Book Review: Strange Magic

Strange Magic
By Syd Moore

My Edition:
Paperback, 392 pages
2017, Point Blank
ISBN: 9781786070982
Expected Publication Date: May 2017

Rosie Strange has inherited a witch museum from her estranged uncle and pays it a visit hoping to give it a quick survey and then list it for sale. Instead, she meets the infuriating, yet charming curator Sam and a visitor begging for Sam’s help in a possibly magical matter. Not one to be left out of something that concerns someone who is now her employee, Rosie tags along and finds herself chasing after a skeleton to save a boy who may be possessed.

When I first saw this book listed on LibraryThing’s monthly giveaway, I was initially enamored by the cover art and found the urban fantasy-sounding plot intriguing. Unfortunately, I found the cover more interesting than its contents.

I felt no initial excitement upon being introduced to Rosie and the museum she inherited, nor did I care about who I assumed would be her potential love interest, and current museum curator with a passion for all things witchcraft, Sam. The two are asked to help recover the bones of a long-dead local witch who was hung, as her son appears to have taken possession of a boy who fell from a tree and the strain on the child is killing him. I didn’t find myself invested in this quest either, but at least hoped for some magic, as the title and plot summary implied.

Rosie was an adequate main character, but nothing about her personality had me rooting for her. Her relationship with Sam was puzzling, as they initially didn’t like each other and he seems to have little faith in her navigational and driving skills – he’s constantly giving her driving instructions and telling her to slow down throughout the whole book, and boy is there a lot of driving – and I didn’t find myself hoping they would get together, though it appeared Rosie did, when she wasn’t cursing Sam for being a nuisance. I know the whole, ‘you annoy me and we seem to hate each other but then actually grow to love each other’ is a common romantic trope, and I enjoy it when it’s done well. But Rosie and Sam primarily seemed to annoy each other or just be on neutral ground, with the occasional flirty scene that felt out of place and never truly culminated into any meaningful relationship.

Characters aside, the plot didn’t grab me either, though I felt it should have. They were questing after these old bones, which had been sold to various different people since they’d been accidently dug up from their original resting place. The boy was clearly exhibiting signs of possession and needed rescuing or death was imminent – yet I felt there were no stakes in this novel. Maybe it was because I knew the boy wouldn’t die – I mean, I didn’t truly know for certain, but it was a pretty safe assumption – and maybe it was because there was no actual magic happening that my interest flagged.

Mostly I was bored while reading – especially during the driving scenes; why is there so much driving!? There was a lot of historical information, which I assume is accurate, but most of it was delivered via infodumping, so I tended to skim those bits. I was expecting an urban fantasy novel with “real” magic, but Strange Magic takes a more skeptical approach and lets the reader decide whether some scenes in the book are truly magical or just strange coincidences and character belief. From my perspective the magic felt more like the product of Rosie’s hyperactive imagination and thus, I was left disappointed.

It seems like there will be a sequel to this novel, but I won’t be reading it. If you’re interested in reading about the background of some of those who were killed as witches in England and you enjoy a vague, implied sort of magic, this book may be for you. It was not what I expected however and I didn’t find anything about the characters or writing style that particularly stood out for me.

I received this book for free from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. All opinions in this post are my own.
You can Tweet at Syd here.

February Wrap Up

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February!

This month I read 8 books for a total of 2,490 pages and an average of 89 pages per day. I’m pleased with how Austen Month wrapped up – in addition to 7 Austen-inspired books, I tackled one of my genre switch up books (romance) and watched four movies. Overall I’m very pleased with the books I read, but Austenland reigns supreme.

Reviewed:

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
First Sentence: Well before his arrival in Cincinnati, everyone knew that Chip Bingley was looking for a wife.

Sense & Sensibility by Joanna Trollope
First Sentence: From their windows – their high, generous Georgian windows – the view was, they all agreed, spectacular.

Emma by Alexander McCall Smith
First Sentence: Emma Woodhouse’s father was brought into this world, blinking and confused, on one of those final nail-biting days of the Cuban Missle Crisis.
Notable Quote: “Never underestimate the capacity of the human mind for ignorance.”

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
First Sentence: Would it kill you to be here before noon?

Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James
First Sentence: It was generally agreed by female residents of Meryton that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters.

A few thoughts on Goodreads:

Jane Austen: A Life by Carol Shields
First Sentence: In the autumn of 1996 my daughter, the writer Anne Giardini, and I traveled to Richmond, Virginia, to present a joint paper at the Jane Austen Society of North America, an organization that comprises of some of the world’s most respected Austen scholars, as well as rank amateurs like ourselves.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
First Sentence: Each of us has a private Austen.

Austenland by Shannon Hale
First Sentence: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a thirty-something woman in possession of a satisfying career and fabulous hairdo must be in want of very little, and Jane Hayes, pretty enough and clever enough, was certainly thought to have little to distress her.
Notable Quote: “Why was the judgment of the disapproving so valuable? Who said that their good opinions tended to be any more rational than those of generally pleasant people.”

Watched:

Austenland
Clueless
Becoming Jane
Death Comes to Pemberley

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Gemina

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Gemina is the exciting sequel to Illuminae and unlike its predecessor, I actually read the book before taking all these pictures. Photographing the first book was just as mind-boggling as reading it was and I was constantly wondering what the hell was going on as I looked at all the non-traditional page layouts.  This time I had a better idea of what pages I wanted to capture. The jacket design is by Ray Shappell with book design by Heather Kelly and Jay Kristoff and journal illustrations by Marie Lu (which I belatedly realized I haven’t taken any pictures of.) Published by Knopf in 2016, ISBN: 9780553499162.

Movie Reviews: Austen Month

To round out my celebration of Jane Austen’s work, I watched a few movie adaptations she inspired. I started with my favorite:

Austenland
2013, PG-13, 1h 37 m
Director: Jerusha Hess, Screenplay: Shannon Hale, Jerusha Hess

If you haven’t heard (read) me say this before, this film is based off the book by Shannon Hale. Back in 2015 my Mum and sister recommended this movie to me and I’ve been in love with it ever since. Last year I got my hands on the novel and loved that too. This movie is a solid adaptation with only minor changes to the original story and it has become one of my favorite films and certainly my most watched over the last year or so.

Keri Russell as Jane Hayes is a charming Austenite trying to get over her Darcy obsession. She takes a trip to Austenland, an estate in England offering an immersive stay in Jane Austen’s world. She finds because she’s paid for the Copper Package that her experience will differ from those of the more wealthy residents, but she’s determined to make the best of it and put her Darcy fantasies in the past where they belong.

my current desktop background

                                my current desktop background

This movie is all sorts of cute and even if you’ve never read Austen’s work, if you like romantic comedies and the Regency era, I highly recommend this. Also, JJ Field 😀

Clueless
1995, PG-13, 1h 40 m
Director & Screenplay: Amy Heckerling

I’m not sure when I first saw this movie, but it was long before I started reading Austen’s work, so I was unaware it was a modern adaptation of Emma.

Cher, typical popular, rich valley girl, sees herself as a matchmaker and when she meets scruffy, but kind-hearted Tai, she decides to give her a makeover and set her up with one of the local hotties. Tai rises to the occasion and soon becomes more popular than Cher, throwing her life into perspective. Cher suddenly begins to see how selfish she can be and works to remedy that, while also taking a shot at love.

I enjoyed this movie more than I thought. Though I recalled the main plot, the little details of the movie made me smile and I now enjoy the parallels to Emma. The entire cast is great and young Paul Rudd is a super cutie. I assume everyone has seen this, but if for some reason you haven’t, give it a chance.

Becoming Jane
2007, PG-13, 2 hours
Director: Julian Jarrold, Writing Credit: Kevin Hood & Sarah Williams

There is actually a book with the same title and though I haven’t read it yet, I’m not sure the movie follows it very closely. I’d seen parts of this movie before, but never sat through the whole thing.

The film depicts young Jane, around age 20, as a young writer who dreams of marrying for love. Her parents would rather she marry for money (the mother feeling a lot like Mrs. Bennet) and are eyeing up rich, young, rather boring Mr. Wisley. Jane instead falls for Tom Lefroy, but if the two marry he would lose his chance at any inheritance and both would fall from polite society.

