“Emma” by Jane Austen
Genre: Adult Fiction, Classic
Summary from Goodreads:
‘I never have been in love; it is not my way, or my nature; and I do not think I ever shall.’
Beautiful, clever, rich – and single – Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protegee Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected. With its imperfect but charming heroine and its witty and subtle exploration of relationships, Emma is often seen as Jane Austen’s most flawless work.
I was initially hesitant to read Emma because I still do find Austen to be a bit difficult to read and I’ve heard it several times that Emma (the character) can be hard to like. I’m so glad I decided to read the book despite those small issues. Emma ended up being quite lovely.
Emma was definitely a different type of character for me. We had a hard time getting along initially because she was so meddlesome! As I got to know her, that annoyance slowly went away because her heart was truly in the right place. She was really trying to do her best to help those around her even if her plans didn’t quite go according to plan. I loved seeing her grow as a character and “mellow” out.
Mr. Knightley was a fantastic match for her. He was able to handle Emma and treat her like an equal. He was content to let her make her own mistakes so she could learn to grow from them but he was also able to be upfront and criticize her when she got out of hand. Their love grew out of friendship which is a wonderful type of love.
I can definitely see why the story is still going strong today. The basic elements of the story are timeless. We will always have friends who think they are ‘helpful’ and misguide friends. We will always have miscommunication in relationships. We will always have annoying acquaintances. All of those elements would be pretty easy to adapt to any time period.
I’m glad I slowly enjoyed this story. Taking it in small doses allowed me to understand and appreciate the story.
The bottom line? I quite enjoyed the story! I definitely need to try more Austen.
I read this as part of my Reading Outside the Box Challenge. This was for my Classic square. See my progress here.
12 thoughts on “Book Review: “Emma””
If you haven’t already, I recommend Northanger Abbey!
I haven’t read it yet, thanks for the suggestion!
It is austen’s most sarcastic work, especially taking the mickey out of the popular gothic novels of the time. I spent most of it laughing out loud!
I really should read more Austen. I have only read Pride & Prejudice and it was so long ago I hardly remember.
We should all read more Austen.
I’m glad you liked this. I’ve only read two Austen novels – P&P (my favorite book ever!) and Emma. I really liked Emma. Like you said, she is soooo meddlesome, but I think ultimately her heart was in the right place.
It’s a good thing her heart is in the right place. I don’t know how I’d stand her if it wasn’t!
Great review! I haven’t written mine yet and now I almost feel like I should just skip it because your review sums up how I felt about it pretty perfectly. Although I didn’t love Emma at first, she grew on me and I ended up really enjoying the book 🙂
Thanks Katie! I’m glad you enjoyed Emma as much as I did. I’m really glad you read along with us. It was a lot of fun.
Emma’s my favorite of the Austen novels, I think. Or, I suppose, depending on my mood, it’s Emma or Pride and Prejudice. I’ve never found Emma difficult to like — her bossiness always makes me smile more than it annoys me.
I think I’m going to find it more endearing whenever I get around to rereading the book.
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