Emma is the story of Miss Emma Woodhouse, a well-to-do young woman in a small English town. After her governess, Miss Taylor, marries and becomes Mrs. Weston, Emma is left with her hypochondriac, hyper-concerned father as her sole companion. She therefore takes the poor, unconnected, yet gentle Harriet under her wing. Emma's love of matchmaking leads her to meddle in Harriet's love life, and to set up some romantic misadventures of her own! A humorous, satirical work, where the plot is often secondary to the characters themselves. From the garrulous Miss Bates, to the querulous Mr Woodhouse, to the gallant Mr. Knightley and erratic Mr. Churchill, a fascinating and highly readable example of Jane Austen's prowess with the English language.--Submitted by Caitlin
Emma Woodhouse, the heroine of our novel, is bored. Who wouldn’t be? A constantly dozing father who is always cold and worried when he is awake, a sister who is in London and a gratifying governess who has just married Mr Weston, a house friend, and no other useful past-times. What else is to remain but chatting to Mr Knightly, also a house friend and bachelor proprietor of neighbouring Donwell Abbey, and looking for another fun amusement? Surely, it was she who made the match between Miss Tailor, her governess, and Mr Weston! Indeed, she foresaw the match already long before anyone did… Thus, a new useful employment has presented itself in front of her: matchmaking. She will now take on the charge of Miss Harriet Smith, a girl who is the illegitimate daughter of some gentleman or other and who lives in the school nearby, but who she fancies must be a baronet’s daughter, surely. Mr Knightley’s advice therefore of leaving her alone, is of no consequence. Harriet Smith must and shall be guided, away from Mr Martin, a gentleman farmer, onto honourable Mr Elton, the new curate. But are his attentions meant for Harriet at all? Are his interests with a beautiful face or rather something else beautiful, a purse perhaps? When he proves a disappointment, an old acquaintance turns up in the name of Jane Fairfax (surely disliked because of her reserve alone) and Mr Weston’s son Frank Churchill appears, the carrier of a great fortune to be inherited from his maternal side in Yorkshire, everyone matches Emma with him, including soon she herself in thought, though she dismisses him and matches him with several people, apart from the right one. Surely the sub-plot around Frank Churchill was crystal-clear to Regency readers… All will come to a head at Box Hill where Emma cruelly offends Miss Bates, an old spinster of her acquaintance and aunt of Jane, something which earns her a severe reproof of Mr Knightley. But by what was that reproof motivated? As he moves off to his brother in London and she stays behind, all will be revealed, but is it not too late? Is he not attached? Has she matched everyone well or would some humble pie be in its place?--Submitted by kiki1982
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