This movie threw me for a loop by opening with a scene hinting at oral sex between Jane’s parents and frankly I thought it unnecessary. Overall the movie gave off very Pride and Prejudice vibes, but without likable characters. Anne Hathaway is lovely (and McAvoy is a cutie) but she didn’t win me over. There’s three men courting Jane and while I know Lefroy was real and not much is known about what might have been the start of a relationship with him, I think the movie felt the need to jazz up Jane’s life and add a heavy amount of drama. Halfway through I stopped paying attention and it didn’t really matter. Can’t say I’d recommend.

Death Comes to Pemberley
2013, 3 episodes, about 1h each
Director: Daniel Percival, Writing Credit: Juliette Towhidi

I’ve just reviewed the book this mini-series is based on, so this follows the same story of a murder mystery unfolding at Pemberley several years after the marriage of Darcy and Elizabeth.

Overall, I think the series did a fairly faithful job in adapting the novel by P.D. James. Mr. and Mrs. Bennet take the place of Jane and Bingley as guests at Pemberley and this added some unnecessary extra drama thanks to Mrs. Bennet’s personality. Mr. Bennet does slap Lydia at one point though, which is super gratifying. The series also amps up how much of a prick Wickham is (which really isn’t needed) and created drama between Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana, as well as Elizabeth and Darcy. The added drama felt cheesy to me, but if you watch the series before reading the book it likely won’t bother you.

They did include a paraphrasing of the de Bourgh line about death that I liked, so that made me laugh again. There’s also some Regency sex, which wasn’t necessary and of course didn’t fit with the story being told because heaven forbid anyone even kiss in those novels! I don’t think I’d ever watch it again, but it’s worth a viewing if you have a spare three hours.

~

There were a few more movies I would have liked to watch (though I can’t recall most of them because they were saved on my Netflix list but now they’ve all been dumped from the site) and I did try to find The Jane Austen Book Club, but I didn’t want to pay to rent it so I gave up.

Have you watched any of these or any other Jane Austen-related films you’d recommend?

Book Review: Death Comes to Pemberley

Death Comes to Pemberley
By P.D. James

My Edition:
Paperback, 291 pages
2011, Vintage
ISBN: 9780307950659

Elizabeth and Darcy, happily married for six years and parents to two boys, are having their annual ball. The night before the ball, Lydia appears unexpectedly, frantically screaming that her husband has been murdered in the woods of the Pemberley estate. An investigation is launched and the Darcys and their family are pulled into a murder trial that could affect the rest of their lives.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book, as I’ve read some disappointing sequels and reimaginings of Pride and Prejudice, but from the start I found myself pleasantly surprised by the tone of characters. James has done an excellent job keeping the narrative voice true to the original and the characters behaved as I think they would have should Austen have decided to pursue this genre. I expected a murder mystery involving the Darcy family would have been a bit hokey, but I was interested in the story and constantly trying to guess who the murderer was.

James sets the scene by revisiting some of the events from the original novel and detailing how Elizabeth and Darcy have children now and how they’ve fared since their marriage. There’s also some speculation from the neighborhood as to why Elizabeth and Darcy married and this felt like a natural follow up to the end of the original. James also has Mary happily married and though she’s really not mentioned beyond that in the book, it was nice to see her settled rather than turned into an even more obnoxious character, as is common in other renditions of Pride and Prejudice. As usual, I can’t stand Lydia or Wickham and James managed to make me dislike the couple even more throughout the events in her book.

Lady Catherine even makes a small appearance and has a fantastic little monologue on life and death which made me chuckle:

“The de Bourghs have never gone in for prolonged dying. People should make up their minds whether to live or to die and do one or the other with the least inconvenience to others.”

There’s even a nod to characters from Persuasion and Emma, implying they run in some of the same social circles as the Darcys.

The mystery turned out to be more complex than I expected and my only real complaint with this book is with the latter portion where all is revealed. A murder trial is held and of course the witnesses are asked to speak and in doing so they repeat a lot of what has already been revealed to the reader. After the trial, even more details are revealed and due to the conversational nature of how everything took place, it turned into a massive infodump. The book really slowed down and was dull for me, despite the interesting details being discussed. I don’t think there was any other way the story could have wrapped up other than everyone talking about what happened, but it was tough to get through.

