Book Review: Emmeline

34185986“What if Jane Austen’s Emma lived in America in the year 1930?

The talk of stock market crashes and depression isn’t going to keep Emmeline Wellington down. Born to wealth and privilege, Emmeline wants nothing more than to help her new friend, Catarina, find a husband. Emmeline sets her sights on one of the town’s most eligible bachelors, but nothing seems to go right. Even her friend and neighbor Fredrick Knight seems to question her at every turn.

Will she help Catarina find the man of her dreams? Why is her father acting so strangely? Will the downturn affect her life, despite her best efforts?” (from Goodreads)

I can’t call myself an Austenite since my only experience of her stories has been a retelling of Persuasion and two movie/miniseries adaptations of Emma. Even so, I was excited to give this version by Sarah Holman a try since I knew she would do a smashing job. 😉

It was aaaaammmmaaaazzzzing!!!! With just enough of the original (“Men of sense do not want silly wives”) to keep it the same dear story but plenty of new thrown in, I found it quite enjoyable. The 1930’s setting was very interesting considering we couldn’t have the dancing scene (“Will you dance with me, dear Emma?”), but I felt like it was portrayed well and the added element of the looming Great Depression added more conflict than even Emmeline herself could create. Emmeline was very lovable and very silly. Sometimes I wanted to just grab her and make her stop, and other times it was amusing how well-meaning she was. And Fredrick!!!! What a darling grump! 😀 Especially darling because SPOILER ALERT! he’s always reading and neverwears a hat and loves Emmeline in spite of herself. And the mud scene! Ha, ha! Matchmaking is never my favorite and gossip is awful, but it was amusing when John and Fredrick gave Emmeline a small dose of her own medicine. 😀 It was especially neat to understand the motives of two side characters a lot better than I ever have. Geraldine–sorry, Miss Carter was a riddle to start with. I knew Emmeline was wrong in her opinion, but I still thought Miss Carter odd. Knight’s explanation of her later made so much more sense, and I downright loved her for the talk she gave Catarina! I never could understand why Evelyn Field SPOILER ALERT! married Morgan Church, but this gave a little more information about her optimistic view of him. About three quarters through the book when all is lost and a Shakespeare play Emmeline apologizes and then… MAJOR SPOILER ALERT! gives all the rest to God! I was so surprised and happy with this decision! Her humility and right decision to stop meddling was really good. Like, better than good. END OF SPOILER That’s what really made the book for me! 😉 Not recommended for younger readers because of the matchmaking element as well as some slightly scandalous comments made by one Morgan Church, my least favorite character.

Best quote: “If you are ever angry at him, threaten to do something to one of his books, as calling him Fred does nothing,” she said in a lighthearted tone.

emmeline

Altogether, it’s a keeper! 😉 I will be reading it again someday!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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