I did it! I managed to read this in time to include this review in the "Discovering Emma Week" celebration that Heidi is holding on her splendid blog, Along the Brandywine.
Full confession here: I didn't love this book. I don't really love Emma either, so that wasn't a huge surprise. However, over the course of this book, I grew to like it more and more, and by the end, I was quite pleased with it.
The first hundred pages or so were a bit of a slog, and some of the writing wasn't quite up to Grange's usual snuff. However, once Mr. Knightley realized he was in love with Emma Woodhouse, I couldn't read fast enough, and I finished the last hundred pages or so in a roaring hurry. And the ending tickled me so much! A bit of spoilage here, but Grange gave Miss Bates a happy ending, and I'm uncommonly fond of Miss Bates :-)
I think the reason I had trouble connecting to it at first is that Mr. Knightley is relatively unflawed. Unlike Captain Wentworth, Mr. Darcy, Colonel Brandon, Edmund Bertram, and even Henry Tilney, Mr. Knightley doesn't have to change much over the course of the story. He has to see Emma in a new light, but he doesn't have to overcome years of bitterness, pride, reticence, pigheaded blindness, or even a tendency to be too agreeable. So a lot of the story doesn't have anywhere for him to go, and this is not entirely Grange's fault, as she's merely following Austen's story line.
But anyway, I did enjoy the book, and I do recommend it to anyone who wants some light, cheerful reading that gives a new perspective on a story they might already know.
Particularly Good Bits:
"I would have her think less of herself altogether. For that is the evil. Emma is the centre of Emma's world" (p. 9).
And so she went on, spreading goodwill with every word but saying little (p. 186).
"It is as bad as A Midsmmer Night's Dream. Are you sure there are no fairies in Highbury, who are making you their sport?" (p. 248).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: G. Gentle and sweet and innocent.
This is my 11th book read and reviewed for the Mount TBR challenge.
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