If you’re an Austen fan and the idea of her characters being involved in a murder trial sounds interesting, I think you should give this book a chance. It didn’t disappoint me and if James has any other Austen-inspired work I’d certainly read it.

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Bats of the Republic

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

Bats of the Republic sat on my wishlist for quite a while before a friend received it as a gift and loved it, telling me I had to get it. So finally, I bought it, but of course, I still haven’t read it. It’s totally happening in March though, I swear. This is a fabulously designed book, with an interactive feel and I can’t wait to dive in. The jacket and book  were apparently designed by by the author, Zachary Thomas Dodson. It was published in 2015 by Doubleday, ISBN: 9780385539838.

Book Review: Attachments

Attachments
By Rainbow Rowell

My Edition:
Paperback, 357 pages
2012, Orion Books
ISBN: 9781409120537

It’s 1999 and Lincoln has started a new job at a newspaper who has finally given their staff computers complete with the internet and email. Lincoln’s job is to monitor flagged emails and issue warnings to associates who are breaking the rules (ie: no vulgar jokes, no personal conversations, business only!), but he gets sucked into the life of two women, Beth and Jennifer, as they send almost daily emails full of their thoughts and feelings. Rather than issue them warnings, Lincoln becomes wrapped up in their correspondence and feels as though he’s a part of their lives.

First off, this is part of my genre switch-up challenge. I asked my friend Chelsea for a romance and this is what she suggested. I decided to read it in February because who doesn’t love romance in February!? Granted, the premise of the book seems a little creepy and my blurb probably didn’t help, but Chelsea assured me this would be a cute, contemporary (wait, is 1999 still contemporary?) read and she wasn’t wrong!

I was intrigued by the plot right away – how could I like a character who reads other people’s emails, even if it’s part of his job? Yet Lincoln is almost instantly sweet and charming and it’s clear he hates what he does, despite enjoying reading Beth and Jennifer’s emails. It was also strangely nostalgic to think about a time when computers and the internet were new to a workplace, as I still remember when my family first bought a computer and my limited access to the internet (oh how it’s changed!) I also remember the Y2K scare, which is touched upon in this book, and how everyone went crazy thinking our computers would crash as their internal calendars reverted back in time.

These three characters sent me on a rather unexpected emotional rollercoaster. I was more invested than I imagined I could be and up until the last few pages I couldn’t see how the book could resolve in a way I’d find satisfying. Certainly not the experience I expected from a contemporary romance.

I’ve owned Elinor and Park for quite some time, primarily because I scored a lovely edition at a book sale for $0.50 and had no real plan to read it. The majority of Rainbow’s work doesn’t sound appealing to me, but I’m glad I gave her a chance. I’m not sure when I’ll get to E&P, but I certainly won’t ignore it on purpose now.

If you’re looking for something quick and cute, and a little nostalgic if you remember a time before computers were friggen’ everywhere, then I highly recommend this.

You can visit Rainbow’s website here.

5 Reasons Why I love Jane Austen’s Work

I’ve been reading Austen for years now and she’s on my list any time I’m asked who my favorite authors are. I’m even planning a tribute to her in one of my future tattoos. It struck me recently that I’ve never bothered to share what it is about her work that makes me love it so much.

-Her Wit

Despite Austen’s work being over 200 years old, I still find it funny. There’s a subtle humor to many of the conversations she writes between her characters and I find myself picking up on new details with every re-read. I’ve mentioned before I’m not terribly well-read when it comes to the classics – sometimes I connect with older work, sometimes I don’t. So I still find it pleasantly surprising when Austen’s work makes me chuckle.

The first example that comes to mind is from Pride and Prejudice, when Mr. Collins makes a clumsy (and eventually insulting) proposal to Elizabeth. Before even hearing whether she’ll accept him, he’s going on about how he doesn’t expect a dowry from her father considering how little money the family has.

Elizabeth thanks him for his offer, but politely declines and Mr. Collins, thinking he’s on the up-and-up comments on how he knows ladies often reject a proposal when they truly mean to accept it:

“I am not now to learn,” replied Mr. Collins, with a formal wave of the hand, “that it is usual with young ladies to reject the addresses of the man whom they secretly mean to accept, when he first applies for their favour; and that sometimes the refusal is repeated a second or even a third time. I am therefore by no means discouraged by what you have just said, and shall hope to lead you to the altar ere long.”

