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Emma Vol. 9 Paperback – July 7, 2009
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In the previous book, William and Emma began writing love letters back and forth, and even met up once in the country desptie the fact that William had moved on and become engaged. In this book, William decides to call off his engagement to Eleanor, but both their families are dead-set on the marriage. Eleanor's parents are already aware of William and Emma, and when William discusses withdrawing from the engagement with them, they turn their attention to removing her from the picture.
This book get a bit melodramatic and perils-of-paulineish. Eleanor and William act normal. No one else does, and Eleanor's parents resort to violence and abduction to separate William and Emma, meanwhile attempting to keep William and Eleanor from speaking until they can rearrage and restore the engagement. Out of the series, I found this book and the next (7th) book to have an awkwardly fast pace because of all the melodrama.
Overall, this series was a good quick read. It's a mindless romantic comedy. There isn't much that's serious, including the ominous class differences which are not at all developed and just sort of there. Characters reemerge through the series and are fleshed out over the course of 7 books. Even minor characters are likely to reemerge and become more developed at some point in the future. The series does a good job of building personalities, and a self-contained world.
Volume 9, the second of the side-story volumes after the end of the main story arc, is a high-water mark for the series. The first few stories, including the volume's highlight, "Erich and Theo", focus on the Merediths, the German family for whom Emma worked. There's also (finally!) the story of how William and Hakim first met, as well as a two-parter called "Three Singers", which details a piece of Alan's theatre years. All excellently-done, though "Erich and Theo" still stands out (the story details a night spent alone in the forest by Theo, Erich Meredith's pet squirrel, after he is inadvertently left behind following a family outing). Wonderful, wonderful stuff. ****
And, as always, the art is lovely.
Emma's sixth volume is its darkest and most compelling yet. William, torn between his social obligations and his love for Emma, decides to break off his engagement and devote his time to wooing the woman he truly loves, but his fiancee's family have already set events into motion that put Emma in great danger. Mori, in her afterword, apologizes for the length of this particular storyline, but (a) I can't imagine it's over yet, given where the book ends, and (b) it's great stuff anyway. She's gone from this being an historical-fiction class-boundary love story to it being a compelling thriller, and she did so pretty much seamlessly; the transition, reprinted as the first chapter here, is about Vivi, William's young sister, reading and becoming enchanted with <em>The Prisoner of Zenda</em>. Foreshadowing, indeed. An incredible series. ****
Still, if you've been reading the series up to this book surely you do not want to miss out on this one and as always, Mori's art is always appreciated for its level of detail.