Monday, July 11, 2016

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith

Buy here*
Publication date: 2014
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Pages: 361
My rating: 2.5 stars
Ages: 17+

After Emma finishes university, she returns to Hartfield to figure out what she wants to do. Her neurotic father gives her everything she wants and she is well liked in the community, so the summer will go well. But then Emma decides to take the lives of the locals into her own hands. And that's when things start going awry.

I was interested to read a retelling of Austen's Emma, though I was a little disappointed by Smith's version of the heroine. I have always thought of Emma as, yes a snob, but one with the best of intentions. She's a good friend to Harriet, a loyal daughter, and a charitable neighbor. Emma has her faults and makes mistakes, but she's never been a truly bad person.

Smith's Emma is cruel and manipulative. She uses the people around her for her own amusement, thinking she is better than them in every way. Her father and Miss Taylor indulge her, with only George Knightley to ever show her that she's wrong. Speaking of Knightley, where was the romance? They barely spoke more than twice before his declaration.

With that out of the way, Smith was able to take a 200 year old story and update it with rarely anything seeming out of place. It did take me a while to read and didn't hold my attention the way that Austen's works do.

Little language, some sexual dialogue.

*I do not receive compensation from Amazon.

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