Every time I read the book, this scene makes me laugh. Mr. Collins is so ridiculously out of touch with the woman he aims to marry that he can’t detect her sincere rejection of him. Despite her telling him no several times, he goes on to state why he feels there’s no reason she wouldn’t accept him:

“You must give me leave to flatter myself, my dear cousin, that your refusal of my addresses is merely words of course. My reasons for believing it are briefly these: — It does not appear to me that my hand is unworthy your acceptance, or that the establishment I can offer would be any other than highly desirable. My situation in life, my connections with the family of De Bourgh, and my relationship to your own, are circumstances highly in its favor; and you should take it into farther consideration that in spite of your manifold attractions, it is by no means certain that another offer of marriage may ever be made you. Your portion is unhappily so small that it will in all likelihood undo the effects of your loveliness and amiable qualifications. As I must therefore conclude that you are not serious in your rejection of me, I shall chuse to attribute it to your wish of increasing my love by suspense, according to the usual practice of elegant females.”

He is so dense that he can’t understand how insulting his proposal is and that if he had any hopes of actually winning over Lizzy, they’d be dashed after that monologue.

-She’s Inspirational

Jane’s works have inspired countless literary and film adaptations, as well as fanart, clothing and household décor items!

Books and films based on her work run the gamut from faithful adaptations to modern remakes to paranormal parodies, sequels and murder mysteries. I think I speak for many of us when I saw that Colin Firth is the best Darcy-I especially love that they threw in that wet shirt and bathtub scene! There’s even a statue to commemorate the scene!

Wet shirts aside, I’ve found some fabulous films and books inspired by Austen:  Lost in Austen, Austenland, Pride, Prejudice and Zombies, Bride and Prejudice, Clueless, Longbourn, Bridget Jones’s Diary. There are also adaptations that make me groan: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre, Jane and the Damned, the 1999 Mansfield Park film.

Whether I find these adaptations good or bad, it makes me happy to see when creators are still inspired by Jane’s content and I hope she’d be happy too!

-Her Female Characters

To someone who isn’t really a fan of Austen’s work, her books may appear to have the same theme – a somewhat poor girl who is down on her luck ends up finding love and marrying up the social ladder. But her stories are more complex than they appear and her main characters are flawed and exhibit depth and growth beyond simply finding a rich husband (though many of them actually do that.) She has a varied cast of heroines, many of whom are striving to find their place in the world where their options are so limited.

My favorite is of course Lizzy Bennet, as I’ve read Pride and Prejudice most often. She’s smart, quick-witted and not afraid to say what she thinks. But she’s also arrogant and rude at times, unable to see her own harsh judgements because she’s so caught up in those of others (ahem, Darcy.)

Marianne Dashwood is a total diva that acts solely based on her feelings at any given moment and thinks later (or not at all). But her passion for life and emotions is heartwarming, even if she needs a good slap.

Elinor Dashwood bottles up her feelings in order to put her family first, to the point where many assume she’s actually cold and incapable of romantic love. Yet it’s the fact that she’s so willing to strive to make her loved ones happy that draws me to her (though sometimes she’s such a pushover that I want to shake her and tell her to stand up for her damn self.)

I love Catherine Morland’s wild imagination and love of novels, though it gets her into a lot of trouble and almost ruins her shot at love. I actually misunderstood her when I first read the novel because she’s felt so unlike any other character I’d read that I couldn’t take her seriously.

Emma Woodhouse is the spoiled know-it-all who does her best to control those around her with the belief that she’s improving their lives. She is possibly the harshest of the heroines because of her privilege and her complete inability to walk in anyone else’s shoes. But I still find her charming and I do think she comes a long way in her efforts to improve herself (once she’s thoroughly scolded by Knightley anyway.)

Despite their flaws, I root for them all – well except Fanny Price because she was insipid and I couldn’t stand her (but maybe a re-read of Mansfield Park will fix that someday) – and I don’t really have much in common with these characters and their situations.

