Has there been a film version?
Not really. There are several film versions of “Emma” but not of this novel.
Who are the important characters?
Jane Fairfax – the orphaned girl who is talented, genteel, beautiful, and passionate, from Jane Austen’s “Emma”
Mrs. Bates and Miss Bates – Jane’s grandmother and her aunt
Miss Emma Woodhouse – the richest girl in Highbury and the girl closest to Jane’s age, also her nemesis
Rachel Campbell – Jane’s best friend and companion for most of her youth
Matt Dixon – a close friend of Rachel’s, he is Irish
Sam Dixon – Matt’s younger brother, very delicate in constitution
Frank Churchill – another orphan who is friends with Rachel and Jane
Colonel Campbell – the man responsible for Jane’s education, an old family friend
Mr. Knightley – a man of independent means who is friends with all of Highbury, he is especially kind to Jane
What’s it about?
This is the story of Jane Fairfax – the other heroine from Jane Austen’s book “Emma.” It throws more detail into why Emma and Jane never seem to particularly get along. Aiken also covers Jane’s youth, education, how she came to meet the Campbells, Dixons, and Mr. Frank Churchill.
Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
I don’t believe it is either. But it’s very good nonetheless.
Do you recommend I read this book?
If you enjoyed “Emma” and if you enjoy the sort of fiction which uses other author’s characters.
How did this book make your list?
I plucked it from the library shelf on a whim.
Has it won any awards?
Reading spin offs from Jane Austen’s works has become a sort of hobby with me. There are hundreds of them out there – especially with the new Pride and Prejudice movie coming out recently. There have been some spectacular failures in this field and some of them have even trespassed on the realm of the insulting (“Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife” for instance). This book, however, shines as a fantastic retelling of a well known Austen novel. Joan Aiken has completely recaptured Jane Fairfax and developed her into a heroine worthy of rivaling Miss Emma Woodhouse anyday. Her style of writing is very easy to read and pleasant for something to take your mind of something heavier. The book isn’t very long, but the plot moves quickly and smoothly – and never tries to stretch your imagination towards something you know Jane Austen wouldn’t have her characters try. I’m very eager to read Aiken’s other two novels.