Summary from Amazon:
Arrogant, self-willed and egotistical, Emma is Jane Austen’s most unusual heroine. Her interfering ways and inveterate matchmaking are at once shocking and comic. She is ‘handsome, clever and rich’ and has ‘a disposition to think too well of herself’. When she decides to introduce the humble Harriet Smith to the delights of genteel society and to find her a suitable husband, she precipitates herself and her immediate circle into a web of misunderstanding and intrigue, from which no-one emerges unchanged. Juliet Stevenson, an incomparable reader, is for many the voice of Jane Austen.
You know way back at the beginning of 2013 when we were all listing our reading and blogging goals? Well, for a Top Ten Tuesday post, I listed ten books that I wanted to read this year, but I didn’t really think I would get to all those books. However, with the completion of Emma, I’ve now read half of those books. So yay! My goal was to read any Jane Austen book, except Pride and Prejudice, because I’ve already read that one (many, many times). I decided to read Emma because of Emma Approved. I did know the story going in (I have seen Clueless, and the many traditional adaptations of Emma), but I thought that it was the prefect time. So, what did I think of the second Austen book I’ve read?
Well, Emma can’t compare to Pride and Prejudice in my mind, but I did really like it. Emma is such an interesting character. She’s so sure of herself. Her opinions are always right, she’s quite quick to judge, and she most assuredly knows what’s best for everyone in Highbury. Of course, her opinions and actions are proved quite wrong throughout the story, but Emma is willingly to admit and apologize. That quality makes me like Emma more than I probably would have otherwise. After all, Emma certainly isn’t the underdog, here.
With the title of this book being the main character’s name, you might be surprised with the many different characters Austen created in this story. There are a whole cast of characters in Emma, all in some way showcasing what country life must have been like at that time. Although Emma was written 200 years ago, and although society is very different today, I could so easily picture these characters in settings today. In my opinion, Austen’s ability to create characters with such realistic and well-developed personalities is partly why her books are so popular today (and perhaps also why her books work well in modern-day retellings. I’m thinking Clueless, and The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, here).
Lastly, I must speak about Mr. Knightley. He’s no Darcy. In fact, I would say his character is quite different that Darcy’s. Darcy or not, however, I really did like Mr. Knightly. He’s very responsible, and being a very responsible person myself, I love to see a man who’s got it together. Mr. Knightley frequently disagrees with Emma, and is comfortable letting her know what he doesn’t agree with her. He’s really one of the only characters in this story that does. As much as that frustrates Emma, it’s also why he’s perfect for her. It was quite fun to constantly see Emma and Mr. Knightley quarrelling.
A quite note on the audiobook. Listening to classics via audiobook make it far less intimidating. I did enjoy the narrator, Juliet Stevenson, however I did feel that often her voice for Emma felt a bit older than Emma actually was. She was spot on for Mrs. Elton, though. I can’t picture her voice as any other than Stevenson.
The story was very Austenesque (obviously, right). I’m very glad that I finally read another Jane Austen book, and that it was Emma. Pride and Prejudice is still my favorite Austen book (okay, my favorite book of all time), but I thoroughly enjoyed Emma. What’s your favorite Austen book? Which should I read next? I’ve heard a lot of praise for Persuasion.