Friday, August 31, 2007

Emma by Jane Austen

Rating: 9/10

Published: 1815
Number of pages: 508
ISBN: 0141028092

Started: 24 August 2007
Finished: 31 August 2007

Summary (taken from blurb):

She's beautiful, rich and clever, and has decided she's perfectly happy with the single life. What Emma does love, however, is interfering in other people's business (and she is always convinced she's right). When she ignores the advice of her friend Mr Knightley and insists on matchmaking for her friend Harriet, her carefully laid plans go disastrously wrong.

Is Emma so wrapped up in other people's love lives that she fails to spot happiness when it's right under her nose? Perhaps, when it comes to affairs of the heart, she can't control everything after all...

I read my first Jane Austen last year, Pride and Prejudice, which immediately became one of my favourite novels. Today I finished my second Austen, Emma, and I'm pleased to say that Jane Austen has now cemented her position as my favourite author. Her style of writing is delightful to behold and I thoroughly enjoy every single sentence I read of hers. Even though not much appears to be happening, I find that I'm hooked from beginning to end.

I think Jane Austen builds up her characters and situations beautifully, and if I've learned anything from reading her novels, it's that deep down I'm a hopeless romantic. I'm usually pretty good at resisting flicking forward through a book to see what happens, but I'm a lost cause when it comes to Austen. Even though I may guess early on in the novel what's going to happen, I just have to flick through to see the manner in which the most important events take place between the characters.

Emma is an exquisitely crafted piece of writing. A lot of the characters are annoying in some degree, but that's how they're supposed to be. I thought I would find it difficult to like Emma, but I think, for all her faults, she is quite a decent person and she tried so very hard to avoid making the same mistakes twice. I could see her growing and maturing throughout the novel and I came to like her quite a lot. There is the same sense of humour here as there is in Pride and Prejudice, but not quite as much.

I suspect that Jane Austen's novels have their faults, but it's as though I'm looking at them through a haze (or, more likely, rose-coloured glasses). I know they're there, but for me they get lost in everything else. I've given a rating of 9 to Emma, only because I loved Pride and Prejudice a bit more This is why I love to read. And just think, I have four more of her books on my shelf that I still have the honour of reading for the first time!

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