A Modern Retelling
Random House Large Print, 9780804194709, 448pp.
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
The best-selling author of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series deftly escorts Jane Austen’s beloved, meddlesome heroine into the twenty-first century in this delightfully inventive retelling.
The summer after university, Emma Woodhouse returns home to the village of Highbury to prepare for the launch of her interior design business. As she cultivates grand plans for the future, she re-enters the household of her hypochondriac father, who has been living alone on a steady diet of vegetables and vitamin supplements. Soon Emma befriends Harriet Smith, the naïve but charming young teacher’s assistant at an English-language school run by the hippie-ish Mrs. Goddard. Harriet is Emma’s inspiration to do the two things she does best: offer guidance to those less wise in the ways of the world and put her matchmaking skills to good use.
Happily, this summer presents abundant opportunities for her to do just that, as many friends, both old and new, are drawn into the sphere of Emma’s occasionally injudicious counsel: Frank Churchill, the attractive stepson of Emma’s former governess; George Knightley, Emma’s brother-in-law and dear friend; the charming yet self-important Philip Elton; and, of course, the perfect (and perfectly vexing) Jane Fairfax.
Alexander McCall Smith’s gentle satire and cozy, old-fashioned sensibility prove to be the perfect match for Jane Austen’s wit and characters. Though carriages have been replaced by Mini Coopers and cups of tea with cappuccinos, Emma’s story is wonderfully timeless.
About the Author
Praise For Emma: A Modern Retelling…
“With his fluent, soothing prose . . . [McCall Smith] takes Jane’s characters and invites them warmly into our world. . . . We like his Emma, a contemporary small-town girl who worries over dinner parties, pours gin and tonics and drives a Mini Cooper—much to the delight of her friend Harriet. . . . Jane Austen is incomparable, but if she were still with us, I can see her hastily tucking away her handwritten notes and extending her hand to Mr. McCall Smith.” —Brigitte Weeks, The Washington Post
“The Jane Austen we know is delicious enough on her own, but Austen filtered through the mind of Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith could be the best of both possible worlds. . . . Certainly unmistakable is Emma, Austen’s heroine, a born controller who believes (with unshakable certainty in both books) that other people’s happiness can be arranged for them and that she is just the one to do it. . . . This rewarding read is a fascinating pastiche of two of the most enjoyable writers in the British tradition.” —BookPage
“[McCall Smith’s] latter-day Emma possesses all the youth and beauty and a good deal of the wit of Jane Austen’s heroine. . . . McCall Smith has written a delightfully droll, thoughtful novel that reflects on money’s enduring role in relationships as well as on the nature of this meddlesome heroine’s long-lived appeal. ” —Kirkus Reviews