What if Emma Woodhouse, Jane Austen's most tenacious character, arrives in Meryton to visit her Bingley cousins and determines to perform a little match making? Emma has a fortnight to meet her promise - three matches for her three friends, Elizabeth, Jane, and Charlotte. What could possibly go wrong? What could possibly go right? Take a full cup of humor; add a sprinkling of angst and stir. Bake for a fortnight, and presto: three happy endings, or maybe even four? This is a full length Darcy and Elizabeth Regency novel. I hope you enjoy it!
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On the eve of the Meryton assembly the Bingleys receive a welcome visitor, their cousin Emma Woodhouse and her good friend Mr. Knightley. Emma is fresh from her success with the match between Ms. Taylor and Mr. Weston, and is ready to dispense wedded bliss to all the unmarried people she meets. Emma meets Mr. Darcy and quickly puts him at his ease by reassuring him that she has no plans to marry. However, she does have plans for him and they don't include her cousin Ms. Bingley.
At the Meryton assembly, Emma meets and befriends Lizzy, Jane, and Charlotte, and makes them an ambitious promise. She will find them all matches before she leaves in two weeks. Emma immediately notices that Mr. Darcy can't look away from Lizzy, and Jane and Mr. Bingley are nearly a couple already. But none of the men seem to do exactly as she wishes, and a more firm hand is needed than she's ever used before!
Emma is my favorite Austen heroine second only to Lizzy, and I've never read a variation that puts these two heroines together. It was a treat! I'd describe this book as more of a rehash than a variation, despite the addition of Emma much of the plot follows the original novel. The dialogue between Darcy and Lizzy also remains mostly the same although it's changed slightly. There aren't any new scenes between Darcy and Lizzy, and since it occurs over two weeks and they don't go to Rosings, a good chunk of their meetings are missing.
All of the new scenes are Emma's, and they really are sweet. She freely dispenses advice to everyone she meets, but we still love her for it. We're also reminded how truly kind she can be as she helps care for a sick Jane and puts Mr. Darcy at his ease. In the end, despite all her machinations only one marriage can really be attributed to Emma, and it's not one that she intended at all!
Instead of traditional chapters from one or two character's point of view, the point of view revolves freely between Emma, Knightley, Lizzy, and Mr. Collins, with occasional paragraphs from Darcy, Mr. Bennet, or Jane. Emma's thoughts were of course my favorite, with her hilarious slights like honking goose and pompous toff. Darcy remains an enigma, and we spend a lot more time in Mr. Collins' head than Darcy's.
Jannie Meisberger did a great job with the narration, she was wonderful as usual. The pace was perfect and her accent and character voices fit in well with the story. It was the perfect pairing of author/narrator, and I'll be looking out for more by both.
I received a copy of the audiobook in exchange for an honest review.