best in my opinion. In future I will stick with his Precious stories! I love them, I have them all in Hard back where possible and on my Kindle, great to read a re-read. I will likely read this again at some point in the future though as his writing style is very readable.
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on 6 September 2016
Maybe it's my working class roots or just the plot, but whilst I cannot deny this is very much a literary classic, what I took away from it was that the main characters were stuck up snobs.
Emma does redeem herself somewhat at the end, when she accepts that her 'friend' was in fact well suited to be with the gentleman farmer.
It definitely is a book of its time and opens the shutters on the upper middle classes.
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on 14 June 2012
I'm only two discs into this set yet, so I'm making my remarks 4 star - but the signs are good.

I'm enjoying the clear diction of Jenny Agutter, and as I've been reading the first chapters along with her on CD, I can confirm that it really is word-for- word.

Audio books can take a bit of getting used to. I've listened to some where the voice of the auditor is plain wearying especially after listening to it for hours. Until you find a favourite "voice" to follow it can be a hit-and-miss choice.

So - I'll look for more of J.A's unabridged work ... both Austen, and Agutter.

Downside? It may be personal thing, but I found at first that the story is narrated at a faster clip than I would have read it myself. Of course, there is a whole book to narrate, and it's 12 discs long, already! I'm getting used to the brisker pace.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 22 June 2010
So said Jane Austen about Emma Woodhouse; some people love the book though others dislike it. Emma is snobbish and interfering and is always trying to match-make. But she fails to see what is under her nose - as does the reader on first reading the book. What makes it worth reading is to see where the author gives you clues about the real situation. I see something new in the book every time I read.

The characters are interesting and even the most minor ones have interesting personalities. There is the talkative Miss Bates - everyone knows someone like her; Mr Knightley - so much part of the furniture that Emma takes him for granted. Frank Churchill - not at all what he seems; hypochondriac Mr Woodhouse - Emma's father - everyone likes him in spite of his concentration on his, and everyone else', health. It is not just Emma who must become aware of her all too human faults before the end of the book.

This Wordsworth edition is good value and well produced with a readable type face, an interesting introduction and notes on the text. If you haven't read any Jane Austen before you would probably do better to start with `Pride and Prejudice' or `Northanger Abbey', but `Emma' is a novel to be read and savoured.
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on 2 May 2015
I was determined to read this and enjoy it. I had a mental block with Jane Austen having had to read it for 'O' level! It took a lot of effort to get into it, but once I got my head round all the characters and their names, it couldn't put the book down. Oh how Jane Austen was so ahead of her times and how things haven't changed. Girly chats and match making! I deducted one star as I was disappointed Emma's own love story was not described in more depth. It felt very rushed into one paragraph almost. I will try another soon...
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on 4 September 2016
I read this when a teenager, but appreciate it far more 50 years on. It can be argued that Jane Austen really wrote about inconsequential matters, but she was writing ironically and delightfully about her world observed through the eyes if an intelligent and lively author. What claustrophobic times they were to us nowadays, but fascinating none the less. Highly enjoyable classic.
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on 26 February 2016
Such a brilliant updated version of Emma. It flowed well and unlike the other updates Austen novels there was only the odd clunky feel when the old setting had to be modernised. The characters were all well drawn and subtly changed from the original, the only one that didn't work was the updated wife of the vicar.
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on 26 November 2014
Although a pleasant enough read, the exercise seemed pointless when the original masterpiece is still available. The plotline is almost unchanged; simply updated.

A more satisfying way to recreate a classic story is to change it; for instance in Lynn Shepherd's "Murder at Mansfield Park", Fanny Price is a rich relative, giving an entirely different slant to the story.
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on 25 December 2016
A wonderful story about a young woman determined to marry off all her friends, Emma is quite the matchmaker until she realises she's been in love all along with her brother-in-law, a great classic read!
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on 19 November 2015
Basically just a rewrite of Jane Austen's Emma with the characters brought into modern times.

Not enough originality in way it is done to justify this as worthwhile so coudln't really recommend this.

Other McCall Smith books generally much better - especially No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series.
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