Goodreads Synopsis: Emma Woodhouse is a wealthy, exquisite, and thoroughly self-deluded young woman who has “lived in the world with very little to distress or vex her.”
Jane Austen exercises her taste for cutting social observation and her talent for investing seemingly trivial events with profound moral significance as Emma traverses a gentle satire of provincial balls and drawing rooms, along the way encountering the sweet Harriet Smith, the chatty and tedious Miss Bates, and her absurd father Mr. Woodhouse–a memorable gallery of Austen’s finest personages. Thinking herself impervious to romance of any kind, Emma tries to arrange a wealthy marriage for poor Harriet, but refuses to recognize her own feelings for the gallant Mr. Knightley. What ensues is a delightful series of scheming escapades in which every social machination and bit of “tittle-tattle” is steeped in Austen’s delicious irony. Ultimately, Emma discovers that “Perfect happiness, even in memory, is not common.”
I am ashamed to admit that it took me over a year to reread this book. I am not the best at reading the books I actually own, because I always try to make sure my library books are back on time, etc. etc. But that does not excuse me!
Emma was the last book that Jane Austen published before she died, and it’s famously known that Austen said in creating Emma that she was “…going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.” Which is very much true, some people adore the character and others hate her. In fact Emma was one of my least favorite Austen characters till more recently, and with my latest reading of the book I bumped my rating up a whole star!
The entire story is a riot from beginning to end. I don’t think I realized this the first time I read the book (when I was in high school). Austen is so witty and she has such a great way of subtly making fun of Emma and the situations and all the other characters. I really enjoyed my reread because I spent so much of my time just laughing.
I definitely think that Emma is one of the harder of Austen reads, I wouldn’t recommend it for your first dip into her work. My first recommendations would be either Persuasion or Northanger Abby, or Pride and Prejudice. But if you have read some of Jane Austen before and haven’t tried this one, you should definitely give it a try!
I gave this book four stars on Goodreads.