“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.