Emma by Jane Austen

Emma is the first Jane Austen novel I ever read and, thirty years later, it is still one of my favorites.  It is a good Austen novel to start with, because the heroine is so thoroughly “modern.”  This novel is the only one by Jane Austen with a character’s name for its title.  The plot is tightly organized around her, which makes the action easy to follow.

Emma herself has several flaws that many a modern woman can relate to—a runaway imagination in matters of romance and a habit of saying things that are better left unsaid.  At twenty-one, she is the only child left at home with a doting father whose weak judgment has resulted in her becoming something of spoiled brat.  Fortunately, Emma has other friends and family who are not so indulgent with her, and from them she learns some of the hard lessons that finally cure her of her disastrous matchmaking.

Though Emma’s snobbery and conceit are at times outrageous, you cannot help but love her.  She is gentle and patient with her aging father and a fun, cheerful hostess and aunt to her sister’s children.  In the process of arranging everyone else’s romantic destinies, she nearly misses her own.  Unbeknownst to her, she is playing her own role in the deceitful schemes of others.

Every Jane Austen novel must have two important male protagonists.  The heroine almost marries Mr. Wrong, but finally ends up with Mr. Right.  Of all Austen’s novels, I think this one has the most interesting Mr. Wrong.  He is not so much a villain as in most of Austen’s novels.  In fact, it is a delightful irony that he is really a lot like Emma and that they part as good friends.

If you’ve ever wondered why so many people love Jane Austen, read Emma.  Like me, you may find yourself hooked!

Find and reserve this book in the catalog.

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