author – Jane Austen
pages – 416
genre – classical literature, fiction
rating – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
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 have just finished reading Emma by Jane Austen, which is the 5th Austen novel I have read and I think it is my second favourite after Pride and Prejudice. I enjoyed the array of characters, the witty banter and the insight into Georgian life guaranteed with each Austen book.
The last book I read by Jane was Mansfield Park, which I really didn’t like because the main character ‘Fanny’ was the biggest push over, who thought nothing of herself and took the abuse that was undeservedly thrown at her from her aunt. Emma on the other hand was an intelligent, confident and self- aware young woman. I enjoyed reading about her because she as is a kind and pleasant character. Early on in the book Emma tries to pair two of her friends together, however all of her planning was misplaced and resulted in all three of the people involved being left in an awkward position. Emma vowed never to involve herself in other people’s lives and she didn’t, it’s one of the things I liked about her, she was true to her word and learned from her mistakes.
One of the reasons I enjoy Austen’s novels is due to the variety of contrasting characters. There is Emma’s father Mr. Woodhouse who was a very nervous man, the thought of somebody catching a cold from a draft plagued his every thought and he was always on hand to give his opinion as to why someone shouldn’t do this or that in case of falling ill. There was also Miss Baits who is also a staple character in Austen’s novels, the character that gets right under your skin, she was unintentionally annoying. I couldn’t dislike her because she had a pleasant innocence to her, but Miss Baits just would not stop talking, it just went on and on, it was awful. Another character I liked was Jane Fairfax, who though very quiet and introverted was not afraid to stand up for herself in contrast to Fanny. A lot of the time in these Austen’s novels people dance around saying no; you have to do something in relation to what society will think and what is expected of you a common theme discussed by Austen. But Jane was not afraid of refusing to do something if she did not want to do it, which I admired.
It is quite a busy book with a lot of characters, often 11 or 12 that were in or mentioned in every chapter. I always find myself getting the characters mixed up because the names are often alike due to the often small number of related families but it gets easier as the book progresses. I enjoyed the perspective of life that was portrayed among the young and old, I found it enjoyable to see how neighbours and family friends came together for walks, picnics, dinners, anything that would pass the time. I also found the interactions amongst different age groups and similar age groups altered in conversational style and topic. There was a lot of match making in this book too, which is unusual it is usually the main character who we know will have the love interest but there were 4 marriages made in this book which was surprising.
Overall I enjoyed Emma, it is one of the least problematic Austen novels I have read in a while (I’m not one that finds problematic things in books but with characters like Fanny who really lacked a back bone and self-worth it makes it hard to read). I enjoyed the storyline and found most of the character pleasant, except for Mrs Elton who was the usual ignorant, malicious character who couldn’t hold a higher opinion of herself. This book made me laugh sometimes from the witty dialogue, sometimes because of how ridiculous things which happened then seem to us now but highlights how somethings don’t change and humans remain human despite technological progress. I would recommend this novel, it would be a great Jane Austen book to start with and if you have read some of Janes books and not this one then it’s definitely worth checking it out.
I just want to say a thank you to my uncle for getting me this book 😊😊
if you would like to read ‘Emma’ you can use my affiliate link and pick it up for €3 on book depository! free international shipping