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Emma & Knightley: Perfect Happiness in Highbury: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Emma Paperback – Mar 1 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (March 1 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402212070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402212079
  • Product Dimensions: 2.3 x 14.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 408 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #434,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 22 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
A Sequel of Jane Austen's Emma Nov. 4 2008
By Meredith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
After reading reviews of this book and "Perfect Happiness" earlier edition of "Emma and Knightly" and seeing that many people had criticized this book, I was skeptical to give it try. Since there aren't many good sequels to "Emma" out there, I was willing to try something that was not raved about.

I wasn't disappointed. The story was intriguing, perhaps not the greatest sequel written. But overall, ended up being a bit of a page turner!

We find Emma a year or more into her marriage with Mr. Knightly and she finds out that she has a lot of learning and growing to do. She is put to the test when her quiet little life and the lives of people around her are undone with a few life-chaning events. Emma herself struggles with her new role as "wife" especially since her relationship with Mr. Knightley for so many years has been one of brotherly love. In this continuation of Emma, there are deaths, about three marriages, two new likeable characters, and a developing of the character of Frank Churchill (which in my opinion is very close to the portrayal Jane Austen made of him in Emma). I really enjoyed the character development in this book: I think Jane Austen created some of thhe most unique, realistic, and flawed characters in literature and it is interesting and comforting seeing them develop into the type of people they should be. Just like we should be doing. There are a lot of good lessons for us to learn about communication, jumping to conclusions, grief, finances, trust, and love.

I recommend this book to those who love and long to live in Highbury, those who are not too critical as far as Jane Austen continuations and sequels go, and who like the caharcter of Emma and are curious how she matures and handles being married to Mr. Knightley. I do not recommend this book to those who desire a certain level of writing in Jane Austen continuations and sequels. If you want writing in the style of Jane, in the voice of Jane, and characters that are true to Jane, you might not enjoy this book.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Working Toward Happiness June 6 2008
By MrsDarcy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When Emma and Knightley marry at the end of Jane Austen's Emma (Penguin Classics), Emma is a very young 21 or 22 years old. While she has been mistress of her father's house for a number of years, she has never had to balance her role as a daughter caring for her (hypochondriac) father with her new role as Mr. Knightley's wife. I for one always wondered how their relationship continued to develop after the close of Austen's novel.

Fortunately for us, Rachel Billington's novel Emma & Knightley: Perfect Happiness in Highbury: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Emma brings the reader into Emma and Knightley's life after their marriage.

As is usual, I am sure, the Knightleys have their little difficulties adjusting to married life. Knightley has agreed to live to live at Hartfield, rather than his home of Donwell Abbey, so that Mr. Woodhouse will not be disturbed too much. Emma is trying to figure out how to relate to Knightley as her husband, rather than the beloved older neighbor. And he is trying, as always, to help Emma continue to grow into a well-rounded, thoughtful lady, and to help her see him as the love of her life, not just a loving familiar face.

Their lives are further complicated by the difficulties of those around them. Mrs. Bates has died, leaving poor Miss Bates alone. Jane Fairfax Churchill dies, leaving a bereaved (and half-mad) Frank Churchill with a newborn. Knightley's brother John has major financial difficulties, which they hide, for a time, from Emma's sister Isabella. And, it seems as if every couple is having children, except the Knightleys.

I confess, while I love Emma (Penguin Classics), it is probably my least favorite of Jane Austen's novels, partly because Emma does not seem to grow as much as a person as the other Austen heroines do. That's why I am delighted that Billington did such an excellent job on Emma & Knightley. Her novel continues Emma's growth as a human being and a woman, rather than a girl, and shows how the Knightleys figure out how to relate to eachother as spouses and settle into their marriage.

Billington also did a good job continuing the secondary characters Austen wrote. The Westons are lovely and, naturally, expanding their family. Miss Bates is her usual chatty self, but ends up providing perfect companionship for Mr. Woodhouse. Frank Churchill is a selfish cad and causes Emma difficulties. Billington also introduces new characters, including Mrs. Philomena Tidmarsh, who challenges some of Emma's ideas.

I was also happy with the fact that Billington did not try to change the characters or make them behave in ways inconsistent with their Austen-written characters. The plot was well-developed and satisfying.

Emma & Knightley: Perfect Happiness in Highbury: A Sequel to Jane Austen's Emma is a delightful continuation of a beloved book. I recommend it for any Austen fan and anyone interested in following the development of Emma and Knightley's marriage.
16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Good but not great April 2 2008
By Mrs. Baumann - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Compared with the other Jane Austen 'continuation' stories I've read, this one is enjoyable, but it wasn't one of my favorites. The author used adjectives to emphasize Emma's flaws instead of letting her actions speak for themselves (i.e., seflish, childish). I felt like the author was doing her best to make Emma unlikable. Most of the book is about trouble between Emma and Knightly, and then a few pages of happy resolution. For that reason, it was a bit of a let down. I just find it hard to believe that Emma and Knightly would have had that hard a time communicating with each other.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Rather disappointed June 30 2009
By rkp1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I checked this book out of my local library, and I'm really glad I didn't pay anything for it. I got through about the first half of the book, and couldn't bring myself to finish it. Emma's character was carefully drawn by Austen. Jane Austen succeeded in the difficult task of making her spoilt and rich young heroine lovable. This version of Emma is just plain spoilt and annoying. The plot was rather far-fetched, the writing was stilted and I felt aimed at a third-grade reading level, and I just found nothing interesting enough to keep going. I returned the book to my local library rather regretfully. I wanted to like the book, and the author did make a good attempt, but I think she just wasn't up to the task. If I were really bored, with absolutely nothing better to do, I might try to get through it again sometime.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Tragedy befalls Highbury Jan. 31 2009
By K. Haeusler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Emma and Knightley continues the beloved Jane Austen tale in a style more befitting of Thomas Hardy. Emma reverts to a childish state more similar to the beginning of the book Emma than the end of the novel and the plays out very similarly to the original story only darker. I got the feeling that the author really didn't like the character Emma (or Mr. Knightley for that matter) and had an odd fondness for Harriet Smith and Miss Bates. Terrible things happen to the characters - out of character terrible things - and the resolution is basically that oops the two should have talked to each other. I have read a lot of Jane Austen sequels and this ranks among the worst of them.

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