Dolce Bellezza is hosting a month long read-a-long of this classic. And as I had just recently received this beautiful 200th Anniversary edition in a Book Blogger Swap... I joined in!
First up, a confession. I have never read Emma before, nor have I watched any of the film versions. I have, however, seen Clueless which is a modern translation / adaptation.
The book itself if broken down into three volumes. In this first volume, we meet the major players. Emma's very best friend has recently gotten married and so now is all the way down the road living with her husband; they are Mr. and Mrs. Weston. Emma finds herself a new best friend in the young Harriet Smith who is pretty and agreeable, but does not have an attractive background. Harriet receives a marriage proposal from Mr. Martin, a farmer, which Emma deems below Harriet's level and convinces her to decline. All the while, Emma (who considers herself quite the matchmaker) is working on pairing Harriet up with Mr. Elton. Emma's brother in law, Mr. Knightly, thinks Emma is making a terrible mistake and is doing Harriet an injustice. Emma proceeds with her plan until a Christmas party at the Weston's. Harriet is too sick to attend, and Mr. Elton professes his love for Emma! Emma is appalled and declines him completely.
As a side story, Mr. Weston's grown son from his first wife (now deceased) keeps promising to visit, but never does. This will likely come to play later in the book. I suspect the fighting between Mr. Knightly and Emma will as well. Remember - this is my first time reading!
So far, I am very much enjoying this story. It is taking me a little longer than usual to read (and I may have to set it aside for a book club book that is coming due) but I'm really having fun with it. Austen is so funny! And the dialogue can't be beat! I couldn't help but laugh when everyone was all upset about the fact it was snowing in December, only to find out it was but a half an inch. It totally reminded me of drivers around here in New England whenever it snows! I also loved how dramatic Harriet's sore throat was. You'd think she was on her death bed - and while I know that medicine was quite different 200 years ago, I still thought everyone was a bit on the over-dramatic side.
On to Volume 2!
by Jane Austen
Penguin, 2015. First published 1815.
459 pages (including additional material)