Top positive review
Loved it, a must-read book
on 1 March 2015
This is Jane Austen's fourth novel and one of my favourites. I love the main character, she's self-centred (although not really meaning it) but adorable. Filled with her own self-importance at times but a wonderful daughter and Aunt. I felt like screaming at her and slapping her in most chapters but when the ending is lovely and made me realise just how much I cared about her. A world away from Fanny Price (see my Mansfield Park review here).
Emma is twenty-one, the daughter of an important family in a small town, important to her neighbours but not much farther than that. After playing a small part in the marriage of her governess to a local merchant (or business man, I can't remember), she decides she can play match maker with her friend, Harriet. She fails, gives Harriet rubbish advice and generally makes a hash of it. The rest of the story is about a secret engagement, the plight of her poorer neighbours and some life lessons thrown in. All in all, a thoroughly lovely, escapist kind of book.
The characters are wonderful, I particulary like Miss Bates (played by Sophie Thompson in the Gweneth Paltrow adaptation, which is my favourite). I thought Mr Knightley was a rather school teacherish man and I have a feeling that their relationship may not have been quite equal (I imagine him telling her off like a father rather a lot). But that's what is completely wonderful about this novel, I can imagine how the characters would react outside of the story, I feel like I know them inside out. Well done Jane.
Is the plot as good as Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility? No, I think it's a whisker away from them (I'm a sucker for total romance), but still a great read (although very long).