I Could Write a Book: A Modern Variation of Jane Austen's "Emma" Kindle Edition
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I always feel the need to justify Miss Austen's "Emma," as there are those who find her flippant and self-absorbed. Not so! And, not so with Karen Cox’s modern Emma.
Ms. Cox has crafted a thoroughly delightful Emma update with “I Could Write a Book.” All of the cast of Miss Austen’s small town characters have been wonderfully transported to the 1970’s. Emma Woodhouse maintains her quirks, with added introspection from Ms. Cox. Emma is searching for meaning in her life in a changing society that is touting the modern woman. She blunders, as Emma must, but has George Knightley to help her self-correct. Here is an Emma who isn't an airhead, a girl-to-woman we can all understand, sympathize with, and cheer for.
Ms. Cox doesn’t only have a story arc for Emma, she has one for our beloved Mr. Knightley. While he is always a man with integrity, he becomes a man worthy of any heroine. Readers should follow his choice in cars to see how he evolves.
“I Could Write a Book” is a satisfying read, with the truths Ms. Cox’s award winning writing is known for. Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax finally make sense, Mr. Woodhouse is respected, and real relationships are valued. Emma-Doubters take heed: you are in danger of becoming an Emma convert.
Some of the names and roles have been changed a little to reflect the changed setting but the story hasn't lost anything with that. You'll still want to smack "Mrs. Elton" for her presumptions and give "Frank Churchill" a really good shake for his behaviour. "Miss Bates" is just as garrulous as ever and there's a believable modern-day explanation as to why Mr. Woodhouse is so particular about his health and that of others. The age gap between Emma and George (Mr. Knightley) has also been reduced to a more realistic seven or eight years for more modern times. It's slightly surreal, to me anyway, to realise that this Emma and George are almost the exact age that myself and my future husband were at the time the majority of this book is set.
The plot follows the original reasonably closely all the way through but it's fascinating to see how certain elements of the story have been updated to accommodate such things as divorce and the increasing freedom of women to go to college, to determine their own futures and to have their own careers. The latter is definitely an improvement over the lot of women two hundred years ago, when Jane Austen published her first four books as by "A Lady".
A lovely touch that isn't canon is in the first part of the book where we see some of Emma's earlier life and she has to deal with the eventual loss of her mother. One scene in particular is rather a tear-jerker and I recommend having a box of tissues to hand! One of the things I loved about this book was the use of alternating points of view. Emma's is told in first person, George in third person and it enables the reader to really get inside the head of our two protagonists. Emma's sense of family and duty comes over really strongly and although she's very much a "modern woman", she manages to keep her loyalty to family and friends very much a focal point in her life.
For the most part, this book could be read by anyone of any age, but there are some quite intimate scenes towards the end which those who prefer to avoid such things should be aware of.
As to the title? You'll have to read the book to find out why it fits so well!
I received a copy of this quite wonderful book as part of the author's launch team and this is my honest opinion of it.
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