This novel also fulfills part of the Jane Austen Reading Challenge.
Jane Austen once said that, in writing Emma, she would be creating an heroine that no one but herself would much like. She was right. Emma Woodhouse is spoiled and arrogant, but, strangely enough, also highly entertaining. In Emma, Austen creates one of the most quirky cast of characters ever assembled within the pages of a novel. From the garrulous but benevolent Miss Bates, to the hypochondriac Mr. Woodhouse, to the pompous and insufferable Mrs. Elton - no two characters are alike, and when a group of such disparate personalities comes together there's bound to be mischief. Austen uses her eclectic cast of characters to poke fun at the mass of humanity in general - everyone knows someone just like one of the folly-ridden residents of Highbury, and it is this familiarity and lighthearted playfulness that engages the reader with a novel in which, to be truthful, nothing much happens besides a string of failed forays into matchmaking. Emma's many attempts at playing Cupid, which invariably fail spectacularly, are the thread that binds the novel's incidents together. Yet, though the heroine is rather exasperating, Austen knows how to write a hero, and Mr. Knightley is no exception. Knightley is perhaps the one character in the whole novel not subject to willful folly, and his steadiness, wisdom, kindness and chivalry could melt the coldest of hearts. Emma is, at its heart, a study of human nature and life, and Austen exhibits her exemplary powers of observation through her vivid and ironic portraits of the quirks and quibbles which define Highbury's oddly assorted inhabitants.
***Don't forget to enter the Jane in June Giveaway for a chance to win one of three Jane Austen classics - Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice!***
The giveaway will run until July 15, and as a result Jane in June will become Jane in July as I continue to post my remaining two planned Austen reviews.