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The fourth, longest and last of Jane Austen’s books to appear in print during her lifetime, Emma is considered a classic romantic comedy and was first published in 1816. Written almost 200 year ago, it’s inevitable that the dialogue may feel a bit stilted at times. However, this adds dimension and depth to the story which focuses on 19th century social hierarchies and the interaction between various social classes.Miss Emma Woodhouse is a shining example of a 19th century socialite. Beautiful, clever and wealthy, she fancies herself a master-matchmaker and sets in motion a laundry list of schemes to pair off the Highbury residents. Convinced a make-over would elevate her new friend Harriet’s social standing and thus her marriage potential, Emma, fueled by her feeling of superiority, plotted and planned, all to no avail. Failing to realize the extent of her shortcomings and the consequences of such hurtful behavior, Emma was finally confronted by Mr. Knightley. Afterwards, embarrassed and ashamed, she reevaluated her life and began to make amends, in hopes of becoming a better person. Emma is a beautifully written, classic, laced with wit and sarcasm. Through a vastly differing cast of characters, each delightfully inspiring in his or her own way, Austen vividly captured the heart of a community. Everything is neatly tied up at the conclusion, as things literally come full circle…ending much the way it began.A sublte, yet very significant messege is hidden just below the surface–the beginning and the ending are just definitive points in the journey, in between is where we write our definition of happiness. There’s a depth and sincere honesty written into the very fabric of this story- that must be recognized to fully appreciate the artistic genius of Jane Austen.
Like a vintage automobile, Emma is a slow, leisurely read, perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
Armchair Interviews says: What more can you ask of a book, even if the story is 200 years old.
Author’s Web site: http://www.austen.com