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Emma is considered by many readers to be Jane Austen's crowning achievement, a timeless comedy of manners that lays bare the limits on women's autonomy in Regency England. The disparity between Emma Woodhouse's self-confidence and self-knowledge, and her determination to arrange marriages for her friends while avoiding one for herself, leads to a painful series of misunderstandings for everyone who suffers from her well-meaning altruism—and with Mr Knightley being the only person of her acquaintance who has the good sense to challenge her, Emma must eventually recognize her match in every sense. Long praised for its rich detail and perfect craftsmanship, Emma is one of those classic masterpieces that readers go back to again and again for its inexhaustible fund of irresistible humanity.
Posted October 6, 2011
Emma Woodhouse is a beautiful, wealthy, and intelligent young woman who thinks she knows more than anyone else. When she was a child her mother passed away and left behind the Isabella, Emma, and their elderly father Mr. Woodhouse. Later, when her governess-turned-companion Anne Taylor marries a local gentleman Mr. Weston, Emma and her father are left to fend for themselves. A constant part of their life is Mr. Knightly, her dear brother-in-law, who always is there to correct her if she is behaving inappropriately, much to her dismay. There were other young people in the town who were not as fortunate to stay at home with their parents when disaster stroke. One of these children is Jane Fairfax, an orphan who was sent off by her aunt and grandma to be a companion in a different family. Another child is Frank Churchill, whose mother died at an early age and whose father sent him to live with his aunt and uncle forever. These children come back to Highbury after all these years and play a large part in the story.
When Emma meets Harriet Smith who lives at the boarding school for girls, she decides to take her under her wing and transform her into a mannered lady by telling her how to act, how to dress, how to think, and who to associate with. Everyone is happy and satisfied with Emma's new companion except Mr. Knightly, who thinks that this relationship will do more harm than good to both of the girls. Emma also plans to find Harriet the perfect suitor from among the eligible gentlemen in Highbury, her hometown. However, she is also feels the need to meddle in other people's love life like Mr. Knightly's, Mr. Elton's, Jane Fairfax's, Anne Taylor, and Frank Churchill's.
Unfortunately, not everyone is as ready to fall in love with the person that Emma chooses for them. Then, the table turns dramatically when Emma realizes that her own happiness in life is threatened by her effects of matchmaking. Soon things start going out of hand and Emma is left in a romantic mess that only she could create. This book keeps you asking "Does she really know as much as she thinks she does?" This is a great book that has subtle humor and beautiful language from the lost time of the Regency era. This humorous classic by Jane Austen will continue to enthrall and inspire generations after generations.
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