Archive for January 2009

The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer


 As some of you regular readers know, I am a big Jane Austen fan, and I’ve read quite a few modern versions of her work (Melissa Nathan, Kate Fenton spring to mind, as well as Bridget Jones).

What I have found in reading these books is that they are usually only very loosely based around the original story. This has been a little frustrating for me as I often wondered why they had been changed so much when the original was so good.

But lo and behold, at last, a modern version of a Jane Austen book that sticks to the original story, and  is a fantastic read.

Here is the synopsis:

Mark Knightley – handsome, clever, rich – is used to women falling at his feet. Except Emma Woodhouse, who’s like part of the family – and the furniture. When their relationship changes dramatically, is it an ending or a new beginning?

Emma’s grown into a stunningly attractive young woman, full of ideas for modernising her family business. Then Mark gets involved and the sparks begin to fly. It’s just like the old days, except that now he’s seeing her through totally new eyes.

While Mark struggles to keep his feelings in check, Emma remains immune to the Knightley charm. She’s never forgotten that embarrassing moment when he discovered her teenage crush on him. He’s still pouring scorn on all her projects, especially her beautifully orchestrated campaign to find Mr Right for her ditzy PA. And finally, when the mysterious Flynn Churchill – the man of her dreams – turns up, how could she have eyes for anyone else?

With its clueless heroine and entertaining plot, this modern re-telling of Jane Austen’s Emma stays true to the original, while giving fresh insights into the mind of its thoroughly updated and irresistible hero.

I loved the way this novel took all the characters you love in the original Emma and planted them into the modern world – it worked really well.

Emma herself is still both lovely and extremely irritating at times (just like the original). Mark Knightley is every woman’s dream, and Juliet did a great job of giving both of them a history (and no, Emma isn’t a virgin).

This book also has a lot of humour in it, which will always get bonus points from me.

So overall, if you love Jane Austen and want to read something fresh and new, then this is the book for you. If you don’t like Jane Austen because it’s a historical novel or some other strange reason like you have no taste, then this is the book for you too. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised.

Juliet has her version of Persuasion coming out next, which I’m very excited about.

Rating 10/10


2 comments January 18, 2009






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