-Her Perseverance

While four of her six finished novels were published before her death, Jane Austen received little fame from her writing career. Having read up on Austen’s life (though not extensively) I’ve learned that while she did experience a modicum of success considering the time in which she lived and the fact that she was female. However, she died without knowing the true effect she would have on readers for generations beyond her own. Not knowing what her work would become, Jane worked hard on her novels and even after a lapse of many years where she did not write, and dealing with the struggles of publication (like how Northanger Abbey was sold to a publisher, but then never actually published), she never gave up and I’m thankful for that.

-The Atmosphere

Jane’s work truly transports me to another time, both in landscape and culture. Her stories depict a time in England that is so far away from my modern American life, yet I don’t feel isolated as a reader. I’ve always been immediately sucked into the settings of her novels, and like the heroine of Austenland, I can understand wanting to experience a little taste of that society (though I don’t envy the lack of women’s rights and general hygiene).

If you’re an Austen fan, what is it about her work that you love?

Judging A Book By Its Cover: Clockwork Century Series

This is my weekly post where I highlight and appreciate cover designs and the general physical appearance of books. We all judge book covers to some extent. I can’t say that I’ve ever decided against a book with terrible cover art if I liked the sound of the plot, but I have purchased special editions of books or multiple editions of books based on their cover art. If book covers didn’t matter, publishers wouldn’t put out so many beautiful editions!

I borrowed Boneshaker from the library some time ago and shortly thereafter purchased the entire Clockwork Century series. I’ve yet to read any of the other books (surprising no one), but perhaps I will this year! They’re lovely editions to my shelves nevertheless, though it does bother me to no end that Clementine doesn’t match the rest of the series. For whatever reason, this story wasn’t picked up by Tor, so it does ruin the effect slightly. However there’s nothing I can do, so I try not to think about it too much.

Here are the details – despite two different cover artists, I think the art styles do resemble each other enough to make the books match, part of this is possibly because the design is all done by the same artist:

Boneshaker – cover art by Jon Foster and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2009, ISBN: 9780765318411
Clementine – cover art by Jon Foster, Subterranean Press 2010, ISBN: 9781596064959
Dreadnought – cover art by Jon Foster and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2010, ISBN: 9780765325785
Ganymede – cover art by Jon Foster and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2011, ISBN: 9780765329462
The Inexplicables – cover art by Cliff Nielsen and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2012, ISBN: 9780765329479
Fiddlehead – cover art by Cliff Nielsen and cover design by Jamie Stafford-Hill, Tor 2013, ISBN: 9780765334077

Book Review: Emma

Emma
By Alexander McCall Smith

My Edition:
Paperback, 361 pages
2014, Anchor Books
ISBN: 9780804172417

Emma Woodhouse has grown up on her father’s large estate, complete with a governess. She’s just finished school and decided to start her own interior design business, but finds herself more interested in the doings of her friends and neighbors. She starts with her governess, Ms. Taylor and after taking credit for successfully fixing her up with family-friend Mr. Weston, Emma decides matchmaking is her new business. She begins sticking her nose into everyone’s business and soon learns that they don’t view her as helpful, but rather meddling and snobby.

I’m now all caught up on the books in this modern Austen project and I’m satisfied with how they’ve all turned out. Despite each novel having its own author and varied voices, I still think they have all captured the spirit of Jane Austen’s novels and feel like a series that belongs together.

Smith’s Emma stands out as more of a spoiled, meddling, brat than the original (though I didn’t dislike her and was naturally excited to see her character growth) and I think that’s because our modern language and times allow her character to be depicted more bluntly. As a result, I think her change of heart and her efforts at self-improvement stand out more as well.

Mr. Woodhouse is a charming hypochondriac and his constant worries about the air quality of London (where Emma’s sister resides with her husband and growing brood) and the evils of microbes had me chuckling. George Knightley was less developed than I would have expected however; he doesn’t play a large part in Emma’s life until the latter part of the novel and I had been hoping for a bit more of a build-up in regards to their relationship.

The ending wrapped up a little too quickly for my liking, but overall this was a cute, contemporary take on the classic. As with the others, I recommend it if you enjoy Jane’s work – really, if you haven’t read any of her work, these modern adaptations might be right up your alley, to give you a feel for her stories without the potential intimidation of an older writing style.

You can check out Smith’s website or Tweet him or visit his Facebook page.