I had read other poor reviews and thought that maybe reviewers were scandalised by the homosexuality rather than responding to poor writing. it is a mistake to assume that homosexuality did not exist in those bygone days, it is only that it was little referred to and i think the idea ointo as a plot feature now is an interesting one. On reading the book myself I was disappointed that the majority of the work was spent clumsily taking Emma's character back to where she had begun in the original novel. Then, almost at the end a love interest is shoehorned into the plot and rather awkwardly at that. To be honest I was so disinterested toward the end of the book I cannot say for certain, but believe that the plot didn't even make any rational sense.
This was quite sweet of the genre of adding to a famous classic in this case Jane Austen's Emma which I always think is a very brave thing to try and do. It did work. Read it because of a local connection.
If I could give this book zero stars I would. A friend of mine was interviewed by Emma Tennant for a place at Cambridge and her mum bought her this book after she was rejected, and it certainly made her feel better about it. Saying that Emma Tennant claims that 'Emma' is one of her favourite novels, she doesn't actually seem to have read it.
The storyline and standard of writing in this "book" are so poor that for every page of it I read I had to dilute it by reading a few chapters of the original. The first page was pretty amusing (she kills of two charcters in as many lines) on a level of suspended belief but everything else about it is atrocious.
After studying Austen for several years, I have to say that I picked up just a little information about regency life in general, I fail to see, therefore, how it is possible for Emma Tennant to have gone so wildly astray. She makes glaring historical inaccuracies, regarding marriage laws and general social standards.
Besdies all this she commits (once again) the unforgivable crime of completely changing the personalities of characters we have learnt to love in the original. Emma Woodhouse seems to have forgotten everything she learnt in the first book and has become a coward besides.
Anyone who still wants to read the book look away from the following *SPOILERS* showing just how dreadful this book is: - Emma and Knightley have not consumated their marriage after a year, yeah right. - Frank Churchill ditches Jane Fairfax at the altar, after all that bother in the original. - Emma turns into a lesbian. Yes. Really.
Take my advice and just go back and read the original again, or try writing your own sequel, it will be better.
Absolutely dire. Tortured, convoluted sentences in which meaning gets completely lost - many needing to be read a second or third time, and even then not necessarily becoming any clearer. Characterisation completely butchered. Plot highly improbable and hard to follow. Don't bother, I beg of you. Reread the glorious original.