Jan 152010

Jane Austen’s Emma from Mr. Knightley’s Perspective

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Source: Review Copy from Author

George Knightley, wealthy, mature, and compassionate, seemed to be a very successful member of the landed gentry of Highbury; and had lived in the world for nearly thirty-seven years with little to disrupt his peaceful and quiet existence. That is until he realizes that his little sister-in-law Emma Woodhouse, is no longer a little girl but a lovely young woman whom he greatly cares for…

Are you inclined to learn more about this admirable and benevolent gentleman? Would you like to gain a greater understanding of his thoughts and feelings?

Author Barbara Cornthwaite delivers a pleasing and absorbing augmentation of Jane Austen’s Emma, told from the perspective of Mr. Knightley, in her wonderful series George Knightley, Esquire! This novel, the first of two, begins just as Emma did with the Weston’s nuptials and closes with Frank Churchill’s departure from Highbury. So be prepared to not have a completed story at the end of this book and to have an intense desire to obtain book two right away!

I love retellings of Jane Austen novels and to read one where one of my favorite Austen heroes is respectfully and accurately portrayed filled me with sheer delight! I took great pleasure in reading about Mr. Knightley’s interactions with his household and various members of Highbury, especially the new characters Ms. Cornthwaite skillfully crafted. In addition, I loved being privy to Mr. Knightley’s speculations about the Emma/Harriet/Elton dilemma and comprehending his predisposed dislike and prejudice towards Frank Churchill. But what I enjoyed most about this book was spending more time with Mr. Knightley! (What Austen fan wouldn’t want to do that?)

While I am pleased that the author interwove parts of Emma with her novel and did NOT take license to alter or paraphrase Jane Austen’s original dialogue, I did, however, observe that some of Mr. Knightley’s speeches were shortened a little. Mr. Knightley does make many great speeches in Emma, and most of the content of these speeches can be found in Barbara Cornthwaite’s retelling. There are just a few incidents where she omits a part of his speech and summarizes what he says using “he explained…” or “he told…” Some of my favorite Mr. Knightley quotes are “Vanity working on a weak head produces every sort of mischief” and “Men of sense, whatever you may choose to say, do not want silly wives.” I was a little disappointed that these quotes were not fully included.

Barbara Cornthwaite’s George Knightley, Esquire Series is sure to delight and satisfy admirers of Pamela Aiden’s Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman Trilogy and Susan Kaye’s Frederick Wentworth, Captain Series. I am so grateful for writers, like Barbara Cornthwaite, for giving us a closer look into the lives of these Austen men!!

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9 Comments on "Charity Envieth Not (George Knightley, Esquire; Book 1) – Barbara Cornthwaite"

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I never heard of this one before, My favourite novel is Emma and this one sounds so interesting. I need to get this one!

Thanks for the great review.

Alexa Adams

Mr. Knightly does deliver some of the best lines in Austen. I love “Better be without sense, than misapply it as you do.” I didn’t care for Amanda Grange’s Mr. Knightly’s Diary as much as some of her other stories and am highly encouraged by this review to believe we finally have a strong male perspective in Emma. I love that it continues on in sequel form, even if the wait will drive me mad, and am off to order a copy immediately. Thanks!

Alexa Adams

I can’t believe I just repeatedly spelled the poor man’s name wrong! What a faux pas!

Barbara Cornthwaite

Thanks, Meredith! There’s ordering information on my website for people outside North America. 🙂


Muse in the Fog

I love it when the same story is told from another perspective! I just read/reviewed Darcy’s Story by Janet Aylmer and it was the same way.

Thanks for the lovely comments everyone! They make my day! Nina – I love Emma too, it is my second favorite after P&P. I think you will really enjoy this one! Alexa – As much as I love the Amanda Grange diaries, when I read a series such as this one or the one by Susan Kaye I find it cannot compare. Amanda Grange gives a glimpse into their lives, but Susan Kaye and Barbara Cornthwaite give so much more depth and detail to the story. I too found Mr. Knightey’s Diary to be one of my least favorites in… Read more »

Thanks for the great review Meredith. Mr Knightley is one of my favorite Austen heroes. It is good to know he was reverently portrayed. I will have to check this book out.

Cheers, LA


Emma is my favorite novel, and Mr. Knightley my favorite Austen man – I simply have to read this! I’m also very glad to hear that the original dialogue was not altered.

Thanks for this review, Meredith!


I just finished this novel by Barbara Cornthwaite and like it very much indeed. I posted a review on Amazon giving it 5 out of 5 stars. This is definitely of of the better Austenesque novels, sequels, spinoffs, etc. I agree that some of Mr. Knightley’s speeches were shortened, but to me that mattered hardly at all. All in all, read it, you won’t be disappointed and will find yourself wanting more!

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