Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Emma: A Latter-Day Tale by Rebecca H. Jamison

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "Emma's her name and matchmaking is her game! Quirky life coach Emma wants to help her first-ever client, a lonely nanny named Harriet. But all of her attempts at matchmaking result only in embarrassing miscues and blunders, leaving the pair disheartened and confused. This modern take on the Jane Austen classic shows that sometimes the greatest match is the one we make for ourselves."

Review:  First off, let me say that Emma is one of those characters from Austen's repertoire of female leads that you either take to right away or find slightly off-putting with her need to "help" other people.  I always seemed to find myself in that second category, but liked to see the development of her character over time and enjoyed seeing her taken down a peg by Mr. Knightley as she learned that maybe her ways are not always the best or seemingly correct all of the time.  (We all learn that, right?)  It's that humility moment though that makes me learn to like her, so I always stick with her.

Well, as an avid "Janeite," I've read or watched a lot of different variations of Austen's novels.  I thought this Emma was cute and endearing, although slightly pushy at times in her desire to coach others--especially Harriet, or Harri as they call her.  What I wasn't expecting was the strong Latter-day Saint cultural reference points for the novel.  Okay, so the title states it pretty explicitly, but I somehow naively thought it would just be part of the cultural backdrop of the story.  It actually played a pretty cultural forefont in the novel with single adult activities, missionaries, and a conversion and baptism in the story that I didn't see coming.  I won't lie; it felt odd in an Austen tale.  I was just thinking romantic tale, not religion.

The real highlight in the story had to be Justin, or our Mr. Knightley.  He was SPOT ON in my book.  I loved him from the get go and found myself scanning pages to find him.  (Is that bad?)  He was so well paired with Jamison's character Emma that I knew she'd written him just right, but you couldn't help but wish you could interview him and say, "What in the world do you see in her right at the beginning that we're not?!?"  Over time, you start to see it and understand that he is just a little older than she is and sees the world differently--thank goodness.  In short, I thought Justin was a cutey.  Emma just had to grow up a bit.

I can't say that Emma still ranks up there on my chart of favorite characters, but I like that Austen gives us a character with some gumption to speak up!  This Emma is no different, so good for her as well.  If you're up for a more religious, squeaky clean sort of read, this is a version you might wander into. 

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on an advanced review copy provided through Netgalley by Cedar Fort Inc.

Don't forget to stop by my last post for a giveaway of Emma!  The giveaway ends this Wednesday, so stop by today!


  1. Oh, I would have totally missed the LDS reference in the title. That's how in-touch I am. :p

    I am not a big fan of Emma, I have to say, either the book or the character.

  2. I missed the reference in the title too! And I'm not sure if this makes me want to read it or not. It could be interesting or it might just annoy me?